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Pacific Crest Trail: Best Weekend – William O. Douglas Wilderness, WA

A good pick for new backpackers and fit families, the 25.6-mile leg from White Pass north to Chinook Pass is spectacular without too much challenge.

Trip Tools

Amid steadily improving views, the PCT traverses relatively flat, lake-dotted terrain in hemlock forest with a colorful ground cover of azalea, lupine, and huckleberry. North of Crag Lake (mile 17), the trail climbs back to the crest, and the show begins. You’ll cross meadows of aster, spirea, and blueberries; in late summer, pick a pint as you linger over views of Mts. Adams, St. Helens, and—only 12 miles distant—a gargantuan Rainier. Insider tip: Camp at quiet Anderson Lake; it’s just inside Mt. Rainier National Park, yet no permit is required.

To Trailhead

South end: From Packwood, take US 12 E and turn left .5 mile past White Pass. Go .2 mile to the trailhead near Leech Lake. North end: Chinook Pass on WA 410.

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