Norse Peak Fires near Mt. Rainier, Washington

August 14th, 2017

A lightning storm on August 11, 2017 ignited 13 fires within the Naches Ranger District of Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington.  Ten of the fires are in the William O. Douglas and Norse Peak Wildernesses. Some of them have been contained.

At this point, it appears that the most significant fire is burning about 3.5 miles east of the PCT from about Crown Point (mile 2328) to about mile 2332. The fire is downhill from the PCT in the Union Creek and North Fork of Union Creek drainages.

The Pacific Crest Trail is not closed at the time of writing, but we recommend monitoring conditions closely. We’re really just starting to learn about the big fire in Union Creek and we don’t know much about the other fires. We hear that the fire in Union Creek is growing quickly!



overgrown trail and tree down

By: Julie Watkins-Jarvies
August 14th, 2017

Just came through Section K and while overgrowth in WA is expected, miles 2508-2510 is in desperate shape. It looks like fallen tree has diverted the creek down the PCT. With no natural outlet it’s become a swamp. Popping out on the Milk Creek “valley trail” is extremely overgrown with washed out portions on slipping banks. There is also a dangerous tree to get over along the way. Precarious at best! There are two FS crews in the area.

Closure due to logging in southern Washington

July 21st, 2017

Starting July 25, 2017, due to logging activity northwest of Table Mountain, a portion of the PCT will be inaccessible 10 miles north of Bridge of the Gods. Signs at and along the alternate route will direct you along the bypass logging road and back to the PCT for approximately 3.1 miles. The distance bypassed on the PCT is 2 miles.

Right now, we don’t know when the closure will be lifted.

This sign is posted at the Bridge of the Gods

Utility tree-trimming crew working along PCT in Gorge

October 27th, 2016

Beware Nov 1-30, 2016 on the Washington side of the Gorge, where the PCT follows along a powerline corridor from Bridge of the Gods (Highway 14) about one mile north. A crew from the utility company will be brushing and tree trimming with heavy equipment.  They’ll stop hikers for a short time if needed for safety, but usually, they’ll be able to stop their work for trail users to pass through.

Section J Stevens to Park Lakes

By: inchworm
July 19th, 2016

The summer is coming very late this year and both natural conditions and trail maintenance are not yet to where they would be for a July hike. Several pieces of the trail have significant amounts of large downed trees, notably south of Deep Lake to Waptus Trail 1310, and from Lemah Creek south to Spectacle Lake. While most are passable by hikers (only once did I have to remove my pack), it will slow travel time significantly. Between Waptus and Escondido Ridge, the brush was thick enough to slow you down also. This stretch is impassable by stock.

Water levels are high for this time of year. The “potentially treacherous” ford just south of Deception Pass is still quite high and I have no idea how one hiker we met barely got his feet wet (he said he went far downstream). Everyone else got a thigh-high soak in cold, swift water. Many streams and creeks required knee high wet crossings where normally you could boulder hop or wade ankle deep.

Snow is still sitting in patches and in some cases in 1/8 mile traverses in the bowls at high elevation (Chickamin Ridge especially). You can see the trail, so you won’t get lost though, and it is crossable and good condition midday if you are comfortable with snow.

Bugs were really not bad with recent rain and cold. Deception Lake was awful, plan not to stop there yet. Temperatures were in the 50s by day and 40s at night.

All in all, this section’s challenges are as though it is late June, rather than July.

Photo by: Nathaniel Middleton