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Adventure Guide: Glacier Peak Wilderness

Like crowded campsites and easy trails? Then by all means avoid this deafeningly quiet expanse of rugged, wildlife-rich mountains and forest in Washington's North Cascades.

Trip Planner

Getting Around

All three trailheads are 100 to 150 miles from Sea-Tac International Airport. Get supplies near Seattle, or stock up in Leavenworth. There are numerous campgrounds at or near trailheads. Some trails and major access roads were heavily damaged in October 2003 floods and remain impassable, including a stretch of the PCT and the White Chuck and Suiattle River Roads (no hikes described here are affected); see the Glacier Peak Wilderness Web site (below) for details.

Season

High passes and trails are usually snow-covered until mid-July. Good hiking conditions usually extend through September and sometimes into October.

Cautions

Creeks and rivers may be impossible to ford until mid- or late summer; inquire before you set off. Off-trail routes above treeline may be snow-covered well into summer and, depending on slope angle, may require an ice axe. Hang or store food properly to protect it from bears and other animals.

Don’t Miss

The breads, cookies, and pecan caramel bars at Home Fires Bakery, off Icicle Road in Leavenworth, are fitting post-hike rewards.

Regulations

A parking pass is required at most trailheads; there are various pass options (see Web site). Backcountry permits are not required.

Maps

Get the following Green Trails maps, which show many unmaintained paths (206-546-6277; www.greentrails.com):

Glacier Peak Sampler: Sloan Peak 111 and Glacier Peak 112

Buck Creek Pass and Entiat Mountains: Holden 113

Guides

100 Hikes in Washington’s Glacier Peak Region, by Ira Spring and Harvey Manning ($16.95). 75 Scrambles in Washington, by Peggy Goldman ($18.95).

Contact

Glacier Peak Wilderness: www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs/recreation/special/wilderness/glacier_peak.shtml. For hikes on the west side of the wilderness area, contact Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest: (360) 436-1155; www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs. For east-side hikes: Wenatchee National Forest (509) 664-9200; www.fs.fed.us/r6/wenatchee.

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