Wenatchee National Forest
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000
With the passage of the National Trails System Act of 1968, Congress designated the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail one of the first scenic trails in the nation. A continuous outdoor recreation facility extending 2600 miles from Canada to Mexico, it readily meets the requirements of possessing characteristics that are scenic, historical, natural, or cultural of the area through which they pass." Portions were constructed as early as the 1920's in Washington, Oregon and California. In 1926 Catherine Montgomery envisioned a "high trail winding down the heights of our Western mountains." This suggestion became a reality as the joined segments now traverse six recognizable areas of the Pacific Mountain System from desert to high alpine ridges, with elevations ranging from near sea level to 13,200 feet.
The Naches District manages portions of the PCT. Normally free of snow in late July or mid-August, the trail can be accessed at several locations for scenic day trips or extended journeys. Some of these sections are discussed below. Because it is designed for travel on foot or by stock, vehicles of any kind are prohibited.
In the volcanic history of the Yakima basin, two geological principles explain the development of a unique cave. As intermittent lava flows cooled, deposits of loose rock and soil were trapped between hard layers of material. Devils Creek slowly eroded a deep channel through the hard basalt surface and the softer layer beneath. As it met the next hard layer, it spread horizontally, creating a hollow pocket. When the outer, weakened edge of this pocket collapsed 25,000 years ago, an archway 350 feet long and 30 feet wide remained, through which the water still flows.
The Boulder Cave Trail #962 parallels the top edge of a deep ravine, climbing gradually for about one mile. Approximately 400 feet from the cave, the trail narrows and descends, bringing visitors to the entrance. A flashlight is useful if one is to continue into the cave for a cool treat on a warm summer day. Boulder Cave Barrier Free Nature Trail #962A explores an area adjacent to the Naches River. It is a paved loop that was designed to provide access to the beauty of this mountain stream for people in wheelchairs and slow-paced walkers. Boulder Cave Campground, located near the trailhead, offers a picnic area and reduced service overnight camping.
Naches Pass Trail #1914/684
The Naches Pass Trail is located between the present day Chinook Pass and Snoqualmie Pass on the Washington Cascade Crest. Washington natives used this route long before explorers entered the Northwest. Known as the "Walla Walla to Steilacoom Citizen's Trail," the route was improved by military personnel and territory settlers in the 1850's. Many crossings of the Naches River on the east side and the famous "cliffs" on the west side hampered travel and the wagon road was given up by 1855. Important during the Yakima Indian War (1857), the road was seldom used after the railroad was completed over Snoqualmie Pass in 1889.
The trail from road #1900/#1914 to Government Meadow is suitable for hiking. The portion from Bear Creek to Greenwater is managed as a four-wheel driveway.
Chair Lift Trail #1112
Short tie trail between White Pass chair lift and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT). Trail is a short distance down hill from the terminal.
Hidden Springs Trail #1117
Steep challenging trail. Look for good camp sites at Hidden Springs with fresh water, meadows and views of the Goat Rocks. No camping or fires at Shoe Lake.
Shoe Lake Trail #1117A
Hike down to a high alpine lake and enjoy wildflowers in July or, better yet, view Shoe Lake from the ridge above. The basin is closed to camping and fires. Lakeshore and campsite restoration is in progress. Access from Hidden Springs or PCT.
North Fork Tleton Trail #1118
A well maintained trail into the heart of the Goat Rocks Wilderness. The last 2 miles are steep. Limited camping but good access to PCT. Trailhead has parking, campsites and horse facilities.
Round Mountain Trail #1144
Trail to an abandoned lookout site with vistas of the Goat Rocks, Mt. Rainier and surrounding lakes. From the Lookout site, the trail continues past Twin Peaks to the PCT and White Pass. Some steep side slopes. Not recommended for horses.
Old Army Trail #1151
This trail is not maintained. Some sections are difficult to follow, but light use offers a unique opportunity for solitude.
