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Backpacker Magazine – August 1999

Washington's Supreme William O. Douglas Wilderness

The William O. Douglas Wilderness is a monument worthy of a great man.

by: Dan Nelson

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QUICK TAKE: William O. Douglas Wilderness

WHERE: The wilderness is 110 miles (21/2 hours) southeast of Seattle.

THE WAY: From Seattle take I-5 south to WA 18 east to WA 410 east. Follow WA 410 to Chinook Pass. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is accessed on the south side of the highway from the Tipsoo Lake parking area. Or, continue east to Goose Prairie and turn south onto the Bumping Lake Road. Drive southwest to road's end at Mosquito Valley Loop.

TRAILS: The 30-mile loop from Chinook Pass heads south on the PCT to a junction with the American Ridge Trail. Head east on American Ridge for 2.5 miles and drop down the Cougar Lake Trail to a junction with Bumping River Trail and then back up to the PCT. The 19-mile loop through Mosquito Valley follows the Indian Creek Trail south to a network of trails weaving through a series of meadows and lake basins between Tumac and Fryingpan Mountains. Pick from among the many options; you can't go wrong.

ELEVATION: The highest point in the wilderness is Mt. Aix at 7,766 feet. Bumping River is the low point at 2,700 feet.

CAN'T MISS: The American Ridge Trail, with its spectacular views, sprawling meadows, and-in late summer-enormous, juicy huckleberries.

CROWD CONTROL: August is the busiest month, but much of the wilderness is snowfree by mid-June, so aim to get an early jump on the crowds. Prime berry picking occurs after Labor Day.

PIT STOPS: Baumgartner's Restaurant, a New York-style deli, serves a great posthike menu in the town of Enumclaw.

WALK SOFTLY: Lots of black bears roam these hills and valleys, so properly bag and hang all food.

MAPS AND GUIDES: Green Trails Maps offers an excellent series of topographic maps. Ask for quadrants Bumping Lake, Old Scab Mountain, White Pass, and Rimrock (800-762-6277; $4.00 each).

MORE INFORMATION: Wenatchee National Forest, Naches Ranger District, 10061 Highway 12, Naches, WA 98937; (509) 653-2205.

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