The Pacific Northwest Trail is the newest of the national scenic trails in the United States, and it is arguably the most rugged. The demanding route runs 1,200 miles along the border with Canada from Glacier National Park in Montana to the Olympic National Park on the Pacific Coast. The trail was first proposed in the 1970s by a few long-distance hikers and the PNT was officially designated by Congress in 2009.
The PNT starts in Glacier National Park at the northern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail. It then enters the Flathead National Forest and Kootenai National Forest before leaving Montana and entering northern Idaho. The long section through Idaho and Eastern Washington weaves through the Kaniksu and Colville National Forests and passes through the Selkirk Mountains and farm country. In Central Washington the trail returns to forests and glaciated mountains, passing though the remote Pasayten Wilderness and North Cascades National Park, where it intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail near it's northern terminus. From the North Cascades the PNT makes its way to Puget Sound and, with a ferry ride, crosses to the Olympic Peninsula. The remainder of the journey goes though Olympic National Park before reaching the ocean and proceeding north along the coast to Cape Alava, the westernmost point of the continental United States.
This spring we published an overview and details on each of the 15 sections of the PNT. To whet your appetite for the trail, the 25 photos in the slideshow above will give you a glimpse of the beauty that will be found on the Pacific Northwest Trail. Enjoy!