Washington Trail Closure

Lightning fires near Canadian border

Updated 9/27/22 at 2:00 PM

The PCT is CLOSED north of Windy Pass (mile 2628.2) to the Canadian border due to fires.

The Kid, Parks, Shull and Three Fools fires are all burning near the PCT. The Parks Fire crossed into Manning Park (it is called the Heather Fire in Canada) and is burning near the Monument 78 Trail. This closure may be in place until there is season-ending snowfall. We will update this page as soon as there is news to share.

Detouring to Park Pass

Reaching the Northern Terminus of the PCT is monumentally important to so many. We understand that this is a huge impact on people’s plans. We’re so sorry. It is reasonable, cautious and of course, perfectly acceptable to end your hike at Hart’s Pass.

If your heart desires, and smoke and your situation allows, you may choose to walk this detour to Park Pass near the Canadian border. There is no monument at Park Pass. Please do not build one. Do not impact this special area – leave no trace at the highest level.

Be safe out there – please read

Be careful! Once you leave the PCT, things change. It’s fire season – take the risk seriously. Prepare, leave a trip and communications plan with your trusted contact, bring maps, and more.

  1. High hunt starts Sept. 15 – 25, and the Larch Creek Trail will be a hunter destination. It’s important to be aware of this and to wear hunter orange while travelling through this area.
  2. You are more likely to encounter pack strings on this trail, and need to be aware: talk to the wrangler about how to step off trail while the horses and mules pass by.
  3. Trail #506 north of Peeve Pass along Sheep Mountain has not been logged out. Much of the route has burned in pervious years so be careful in burn areas.
  4. Billy Goat Trailhead receives much less vehicle traffic than Hart’s Pass, so be prepared to walk back to Mazama or Winthrop unless you have arranged a ride.
  5. Even when there isn’t a direct threat of flames, and the trail is technically open, thick smoke might make it a seriously bad idea to be out hiking. It’s not a time to be exercising and inhaling deeply. Smoke is unhealthy even when it’s not an immediate threat to life. The PCTA Interactive Map has smoke and fire information.
  6. Winter is coming. Beware of hypothermia and snow that makes travel impossible.
  7. Don’t get lost. If you don’t have experience navigating off the PCT, we caution against this being your first attempt. Pasayten Wilderness is one of the most remote areas in the contiguous United States.

The Lightning Creek Trail along Ross Lake is closed due to fire.

Detour map and directions to Park Pass in Pasayten Wilderness

From Slate Pass, take the Robinson Creek Trail to Mazama. From there, walk Forest Service roads over Cub Pass and up Eightmile Creek to Billy Goat Trailhead. From there, take trails to Park Pass near the Canadian border.

Protect these areas! After months on the trail, we hope you have fallen deeply in love with wild lands and that you embrace “gold standard” actions to protect fragile and special places. Camp in existing sites. Stay on trails. Do not have fires. Do not travel in large groups as the campsites cannot fit many people. Do not build structures – no terminus, no messages, nothing. Thank you.

Hart’s Pass Road will be closing, even for pedestrians, so repairs can be made. It will open daily around noon so workers can have lunch, and will open in the evenings. Better to take the Robinson Creek Trail. Or, if you’d like to travel most directly, go down the West Fork Methow Trail #480 south of Hart’s Pass.

Here’s the detour: Northern Terminus 2022 detour – CalTopo. A printable PDF of it is here and a GPX file is here.

Do not rely on your phone. Practice wilderness travel skills with good maps and self-sufficiency. If obtaining maps and navigating this route is unfamiliar territory, please consider not walking this detour.

Crossing into Canada is strictly prohibited and a serious violation of Canadian Federal Law. The consequences could result in imprisonment, deportation, and a lifetime ban from Canada. The area around Park Pass is mostly treeless but the border cut can be seen in the distance. Again, do not cross the border. There is no monument here marking the line.

Distances

  • 21 miles from Hart’s Pass to Mazama via the Robinson Creek Trail and road
  • 33.5 mile road walk from Mazama to Billy Goat Trailhead
  • 19.5 trail miles each way from Billy Goat Trailhead to Park Pass
  • That’s 74 miles from Hart’s Pass to Park Pass
  • And 72.5 miles from Mazama to Park Pass and back to Billy Goat Trailhead
  • Or, 106 miles if you are walking all the way from Mazama to Park Pass and back. Or, walk to Winthrop which is larger than Mazama.

Have you finished the trail? Please head on over to our finishers and alumni page for information about being recognized. When you tell us that you’ve completed the trail, we’re happy to recognize your achievement. Do you need to walk this detour? We stay out of answering questions that verge on the “purity” of people’s hikes. We’re happy to celebrate anyone who has finished the trail, whether it’s in a year or 40.

Congratulations!

Resources