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Pacific Crest Trail: Best Weekend – Goat Rocks Crest, WA

This 22.5-mile trip sticks to high ridges that serve up outstanding views of the Cascade’s infamous volcanoes.

Rating

In a state that’s hardly short on splendor, Goat Rocks may be the PCT’s aesthetic high point. For half of the stretch between White Pass and Walupt Lake, the path straddles a 7,000-foot ridge, affording pinup-quality panoramas of Rainier, Adams, and St. Helens. The scenery closer at hand doesn’t suck, either: You’ll cross Cispus Basin, where streams plunge off cliffs amid fireweed, lupine, and pearly everlasting; and Snowgrass Flats, carpeted in its namesake puffy white flowers. For more waterfalls and wildflowers, camp at McCall Basin, .5 mile off the PCT via the old Cascade Crest Trail. Until mid-July, you might need an ice axe and crampons for snow crossings, especially on the Packwood Glacier.

To Trailhead

Start: On US 12, 1 mile east of White Pass. End: From US 12, turn south between mileposts 128 and 129 onto FR 21. Turn left onto FR 2160 in 20 miles. Go 5 miles; park at Walupt Lake. The PCT is 4.5 miles up the Nannie Ridge Trail.

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