Section J Washington

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.

Blasting near Delate Creek Bridge below Spectacle Lake.

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By: Jack Haskel
September 9th, 2015

We’ve received a heads up from the Cle Elum Ranger District that there will be blasting on the PCT next week, Sept. 15-18. Blasting site is at Delate Creek Bridge below Spectacle Lake. Trail guards will be posted and that section of trail will be closed intermittently for short periods of time during the operation. No long delays for hikers are anticipated.

Alpine Lakes Wilderness – horse issues

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By: Bob Woods
July 11th, 2014

North of Snoqualmie Pass the trail becomes very difficult even for expert riders. There are some steep drop offs with very narrow trail tread. The first detour you’ll encounter is in the middle of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness at Lemah Creek where the bridge is washed out and is impassable for stock. Riders can detour via the Pete Lake Trail #1323 to the Lemah Meadows Trail #1323.2 to reconnect to the PCT. The next one is near Cathedral Rock and Deception Pass. Riders can detour via Cathedral Pass Trail #1345 to the trailhead and back up the Deception Pass Trail #1376. Both of these are short detours to avoid dangerous stream crossings.

Section J Southbound Stevens Pass to Snoqualamie Pass July 13-18

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By: Angie aka Social Hermit
July 22nd, 2013

Snow:Totally doable but there is snow pack. After Icicle Creek turnoff there was a section of snowpack that looked like a crossroads,it was a little difficult to find the trail again here…followed treeline and was able to find it. Hardly any snow after that until 10 miles or so north of the Kendall Katwalk where several large snow drifts filled the trail so it was a long slide to the bottom. I had to kick steps/microspikes for some. I was more than a little nervous crossing these. Doable but not the time to cross this if u are scared of heights. I met some freaked out people at the point of no return in the middle of this wearing sneakers and without poles.
Some snow after the Katwalk ..look at your contours and u will find the trail.
Water: Rivers generally pretty low and the described difficult ford at 2453 was fine. Lower Lemah was pretty fast and deep too ..mid thigh on me.
Bugs: Lots of them but not so viscious as u would expect..but then I soaked my clothes in premetherin and was wearing 100% Deet 20% time. Met a southbounder who had 20+ bites visible just in passing.
Blow Down: Lots of blow down throughout the trail…I am 5’4 and was able to get around most and had a tight slide on my back under one log and threw my pack over and roped it so it wouldn’t go down the hill.
Erosion: Lots of areas where trail is very narrow from winter/snowmelt water but all passable and visible to you as u approach them.
People: Met very few. One through hiker heading north, a section hiker heading north and one southbound kiwi.
Its as good a time as any to hike this section. have fun!

Stevens Pass Northbound (Hwy 2)

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By: Jeff Erwin
June 25th, 2013

Hiked in on an in-and-out to see how far I could get. Made it in about 2.5 miles before the trail became very difficult to follow because fo the snow fields. The trail is in good shape, but there are 3-4 downed trees across the trail at various points. I was able to make it across/under/around all of the blockages so nothing serious.