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Hiking trip along the PCT at White Pass - Next Adventure

Hiking trip along the PCT at White Pass

Exploring the Pacific Crest Trail: A Tranquil Adventure at White Pass

Our backpacking journey along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) at White Pass in Washington promised stunning vistas, alpine meadows, and a night of tranquility beneath the starlit sky. The hike started near the White Pass ski area, which in the winter provides fun skiing for all, but at the time of year we went hiking, it was grassy and green.

The hike began at the trailhead, at the top of White Pass, at 4500’. The trail, well-maintained and gently ascending, offered glimpses of the surrounding peaks. After a pleasant trek of a few miles, we reached Shoe Lake, a pristine alpine body of water reflecting the majestic volcanoes. 

a man and dog hiking up a mountain

During the hike up, we were following the PCT heading south, and saw a few through hikers that were doing many more miles than we were. We also passed on several occasions the top of lifts for the White Pass ski area, and could see the cleared ski runs, but in the summer. It is interesting to see a ski area in the summer, when it is warm, green, and mostly devoid of people. 

stars in the sky

We were able to camp south of Shoe Lake and found a good spot that was designated as a campsite. There was enough daylight to set up tents and unpack our bags before it got dark, and once the sunset, the light show started.

With minimal light pollution, the night sky in this area was a celestial masterpiece. The Milky Way stretched across the heavens, and constellations became visible everywhere. A jetboil provided the only light except for the stars and showed the remoteness of this area.

Waking up to the gentle glow of dawn, we were treated to a breathtaking sunrise over the mountains. After a leisurely breakfast, we packed up, leaving no trace of our presence, and retraced our steps back to the trailhead, strolling down the hill back to our car.

This was a great, simple overnight trip to explore a small portion of the PCT and see some great mountain views. When planning an adventure like this, make sure you do your due diligence and look up whose land you are traveling on (National Forest v. State Forest, etc.) and see what is allowed for camping and fires, etc. Another easy way to get information is just to call these agencies, and their local offices, and talk to someone who has boots on the ground to get the most up to date information. Another important piece of information to get is if you need either some sort of parking or camping permit in the area you plan on traveling to. 

mt. hood at sunset

Another couple things to keep in mind is to follow LNT (leave no trace) principles, and make sure that you are not impacting the local environment. LNT has a great site explaining the basics of this principle, and is a must read that only takes a couple minutes. Another important source is to follow the ten essentials , which should prepare you for most emergency situations in a backcountry area. But most importantly, get out there, be friendly, and have fun!

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