Suggestions for 5-6 day hike in Washington in August
May 8, 2019 at 11:26 am #3592015
Looking for ideas for a roughly 60 to 70 mile hike in Washington for August 19-24. We will be in the Seattle area for a family wedding on the 17-19th and thought it would be a good chance to add on a backpacking trip. We originally were thinking the PCT from Snoqualmie pass to Stevens Pass, but I am starting to worry that the timing would put us in the middle of the thruhiker “bubble” (if there is such a thing on the PCT in Washington). Shorter might be ok too if there is a chance to hang out and fly fish along the way. Thanks.
DaveMay 8, 2019 at 2:26 pm #3592029Tom KBPL Member
I think the Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass idea is an excellent one for your time frame. I wouldn’t worry too much about a thru hiker bubble this year, given snow conditions in the Sierra, even less if you do the route SOBO, from Stevens to Snoqualmie. That also has the advantage of less total elevation gain. There are any number of lakes on either side of the PCT on that section,where you could indulge in some fly fishing. Spade Lake, in particular, caught my attention when I was passing by below it. It sits in an isolated cirque that is a bit of a climb, but I’ll bet it has good fishing; and in any case, it would be a great place to spend a night.May 8, 2019 at 2:40 pm #3592032
Another vote for PCT Section J Stevens to Snoqualmie SOBO. It has lots of lakes (both on trail and very near the trail), excellent trail maintenance, major road access, some great mountain scenery, and no reservations or advance permits required. There are plenty of places to camp, even if there are lots of thru hikers. Most thru’s tend to get into camp late, so if you make camp by late afternoon or even early evening, you’ll have your pick of campsites, unless you stay at a place like Spectacle Lakes. Also, many Thru’s take the alternate route up the E Fork Snoqualmie River trail to enjoy the Goldmeyer hot springs, bypassing the entire scenic southern half of Section J. SOBO is nice in peak summer because you’re climbing all the big hills on the cooler North sides and going downhill on all the hot South facing hills.May 8, 2019 at 3:56 pm #3592050Link .BPL Member
I have done Snoqualmie pass to Stevens Pass in August before and it was greatMay 8, 2019 at 4:54 pm #3592060
Wow, thanks for the reinforcements on section J of the PCT.
@ Lester, the lack of reservations and advance permits, as well as convenient road access to THs were definitely features that attracted us to section J.
Will also strongly consider SOBO, although the elevation changes didn’t look horrible going NOBO vs some eastern trails that seem to go straight up.
DaveMay 8, 2019 at 5:18 pm #3592061
Some other WA PCT J considerations:
May 8, 2019 at 5:18 pm #3592062jscottBPL Member
- Depending on your vehicle/shuttle/parking plans, keep in mind that the Snoqualmie Pass PCT North trailhead parking lots are packed and overflowing on busy weekends in the summer, including Fridays to some extent, unless you get there before sunrise.
- The first several miles of Section J North from Snoqualmie Pass are very busy with many day hikers on weekends going up to see the Kendall Katwalk.
- I’ve only parked at Stevens Pass once, but I recall ample parking and it seemed less crowded than Snoqualmie Pass, although there were lots of day hikers the first mile or so to the overlook at the top of the ski lift area.
- If you end up driving between Snoqualmie and Stevens Passes to set up a vehicle shuttle, take the scenic Eastern route on HWY 97 through Leavenworth. And if you like good milkshakes, stop at the 59’er Diner just North of Leavenworth.
@bookLocale: Northern California
Any number of hikes around Glacier Peak gets my vote. Less than two hour drive if I remember right to a trailhead from Seatte; or take a boat to Holden village on Lake Chelan and go from there.May 8, 2019 at 7:02 pm #3592070
Good point made by Jeffrey – you have the option to do various length loop hikes from a single trailhead in the Alpine Lakes area – loop hikes are convenient if you don’t have multiple vehicles or somebody to drop off and pick you up. However, note that some of the trails in that area you’ll see on maps get little maintenance, so check WTA.org for trail conditions from recent trip reports for any trails you’re researching.May 8, 2019 at 7:22 pm #3592071
For transportation we would be getting dropped off and picked up at the other end so no parking issues. Does one end of section J have cell coverage near the trailhead?May 8, 2019 at 11:14 pm #3592090
South end (Snoqualmie) has cell phone coverage at trailhead and for several miles North along the PCT where it’s in sight of the interstate highway (at least with Verizon). Unsure about Stevens Pass – never used a cell phone there.May 9, 2019 at 1:29 am #3592117Norman SBPL Member
Do the Ptarmigan TraverseMay 9, 2019 at 11:02 am #3592155
The Ptarmigan Traverse looks spectacular but also a little more “mountaineering” like than we want for this trip.
Thanks for the suggestions. I think at this point we will stick with our original PCT section J plan going SOBO. Planning overhead is low and it works out convenient for our local drop off and pick up plans.May 10, 2019 at 3:31 am #3592257Tom KBPL Member
“Unsure about Stevens Pass – never used a cell phone there.”
Nor have I, but there is a ski area there, and that crowd is highly unlikely to go without their cell phones.
“The Ptarmigan Traverse looks spectacular but also a little more “mountaineering” like than we want for this trip.”
You are correct, plus the exit via Bachelor Creek is no walk in a park either. I think you are wise to go with the PCT SOBO, from what you have posted.
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