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The Pacific Crest Trail between Snoqualmie Pass and Stevens Pass is a very popular hiking trip. The seventy five mile stretch is extremely scenic with several gorgeous lakes, rugged mountains, acres of huckleberries, beautiful forests, and countless viewpoints. It requires either careful timing or a lengthy car shuttle to meet the buses that service both ends, and the entire trip is rather strenuous. So I recommend doing a loop trip instead, because these arrangements are a bit cumbersome.
Pacific Crest Trail
This allows you to sample some of the trail's best miles without having to work as hard as you would with the full trip but also solves the transportation problem.
You can take the time to do several spectacular side trips to some of the most beautiful places in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and finally, set a more leisurely pace, since you won't have the mindset of having to get from point A to point B in time to meet the bus.
Can you imagine not crossing a road for seventy five miles? Along the entire 2,650 mile trail, hikers who complete the Snoqualmie to Stevens segment of the PCT will backpack through some of the most diverse and remote mountain country.
The trail passes by at least a dozen lakes along the way, many of them swimmable in late summer, and the trail traverses the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. You will encounter views of towering mountains, old growth and meadows, since the lakes aren't the only attraction.
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Margaret Lake
This trail is for experienced backpackers. There is 16,000 feet elevation loss and gain! Until the snow melts, well into August, some places are impassable. Arrange for a pickup or shuttle at Stevens Pass and the length requires backpackers to carry six or seven days of food.
Buy the PCT Oregon & Washington guidebook by Jeffrey Schaffer and Andy Selters and pick up a map from the PCT Association (www.pcta.org). A short online hiking guide description can't match the details this book provides.
From Seattle, drive I-90 to Snoqualmie Pass west (exit 52). At the exit ramp bottom, turn north (left) and go under the freeway. Turn right onto a dirt road leading into the PCT trailhead, after about one hundred yards. The PCT exits at the crest near the ski area, at Stevens Pass.
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