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Pacific Crest Trail: Best Week - Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA

wa

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 58.8 miles


Want mountain views? Gaze at horizon-hoggers like Rainier and Glacier Peak. Flora and fauna? Spot mountain goats amid the plentiful columbines. Lakeside camping? With 700 lakes, there's no end to superb tent sites on this 58.7-mile trek.

When we asked PCT veterans to name their favorite thing about the 75-mile trek from Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass, the responses were as varied as they were passionate. Which made us realize that what distinguishes this section—most of which lies within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness—is its uniform excellence.

You want mountain views? You get craggy peaks in Sierralike abundance, horizon-hoggers like Rainier and Glacier Peak, and neighborhood giants like 9,415-foot Mt. Stuart. Flora and fauna? There are mountain goats, black bears, and veritable herds of marmots whistling amid columbine, Indian paintbrush, and tiger lilies. You've heard about the harsh Cascades weather? No promises here, of course, but with the trail lying largely east of the Cascade crest, bluebird days predominate from July through September. And lakeside camping? As the name implies, this wilderness is full of water—rivers, creeks, and a constellation of 700 lakes, many of them blessed with superb tent sites and swimming. Our experts' pick for best post-hike dip: Mig Lake, a shallow beauty that warms up by midsummer.

Don't Miss: Photo ops on the east side of Huckleberry Mountain, where goats frequent a verdant, creek-incised meadow beneath a full-on view of Rainier.

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