Distance: 3.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
Pass: Northwest Forest Pass
I loved this easy, fall hike! With the colors popping all around us, I wanted to get out and enjoy them before they were gone. In Utah, it’s mostly aspens putting on the show, so there are a lot of yellows. But in Washington, there’s a lot of variety in the colors though they are both on the trees and bushes. This trail literally had a rainbow of color for us to walk through on the trail. It drizzled for part of the hike, but luckily mostly stayed away until we were back at the car.
The trail hikes up a brief amount of gain before reaching the PCT ridge where it stays mostly flat as it meanders through the woods and overlooks the canyon below.
With the iffy weather, the hike was fairly quiet, but we did run into a kind Korean man hiking the PCT from Mexico to Canada (pictured below).
He was in his last 2 weeks before he reached his destination. Brighton and I, along with a couple other passing hikers, chatted with him for a little while and provided all of our extra snacks to help propel him further on his journey. I couldn’t imagine walking for that long by myself, especially in a foreign country. He said that he had watched Wild and other documentaries about hiking the PCT and it inspired him to come to the US and just do it! We took a selfie with him (on his phone) and he was journaling about our visit when we had already reached the lake and turned around. We offered to take his photo and email it to him—which we did a couple weeks later. I hope he reached his destination and the sense of community on the trail was such a special moment for us to witness and be part of!
From Enumclaw, drive east on SR 410 for about 50 miles to Chinook Pass. Continue about 0.2 miles to Pacific Crest Trail parking lot, which is the second large parking lot on the left side of the road. The trailhead is on the east end of the parking lot behind the vault toilets. From Naches, drive west on Highway 12 to the junction with SR 410. Turn onto SR 410, and drive about 45 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail parking lot, on the right side of the road about 0.2 miles from the top of the pass. If you get to the Tipsoo Lake parking lot, you have gone too far. The trailhead is on the east end of the parking lot behind the vault toilets.