Pacific Crest Trail: Best Week – Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Want mountain views? Gaze at horizon-hoggers like Rainier and Glacier Peak. Flora and fauna? Spot mountain goats amid the plentiful columbines. Lakeside camping? With 700 lakes, there's no end to superb tent sites on this 58.7-mile trek.
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When we asked PCT veterans to name their favorite thing about the 75-mile trek from Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass, the responses were as varied as they were passionate. Which made us realize that what distinguishes this section—most of which lies within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness—is its uniform excellence.
You want mountain views? You get craggy peaks in Sierralike abundance, horizon-hoggers like Rainier and Glacier Peak, and neighborhood giants like 9,415-foot Mt. Stuart. Flora and fauna? There are mountain goats, black bears, and veritable herds of marmots whistling amid columbine, Indian paintbrush, and tiger lilies. You’ve heard about the harsh Cascades weather? No promises here, of course, but with the trail lying largely east of the Cascade crest, bluebird days predominate from July through September. And lakeside camping? As the name implies, this wilderness is full of water—rivers, creeks, and a constellation of 700 lakes, many of them blessed with superb tent sites and swimming. Our experts’ pick for best post-hike dip: Mig Lake, a shallow beauty that warms up by midsummer.
Don’t Miss: Photo ops on the east side of Huckleberry Mountain, where goats frequent a verdant, creek-incised meadow beneath a full-on view of Rainier.
- Distance: 94.7
Location: 47.4226684570312, -121.412002563477
From Snoqualmie Pass, head NW to connect with PCT
Location: 47.4272003173828, -121.415298461914
Head E from the PCT trailhead
Location: 47.4253196716309, -121.405700683594
Cross creeklet; continue N
Location: 47.4396286010742, -121.397903442383
Stay R @ jct. with Commonwealth Basin Trail
Location: 47.4375, -121.39330291748
Location: 47.4515609741211, -121.378700256348
Continue NE along steep saddle with awesome views
Location: 47.4624710083008, -121.367797851562
Great camp between Gravel and Ridge Lakes
Location: 47.4716415405273, -121.340896606445
In 50 yds., pass Kenny Spring; named by Scott Williamson for his former hiking partner Kenny Gould (the man who inspired the PCT yo-yo attempt)
Location: 47.4765510559082, -121.328300476074
Walk the Huckleberry Saddle; Chikamin Peak rises to the E
Location: 47.4523315429688, -121.295402526855
Stay straight @ Mineral Creek Trail jct.
Location: 47.4529495239258, -121.284400939941
Cross a saddle with great views
Location: 47.4568290710449, -121.275802612305
Head NE; Spectacle Lake lies to the NW
Location: 47.4596786499023, -121.271598815918
Cross Delate Creek
Location: 47.4601516723633, -121.266799926758
Location: 47.4692001342773, -121.258003234863
Bear L @ Pete Lake Trail jct.
Location: 47.4763488769531, -121.26180267334
Cross Lemah Creek; campsites; head N toward Lemah Meadow
Location: 47.4829292297363, -121.259300231934
Location: 47.484130859375, -121.25959777832
Stay straight; Lemah Meadow Trail enters from the R
Location: 47.4901390075684, -121.259399414062
Location: 47.4930191040039, -121.256896972656
Location: 47.5032196044922, -121.237396240234
Pass inlet to tarn
Location: 47.4989013671875, -121.213096618652
Bear L @ Waptus Burn Trail jct.
Location: 47.5160217285156, -121.210502624512
Location: 47.5159797668457, -121.196601867676
Cross Wapatus Creek
Location: 47.5066795349121, -121.171699523926
Stay straight @ Waptus River Trail jct.
Location: 47.5057983398438, -121.1708984375
Continue straight @ Spade Trail jct.
Location: 47.507511138916, -121.155097961426
Pass a nice camp at creek
Location: 47.5353698730469, -121.137702941895
Spinola Creek Trail
Location: 47.536750793457, -121.137702941895
Continue straight @ trail jct.; nice camping
Location: 47.5504989624023, -121.129501342773
Head N around Cathedral Rock; nearby creek
Location: 47.5772514343262, -121.143798828125
Continue straight, heading N
Location: 47.5895004272461, -121.148399353027
Location: 47.6296806335449, -121.145896911621
Bear R @ trail jct. toward Deception Lake
Location: 47.6333503723144, -121.142799377441
Set up camp at Deception Lake
Location: 47.663028717041, -121.140098571777
Stay R @ jct.
Location: 47.6988983154297, -121.091201782227
Head NE around Hope Lake
Location: 47.7189712524414, -121.061096191406
Stay L @ Y; trail curves around Lake Susan Jane to the NW
Location: 47.7466201782227, -121.088302612305
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