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 (PCT)
A National Scenic Trail (PCT) following the Cascade Crest. This section provides some day trips from White Pass to the Hogback Mt. area with an array of sweeping views. For serious hikers interested in exploring, the trail continues on into the Goat Rocks and Old Snowy Mtn. A popular side trip accesses Shoe Lake. Heavy use has prompted the closure of the lake basin to camping and fires. Be prepared for late snow.
South Fork Tieton #1120
A loop trail starting at Conrad Meadows. The first four miles through the meadows are flat terrain. The trail then climbs 1600 feet to a glacial lake and loops back through timber. Heavily used by hiker and horse. Remember party size limit in Wilderness. Opportunities for roaming in high alpine terrain beyond Surprise Lake.
Tieton Meadows #1128
A steep trail with switchbacks which junctions with Bear Creek Mt. #1130. Crossing the river could be hazardous during high water. Not recommended for horses.
Bear Creek Mountain #1130
Access this trail at either Section Three Lake or Conrad Meadows. Take a walk through flower-filled alpine meadows from Section Three Lake to the Jct. with #1130A for an easy day trip. A more challenging journey, the lower 1 mile from Conrad Meadows is very steep as it climbs through open timber. The road to Section Three Lake can be rutted and poorly maintained.
Bear Creek Mountain Lookout #1130A
This is a short, steep climb to an old lookout site with spectacular views of the Goat Rocks and beyond. Switchback over lingering snow patches and through a stunted alpine forest on your way to the 7336 foot vantage point.
Pacific Crest Trail #2000
A section of the National Scenic Trail that takes you deep into the Goat Rocks Wilderness area where snow can remain on the major peaks all year round.
Twin Sisters #980
From Deep Creek Campground, a much used trail for both hikers and horses passes two large lakes and accesses Blankenship Meadows, Tumac Mt., and the PCT. Heather and berry bushes make for beautiful fall color. The surrounding area contains signs of old mining claims. Restoration is in progress at the lakes.*
*Restoration is an on-going process in many areas of heavy use. This can include erosion control mats, stake and string barriers, signs, newly planted trees and shrubs, and direct seeding.
Sand Ridge #1104
Leveling off at ridge top after climbing through forest, this trail offers access to several small lakes in what is known as Mosquito Valley. Swampy areas exist in early season giving way to dust with heavy use in summer and fall.
A tie trail between Indian Creek #1105 and Sand Ridge #1104 offers a short side trip through Blankenship Lakes with brilliant fall color. A loop can be made with #1105A.
Indian Creek #1105
A trail connecting U.S. Highway 12 at Indian Creek to Bumping Lake Road at Deep Creek. After crossing Indian Creek 2.2 miles from the trailhead, steep switchbacks climb to a plateau of meadows and lakes aptly named "Mosquito Valley." From Deep Creek horsecamp, the trail reaches this plateau after a steep rugged climb. Light use, fall colors and cool, crisp air make this a delightful October trip.
Round Lake #1105A
Another of the many intercepting trails on the Tumac Plateau leading into the Blankenship Lakes area featuring fairly level terrain. Connects #1104 and #1105.
Cramer Lake #1106
This route in the William O. Douglas Wilderness offers excellent opportunities for loop trips or extended stays at the many lakes. The trail gains less than 1000 feet which contributes to its popularity. Remember to camp 100 feet from all lake shores.
Dark Meadows #1107
Leaving Dog Lake, the trail wanders through dense forest and meadows towards White Pass and the PCT. Makes a good loop with Cramer Lake #1106 and the PCT #2000. No horses at Dog Lake Campground. Stock may access the trail from White Pass and the PCT.
Spiral Butte #1108
Dry and difficult, the trail goes through forest and an old burn and dead ends at the top of Spiral Butte. Dog Lake and Highway 12 are just below. Good views of Rimrock Lake, the Goat Rocks, White Pass and distant peaks. Branching off #1142, this side trip is not recommended for horses but offers solitude for the hiker.
