DRIVE TIME: The Henry M. is about 80 miles (1 ? hours) east of Seattle.
THE WAY: From Seattle, head north on I-5 to the junction with US 2, then drive east 60 miles to the Stevens Pass Ski Area and the PCT trailhead. From Wenatchee, follow US 2 west through Leavenworth and Tumwater Canyon to the pass.
TRAILS: The PCT is the backbone of a 200-mile trail network that crisscrosses the wilderness. The 20-mile hike from Stevens Pass to Cady Pass gives a good taste of the Henry M. and allows you to turn around at any point to shorten the distance. Use the Blanca Lake Trail for Blanca Lake and the Elliot Creek Trail for Goat Lake (both less than 10 miles).
ELEVATION: The lowland forests along the North Fork Sauk River are just below
2,000 feet, while Sloan Peak tops out at 7,835 feet. Average for the PCT is about 5,000 feet.
CAN’T MISS: The view from Cady Pass or any alpine meadow along the PCT.
CROWD CONTROL: The Henry M. is a popular horsepacking destination all season long and attracts hunters during the fall, but traffic is at a minimum in October.
GUIDES: The Skykomish Ranger District map is available for $3 (see Contact below). Best of the PCT: Washington, by Dan A. Nelson (The Mountaineers Books, 800-553-4453; www.
mountaineersbooks.org; $16.95), will help you find a wide range of nearby alternatives.
WALK SOFTLY: Avoid camping on lakeshores where revegetation projects are in the works.
CONTACT: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Skykomish Ranger Station; (360) 677-2414; www.fs.fed.us/r6/mbs.