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Seattle Trails

Glacier Peak Wilderness: Glacier Peak Sampler

Get climbers'-eye views on this adventurous ramble to the peak's base--or summit--on this 3- to 5-day trip.

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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 58.2



Location: 48.0582313537598, -121.2880859375

To begin this 24.7-mile lollipop loop, follow North Fork Sauk Trail 649 along its namesake river—rarely visible through dense Douglas fir, cedar, spruce, and hemlock—for 5.4 miles to decrepit Mackinaw Shelter.


Location: 48.0415840148926, -121.214668273926

Remote campsite with privy


Location: 48.0312156677246, -121.193534851074

Old Mackinaw Shelter. From here, it’s a 3,000-foot climb in less than 3 miles to alpine slopes that go kaleidoscopic with aster, paintbrush, and lupine in July.


Location: 48.0365333557129, -121.15788269043

As you approach the Pacific Crest Trail, views open up to Pilot Ridge (south) and Sloan Peak’s glacier and sharp summit (west). Turn E on PCT to 5,904-foot White Pass.


Location: 48.0341682434082, -121.148864746094

Possible camp sites near White Pass


Location: 48.0344314575195, -121.148880004883

Just N of the pass, take an unmarked user trail 1.5 miles across grassy slopes east of White Mountain. Head for the saddle just above Foam Creek.


Location: 48.0474662780762, -121.133682250977

Climb N along easiest gradient to stellar campsites.


Location: 48.0508003234863, -121.134315490723

Nice campsite beside an unmapped tarn. You have two main options from this camp:
1) Loop back to your car via the White Chuck River basin. If so, return to Waypoint 7 and skip to Waypoint 14.
2) Go for Disappointment Peak and/or Glacier Peak. Head NE. It’s roughly 11 miles round-trip and 3,800 feet to the top, via Glacier Gap.


Location: 48.057731628418, -121.125816345215

Camp on rocky saddle near ponds with photo-contest views of Glacier Peak. Note: The White Chuck Glacier is now much smaller than maps show. From here, head N, eventually making your way on the glacier. You’ll need an ice axe, crampons, and experience climbing class IV talus.


Location: 48.0827674865723, -121.108551025391

Exposed, panoramic tent site on south ridge of the mountain


Location: 48.0993118286133, -121.1103515625

The best way up is to continue N via Disappointment Peak


Location: 48.1065559387207, -121.113090515137

After the 9,755-foot summit of Disappointment, gear down again for the final long slog to Glacier Peak; keep a watchful eye on the wind and weather


Location: 48.111888885498, -121.113540649414

The 10,541-foot crown of Glacier Peak; backtrack to Waypoint 12 then turn E for an optional but more interesting route down Cool Glacier (less-experienced climbers should rope up) then return to Waypoint 11. Hop back on your approach route.


Location: 48.0473594665527, -121.133865356445

To return to your car, head 3 miles west across the White Chuck River basin


Location: 48.0556221008301, -121.154357910156

Turn L (South) on PCT


Location: 48.0514678955078, -121.156379699707

Tent site by PCT


Location: 48.0461158752441, -121.177803039551

Red Pass; continue S to Trail 2000


Location: 48.0361557006836, -121.158569335938

Turn R onto Trail 2000; follow route back to Trail 649 and trailhead

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