Following gentle terrain through heavy timber, a well defined tread ties #1104 to #1105. With no views, it makes a good cloudy day outing
Shellrock Lake #1142
On a sandy bench for most of the way, numerous lakes make this a fishing delight and mosquito paradise. Easy going and berries (offset limited views and areas of standing water).
Long John #1142A
Wet meadows in June provide breeding grounds for hatches of mosquitoes, making a long stay inadvisable on this tie trail between #1156 and #1142.
Little Buck #1147
This short trail connects Sand Ridge #1104 with Indian Creek #1105 Explore the creek bed on a hot day.
Pear Loop #1148
This is a well traveled loop starting at a junction with #1105. Take a refreshing swim in unique Pear Lake, 128 feet deep and emerald green. In contrast, Apple Lake tends to be marshy and shallow.
Dumbbell Lake #1156
Lingering snow can delay the opening of this popular subalpine area. Escape the crowds and scramble up Cramer Mt. or pick berries in the fall. Joins Cramer Lake #1106 to PCT #2000.
Branching off Sand Ridge #1104 beyond Twin Sisters Lake, this is an easy trail to an old lookout site atop Tumac Mt. The only difficult part is the traverse and switchback up this volcanic cinder cone; a favorite destination with outstanding views.
Pacific Crest Trail #2000
One of the most popular segments of the National Scenic Trail offering a variety of terrain plus views. Hiking north from White Pass through heavy timber can be hot and dusty in a dry season until the route levels off on the Tumac Plateau with its many lakes and meadows.
The trail descends steeply through dense forest with many switchbacks to Rattlesnake Creek and a junction with #1114. Heavily used 693 during hunting season, the trailhead at 5480 feet has a stockramp and parking. Remember Wilderness regulations.
Andy Creek #1110
This motorized trail ends at its junction with #1111 and #1141. There are views of Mt. Adams and the Goat Rocks along the way. Motorized use continues on #1111. Hiker and horse may cross into the Wilderness on #1141 to McNeil Peak or Ironstone Mt.
Russell Ridge #1111
The trailhead at the end of Forest Road 1384 offers visitors two choices: follow a beautiful ridge west with views of Rimrock Lake to a junction with #1110; or turn north through grassy meadows, down a moderate grade and across Wildcat Creek to a junction with #1113. Motorized use ends at the Wilderness Boundary.
Accessed by several motorized approaches, the trail follows Wildcat Creek through forest and open meadows dotted with early spring flowers and sagebrush. After a dry, uphill stretch to the base of Ironstone Mt., the trail joins #1141. Scramble up the open southern slope to the rocky top of the mountain for views in all directions. Motorized use ends at the Wilderness boundary.
Follow Forest Road #620 two miles to the Wilderness Boundary. The trail crosses Rattlesnake Creek numerous times and can be hazardous in the spring. After a junction with #1101, it continues along the creek in dense forest, climbing out and ending at Indian Creek Meadows. (Maps #4 & 5)
Shellrock Peak #1132
Walk 3 3/4 miles along #1141 from Cash Prairie to the access of this trail. For an energetic day hike, a short scramble to the peak summit affords the hiker spectacular views and a close look at columnar rock. From here down to Rattlesnake Meadows the trail is steep and may be difficult to follow.
Burnt Mountain #1140
Steep and rough, this access off #1141 to Rattlesnake Creek is not recommended for the inexperienced horse and rider. There are views on several benches and good overnight camping at Strawberry Meadows. A loop up Shellrock #1132 would challenge even the hardiest of hikers.
Ironstone Mountain #1141
This long ridge trail has outstanding views and elevations above 6000 feet, but no water. Day trips are possible from Cash Prairie to Burnt Mt. and Shellrock Peak or take the West access at Andy v Creek #1 1 10 to McNeil Peak or Ironstone Mt. Enjoy lunch and that "top of the world" feeling.
