The relatively short section of the Pacific Northwest Trail between Metaline Falls and Northport, Washington, covers a scenic section of road and trail through eastern Washington's farm country. After crossing the Pend Oreille River, the trail winds through Forest Service roads before picking up the Flume Creek Trail to the summit of Abercrombie Mountain. These first 15 miles of the trail gain a steady 5,000 feet of elevation, and atop Abercrombie Mountain the views of the surrounding hillsides and valleys of the Colville National Forest are impressive.
After descending from Abercrombie Mountain, a drop of another 5,000 feet in elevation that mirrors the climb from the east, the trail drops down toward Leadpoint and Deep Lake-Boundary Road, where a significant and recent route change is vital to recognize. Unbeknownst to the Forest Service, the PNTA, and local landowners until 2016, the route that Congress first designated through Ohare Creek Road west to Black Canyon Road crossed several parcels of private land. Given this new information, landowners have decided not to grant permission to travelers using this route. If you continue along this route, you will be trespassing; this means fines, but it also means more friction in the relationship between private landowners and the agencies that work to ensure the trail's viability. Please respect the wishes of private landowners in this area and divert your route north along the Deep Lake-Boundary Road all the way to Northport. Negotiations for a more permanent and more scenic route alternative are currently underway.
You'll follow Deep Lake-Boundary Road for 17 miles to Northport, where the PNT crosses the Columbia River. As the newest of the national scenic trails, some of the route is still a work in progress; various alternative routes offer variety to thru-hikers, and in many places the route has no trails at all. Although the route traverses numerous national forests and three national parks, the national forest sections are often a mix of trails and Forest Service roads. The Forest Service and various nonprofit partners that work with the agency seek to build trails in these sections that avoid roads, but at this point the decision is subject to budgetary considerations and approval from each national forest's manager in conjunction with the broader government agency. But as far as road travel goes, many of the Forest Service roads are little more than wide trails that proceed through some incredibly scenic areas, and the gradual grade can be a welcome respite.
This section of trail also continues close to the border between the U.S. and Canada. Given the number of roads that continue between the two countries and that intersect with points of the trail near Metaline Falls, make sure to carry your passport with you and have it ready for any border patrol agents you might encounter along the way.
The town of Northport is a small hamlet on the banks of the Columbia River. It has a post office, restaurants and bars, a grocery store to resupply food for the next segment of trail, and a library with internet access (and with limited hours of operation). The trail goes directly through town, so no detours or hitchhiking are necessary to reach this resupply and rest point. In town, some hikers have chosen to respectfully camp in the city park that overlooks the city.
For additional details, refer to the following PNT sections: