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Backpacker Magazine – May 1998

Glacier Peak Wilderness

Tundra hiking in the shadow of Washington's ice-cloaked behemoth.

by: John Harlin


Look in all of the most remote corners of the country and you'll still be hard-pressed to discover high country more scenic than Glacier Peak Wilderness just outside Seattle. Gaining access to the glaciated flanks of the namesake mountain requires uphill toil, but you won't notice the strain because your attention will be drawn to enchanting old-growth forest and imposing Glacier Peak. Busy Kennedy Hot Springs is the main jumping-off point for dayhikers and backpackers alike, but the farther you walk, the more people you leave behind.

RECOMMENDED HIKE: Make a 9-mile route out of the White Chuck, Kennedy Ridge, and Pacific Crest trails. In all, there's about 4,200 feet of elevation gain. Camp near Glacier Creek at 5,650 feet. Scramble onto the tundra of Glacier Peak for a real treat.

WHERE: The wilderness is about 90 miles northeast of Seattle. From Darrington Ranger Station on WA 350, take Mountain Loop Highway (FR 20) 10 miles to White Chuck, where you pick up FR 23 for the final 11 miles to the Kennedy Hot Springs trailhead.

MAPS: Sloan Peak (#111) and Glacier Peak (#112) from Green Trails Maps sell for $3.30 apiece at ORIC (see below).

CONTACT: Outdoor Recreation Information Center, 222 Yale Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98109-5429; (206) 470-4060.




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