Richmond Mine #973
Crossing Thunder Creek several times, the trail climbs steadily to a saddle above Richmond Lake. For a special day hike, go cross country from here to a flower-filled basin nestled below Nelson Ridge. The trail itself continues on past the lake into the Rattlesnake drainage for more opportunities to explore and camp.
Dog Creek #973A
An excellent side trip offering solitude, a chance to see wildlife and unique scenery deadends along Dog Creek. The trail is accessed by way of trail #973 and #982. (Map #5)
Pear Butte #979
This very difficult trail with little water follows the ridge for great views and the chance to see elk or goats. It is not recommended for inexperienced stock, and hikers need to be in top shape.
Hindoo Trail #981
The trail leaves Rattlesnake Trail #1114 at the mouth of Dog Creek and travels deep into Hindoo country. Hot and dusty in summer and overlooked by many, it ends in a solitary meadow campsite at the base of Mt. Aix.
Lookout Creek #981A
This is a tie trail between #981 and #982 with a moderate grade, good camping, plenty of water and places to explore.
Mt. Aix #982
There are two approaches to lofty Mt. Aix with incredible views in an alpine setting above beeline. Stream crossings, steep switchbacks and dangerous talus slopes are encountered as this high elevation peak beckons the traveler. Day trips are possible from the Bumping Road trailhead to Nelson Ridge or from Forest Road 1508 to Buck Lake.
Nelson Ridge #984
A hard-to-follow ridge trail with views but little water ties #973 and #982. Keep a look out for mountain goats. The wide open crest entices the visitor to wander among flowers frequently blooming next to lingering snow, nature's display of rock garden splendor Not recommended for horses.
Rattlesnake Peaks #1100
Take this trail to a beautiful south-facing ridge 3 miles from Snake Creek for good campsites with water available. Beyond this point the trail into the peaks is not maintained.
Nile Ridge #974
This trail parallels the Bumping River for 2 miles before climbing to Clover Springs with over 3000 feet elevation gain. In heavy forest, the upper end is dangerous to horses.
Soda Springs #975
A moderately difficult trail through dense timber passing near Flat Iron Lake and good campsites. Forest Road 1600 is 1/4 mile from the lake. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail.
This hiker-only trail is a good day hike loop. Short but steep, it offers exercise and scenery with easy access from Bumping Road.
Windy Ridge #985
Views on the ridge are quickly lost as this trail descends steeply from Clover Springs into the Rattlesnake drainage. Popular for hunting and fishing.
American Ridge #958
If solitude and splendid scenery are your goals, this longest continuous trail on the District is for you. Water and horse feed, scarce at the start just off the Bumping Road, are more plentiful beyond Goose Prairie Trail #972. (Maps #6, 7 ,8)
Goat Peak #958C
A very steep, long climb with no water, this trail is for the endurance hiker. At the summit of Goat Peak there are views from Glacier Peak to Mt. Adams and everything in between. Slippery when wet, with an elevation gain of 2600 feet, the trail is closed to horses. The trailhead is at Hells Crossing.
Goat Creek #959
For a gradual elevation gain at a steady pace, a fun trail starts at Goat Creek off the Bumping Road and goes through subtle vegetation changes to #958. Reward yourself with some panoramic views by taking the extra switchbacks to Goat Peak.
Kettle Creek #957
A moderately steep climb takes you from Pleasant Valley to American Ridge. Kettle Lake is very small. Explore the meadow (3 1/8 mile before the for possible campsites.
American Ridge #958
The trail continues from Goat Peak with views and excellent camping at Big Basin. Relentlessly up and down, it reaches a high elevation of 6700 feet. (Maps #6, 7 ,8)
Pleasant Valley Lake #958B
The trail begins 1.3 miles east of Pleasant Valley Campground on trail #999 and climbs steeply to American Ridge. For a nice day trip, watch for a path to the alpine lake.
Mesatchee Creek #969
Another steep trail worth experiencing for solitude, views, waterfalls, and high open basins. Ends at American Ridge Trail #958.
