While most of this route is in a quiet conifer forest, a few spots open up to head-spinning views. The best: the string of volcanoes visible from 9,495-foot Mt. McLoughlin (via a 3.5-mile side trail) and 7,582-foot Devils Peak (via a .5-mile spur). Ditch the PCT in two spots for more-scenic parallel trails. One is Red Lake Trail 987, which leads to secluded campsites above Island and Dee Lakes; the other is Sky Lakes Trail 3762. And add a day or two for a side loop on the Isherwood Trail to fish for rainbows at Lake Notasha, swim in Elizabeth and Isherwood Lakes, and camp above Heavenly Twin Lake. Late summer has fewer bugs and ripe huckleberries.