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

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.
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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.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 94.7

Waypoints

PCT1575

Location: 47.4226684570312, -121.412002563477

From Snoqualmie Pass, head NW to connect with PCT

PCT1576

Location: 47.4272003173828, -121.415298461914

Head E from the PCT trailhead

PCT1577

Location: 47.4253196716309, -121.405700683594

Cross creeklet; continue N

PCT1578

Location: 47.4396286010742, -121.397903442383

Stay R @ jct. with Commonwealth Basin Trail

PCT1579

Location: 47.4375, -121.39330291748

Cross creek

PCT1580

Location: 47.4515609741211, -121.378700256348

Continue NE along steep saddle with awesome views

PCT1581

Location: 47.4624710083008, -121.367797851562

Great camp between Gravel and Ridge Lakes

PCT1582

Location: 47.4716415405273, -121.340896606445

In 50 yds., pass Kenny Spring; named by Scott Williamson for his former hiking partner Kenny Gould (the man who inspired the PCT yo-yo attempt)

PCT1583

Location: 47.4765510559082, -121.328300476074

Walk the Huckleberry Saddle; Chikamin Peak rises to the E

PCT1584

Location: 47.4523315429688, -121.295402526855

Stay straight @ Mineral Creek Trail jct.

PCT1585

Location: 47.4529495239258, -121.284400939941

Cross a saddle with great views

PCT1586

Location: 47.4568290710449, -121.275802612305

Head NE; Spectacle Lake lies to the NW

PCT1587

Location: 47.4596786499023, -121.271598815918

Cross Delate Creek

PCT1588

Location: 47.4601516723633, -121.266799926758

Cross creek

PCT1589

Location: 47.4692001342773, -121.258003234863

Bear L @ Pete Lake Trail jct.

PCT1590

Location: 47.4763488769531, -121.26180267334

Cross Lemah Creek; campsites; head N toward Lemah Meadow

PCT1591

Location: 47.4829292297363, -121.259300231934

Creek crossing

PCT1592

Location: 47.484130859375, -121.25959777832

Stay straight; Lemah Meadow Trail enters from the R

PCT1593

Location: 47.4901390075684, -121.259399414062

Cross creek

PCT1594

Location: 47.4930191040039, -121.256896972656

Creek crossing

PCT1595

Location: 47.5032196044922, -121.237396240234

Pass inlet to tarn

PCT1596

Location: 47.4989013671875, -121.213096618652

Bear L @ Waptus Burn Trail jct.

PCT1597

Location: 47.5160217285156, -121.210502624512

Veer R

PCT1598

Location: 47.5159797668457, -121.196601867676

Cross Wapatus Creek

PCT1599

Location: 47.5066795349121, -121.171699523926

Stay straight @ Waptus River Trail jct.

PCT1600

Location: 47.5057983398438, -121.1708984375

Continue straight @ Spade Trail jct.

PCT1601

Location: 47.507511138916, -121.155097961426

Pass a nice camp at creek

PCT1602

Location: 47.5353698730469, -121.137702941895

Spinola Creek Trail

PCT1603

Location: 47.536750793457, -121.137702941895

Continue straight @ trail jct.; nice camping

PCT1604

Location: 47.5504989624023, -121.129501342773

Head N around Cathedral Rock; nearby creek

PCT1605

Location: 47.5772514343262, -121.143798828125

Continue straight, heading N

PCT1607

Location: 47.5895004272461, -121.148399353027

Cross creek

PCT1608

Location: 47.6296806335449, -121.145896911621

Bear R @ trail jct. toward Deception Lake

PCT1609

Location: 47.6333503723144, -121.142799377441

Set up camp at Deception Lake

PCT1610

Location: 47.663028717041, -121.140098571777

Stay R @ jct.

PCT1611

Location: 47.6988983154297, -121.091201782227

Head NE around Hope Lake

PCT1612

Location: 47.7189712524414, -121.061096191406

Stay L @ Y; trail curves around Lake Susan Jane to the NW

PCT1613

Location: 47.7466201782227, -121.088302612305

Reach US 2; L to Skykomish (deli/trail angels); <p></p>More PCT: <a href="http://backpacker.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?TripID=28784">Next Section</a> | <a href="http://backpacker.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?TripID=28785">Previous Section</a>