Bumping Lake #971
The non-wilderness portion of this trail provides a good opportunity for beginner trips and group picnics.
Fish Lake Way #971A
Mostly flat, this access trail to #971 passes a major rock outcrop. It can be boggy as you approach the wet Bumping River crossing. Be careful during high water.
Goose Prairie #972
With few views, this gentle grade through open forest with interesting subalpine tree species is especially suitable for a cloudy day.
Pleasant Valley Loop #999
The trail leaves Hells Crossing heading west along the north side of Highway 410 to just beyond Union Creek. Crossing the Highway on the bridge it loops back into the Wilderness along the south side. Relatively level, this is a good first adventure for camping and hiking with young children. It is used primarily as a winter cross-country ski trail.
American Ridge #958
The final section of this long trail passes American Lake and accesses the PCT. American Lake nestles in an alpine basin heavily matted with berry bushes. (Maps #6, 7 ,8)
Cougar Lake #958A
If you want solitude in a high subalpine lake setting, try Cougar Lake mid-week during the fall. Burnished with color, the slope to the lake is steep. Lake shore shows signs of heavy use.
Dewey Lake #968
Take this trail 3 miles along the American River for a relaxing walk through old river beds and old-growth forest. The adventurous can continue 3 more miles past the river and up a rough steep slope to a very popular subalpine lake near Mount Rainier National Park. The lake can also be reached via Chinook Pass and the PCT. No fires within 1/4 mile of the lake shore.
Swamp Lake #970
A popular hike through thick forest to an overused lake. The Bumping River crossing can be dangerous during high water and the trail is often eroded and muddy. Camp back 100 feet from the lake shore. (Maps #7 & 8)
Bumping Lake #971
The trail crosses into Wilderness and travels south to access the PCT at Fish Lake with good campsites near a meadow 1/4 mile below the lake. Creek crossings can be potentially difficult in early season.
Two Lakes #990
A trail off the PCT down a flower-covered slope to a scenic alpine lake. Visit in the fall when there are abundant berries and fewer people.
Pacific Crest Trail #2000
This section of the PCT is easily reached from Chinook Pass and heads south to Fish Lake. Snow lingers and flowers peak in midsummer. Definitely the more scenic part of the trail from Chinook Pass to White Pass, it offers many postcard views of snowy Mt. Rainier. Campfires restricted at Dewey Lake.
Raven Roost #951
On a clear day, enjoy a sweeping view of Crow Creek basin and Mt. Rainier from the Raven Roost trailhead. Avoid cutting switchbacks and stay on the trail as it winds down to Cougar Valley. Watch for wildlife along the ridge.
Cougar Valley #951A
The trail branches off #951 at Cougar Valley and descends south to Crow Creek Lake; extremely popular for day trips, fishing and camping. A portal to the Big Crow Basin and Norse Peak Wilderness with miles of trails, it is heavily used by riders and pack horses.
Crow Lake Way #953
Climbing very steeply from Highway 410, this trail accesses the PCT and several Basin areas with lakes and meadows in high alpine terrain. Goats can be seen on the open slopes of Fifes Ridge. Water is available after Grassy Saddle.
Fifes Ridge #954
An arduous 3 miles eventually levels off on a ridge trail that continues into non-wilderness towards West Quartz Creek Trail #952. With views of Fifes Peak, watch for goats among the rocky pinnacles and grassy niches.
Middle Fork Trail #945
A single tread trail open to motorized vehicles with not much chance for views or camping. The County Creek trailhead offers good access for Wilderness visitors traveling #945A.
Louisiana Saddle #945A
Hikers and bears can share and enjoy a little used trail where the berry picking in season is excellent. Well defined at first, the trail becomes difficult to follow as it heads towards the PCT at the Saddle.
