Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
750.00 m (2,460.63 ft)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
44.00 km (27.34 mi)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Pacific Crest Trail north from Harts Pass offers backpackers a triple treat of the dramatic peaks of the North Cascades, the vastness of the Pasayten Wilderness, and a spectacular high alpine hiking experience without major elevation gain.

The trail starts about 100 yards from the Harts Pass campground, and the first mile is a steady uphill hike through patches of forests and flowering meadows under the shadow of the Slate Peak tower. Rounding Slate Peak, the tone of the trail is set - breathtaking views west into the North Cascades, then rolling along the contours through mountain passes to peer down into the Pasayten Wilderness and the West Fork Valley.

Eagle-eyed observers might catch a glimpse of the region's distant mining history in the valleys below. On the trail you'll be surrounded by an abundance of blooming wildflowers through late spring and early summer. Wildlife is also quite plentiful, including marmots and pikas, while mountain goats and black bears frequent the trail.

As the trail skirts the eastern face of Tamarack Peak, the lush greenery gives way to scree slopes and boulders. The upside of these exposed sections include stunning panoramic views deep into the Pasayten. Take in the views as the last part of the trail darts back into the forest before descending to Holman Pass, where there are a handful of rustic campsites.

Explore more

The route out is via returning to Harts Pass, though there are a variety of options for long trips through Holman Pass.

  • Join the trail to Devil's Pass and follow the Pacific Northwest Trail to Ross Lake.
  • Continue another 15 miles from Holman Pass to the northern terminus of the PCT at the Canadian border.
  • Complete the Seven Pass Loop by joining the West Fork Pasayten River Trail and returning over Slate Peak. Note: This trail was closed due to fire in 2017. Check with the Methow Valley Ranger District to confirm this trail is open.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Open Year-round

No

Open from

June 15 to October 15

Days

2

Pros

Spectacular scenery. Well-maintained trail. Wildlife. True wilderness setting.

Cons

Limited water sources in late summer. Exposed sections.

Trailhead Elevation

6,167.98 ft (1,880.00 m)

Highest point

6,971.78 ft (2,125.00 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Waterfalls
Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Ross Lake National Recreation Area, North Cascades National Park

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