Union Creek #956
If waterfalls rank high on your list, the beginning of this trail offers two sets of cascading coolness: the first within 1/4 mile of Highway 410 and the second in 2 miles. The trail continues past the upper falls through timber deep into the Norse Peak Wilderness, passing through several basins and finally intercepting the PCT at Crown Point. Some sections are challenging to stock.
Bear Gap #967
1.2 miles Highlights of this trail are fall color and huckleberries. Views abound and an excellent loop includes a section of the PCT, then back down #967A. Park at a turn-around just before the Gold Hill cabin, then walk 1 mile to the trailhead along a very rutty section of road. Future plans call for a tie trail from this point.
Fog City #967A
This non-wilderness trail forms a loop with Bear Gap #967. Site of an old mining community, it is aptly named during inclement weather. Check your map for many descriptive landmarks.
From trail #956 to the PCT, this basin area is the home of elk and goats. Listen for the bugling of the young animals as they wander through the sparse subalpine landscape.
Basin Lake #987A
The trail is steep down to this refreshing small alpine lake. A long-term restoration project is underway. Stay on the main trail and camp back from the lake shore 100 feet.
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000
This section north from Chinook Pass remains mostly on high ridge tops. View Crystal Mt. Ski area from near Crown Point. Cross the Norse Peak Wilderness Boundary at Scout Pass.
Wilderness Permits are required for all day and overnight use in the Goat Rocks and William O. Douglas Wildernesses and will be required in the Norse Peak Wilderness by 1994.
Road Trips Sightseeing
The Naches Ranger District offers many opportunities for sightseeing trips along its general use forest roads. The following can usually be traveled in a sedan or truck but others may require higher vehicle clearance or four wheel drive.
Mather Memorial Parkway
The Mather Memorial Parkway was established in 1931 by USDA executive order for its outstanding scenic and recreational values. The nearly 60 mile Parkway between Naches and Enumclaw extends one half mile either side of US Highway 410, totaling 24,300 acres. The primary goal of the Parkway is to enhance recreational and educational experiences throughout its length with interpretive signs, campground improvements, information facilities and improved access to trailheads.
Bethel Ridge Road
Forest road #1500 connects White Pass Highway US 12 to Chinook Pass Highway 410. There are outstanding views at Bethel Ridge microwave tower of Kloochman Rock and Rimrock Lake. An interpretive sign along the Rattlesnake Creek points out Mt. Aix and other prominent peaks. Meeks Table, a unique formation designated a Natural Research Area, is also visible.
Raven Roost Lookout Site
From the Little Naches paved road #1900 proceed to forest road #1902. Cross Crow Creek at the campground and take either the old or new road up to this former lookout site for spectacular views. The jagged rocks to the south are Fifes Peaks; and on a clear day, Mt. Rainier, Glacier Peak, the Stuarts and as far away as Mt. Shuskan B.C. can be seen.
White Pass/Chinook Pass Loop
From the junction of the Naches and Tieton Rivers, proceed up either Highway 410 or Highway US 12 over either pass to Highway 123 inside Mount Rainier National Park. There are many scenic viewpoints along both highways. A parking area atop Chinook Pass affords an excellent view looking down the glaciated, carved valley of the Rainier Fork of American River. Just beyond is the entrance to the park with views of Lake Tipsoo and Mt. Rainier. Highway 410 is closed to winter traffic at Morse Creek.
Round Mountain Road
Leave West Tieton road #1200 west of Clear Lake and proceed up Round Mountain road #1200/830. There are sweeping views to the east over Rimrock Lake. Goose Egg Mountain and Kloochman Rock rise prominent, at the far end. Rimrock Lake reservoir was finished in 1925.
Rocky Prairie/Rock Creek Loop
Proceed off Highway 410 up Bald Mountain forest road #1701 to Rocky Prairie and return down the Rock Creek forest road #1702. This trip offers unique forest edge and transition forest zone topography in the Bald Mountain area between Clemans Lookout and Manastash Ridge. There are good views from the former lookout site on Bald Mountain.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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