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100 miles, PNW, - PCT or Wonderland?
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Timothy Farnsworth
100 miles, PNW, - PCT or Wonderland? on 03/15/2013 10:43:31 MDT Print View

Early August timeframe. Need to get the Wonderland app in asap if I'm going to do that. I've thought of doing the Trout Lake -> Chinook Pass (rd 23 to hwy 14) section of the PCT, or possibly in Oregon Hwy 242 (Sisters) -> Shelter Cove (Prineville), adding in the South Sister climb. Snow levels appear to be about average so far.

My guess is that all three of these are awesome trips and I should do all of them, but only one can for sure happen this year. What do you advise? I can't decide. I'm in decent shape, a relative newb to longer distance hiking, but plenty capable in general.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: 100 miles, PNW, - PCT or Wonderland? on 03/15/2013 11:27:46 MDT Print View

I've done about half of Trout Lake to Chinook Pass - Goat Rocks and Mt Adams have about the best scenery possible. North of White Pass, between Goat Rocks and Adams, and South of Adams are more treed and fewer views, but I have done only some of that.

The 50 miles around Three Sisters is also about the best scenery possible. Also, take the route between South and Middle Sisters. North of there goes through some scenic lava fields. South goes through trees and buggy lakes, not so good.

What is Shelter Cove (Prineville) - I'm always searching for winter hikes which Prineville area is good for - I wouldn't go there in summer because the Cascades are better, cooler, more drinking water...

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Re: 100 miles, PNW, - PCT or Wonderland? on 03/15/2013 11:29:33 MDT Print View

The Trout Lake to Chinook Pass section is really stunning and, to me, one of the best 100-mile sections on the whole PCT (right up there with the JMT and northern Washington). You get Mt. Adams, Goat Rocks, and the Mt. Rainier area, all of which are terrific.

The OR section you mentioned is nothing special--lots of nice forests, lots of lakes, possibly lots of mosquitoes depending on how the summer goes. Three Sisters is great, but the most scenic parts of Oregon are from the CA border to Crater Lake and 3 Sisters to Cascade Locks. For me, central Oregon was kind of boring.

I haven't done the Wonderland Trail.

If you are open to alternative PCT sections, the Alpine Lakes (I-90 to Hwy. 2) and Glacier Peak (Hwy. 2 to Stehekin) sections are really phenomenal--epic scenery. Alpine Lakes is about 75 miles, and Glacier Peak is close to 100. You'd have to take the boat to or from Chelan to do Glacier Peak, but it would be worth it.

Edited by sschloss1 on 03/15/2013 11:33:52 MDT.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
get a Wonderland permit on 03/15/2013 11:40:48 MDT Print View

Whatever you do I'd put in for a Wonderland permit now. What are they, $30? That's a small price to pay, especially in comparison of cost of entire trip, to keep all your options open. If you have flexibility to delay the trip you could scrap WT at last minute if there's lousy weather and do something on the PCT a week or two later.

The 75 mile stretch of PCT between Snoqualmie Pass and Stevens Pass (mostly in Alpine Lakes Wilderness) is another one to consider. I did WT last year and would like to do this PCT section this year. PCT of course requires some logistics b/c it's going to be point to point.

Edited by hes on 03/15/2013 11:46:32 MDT.

Timothy Farnsworth
From OP on 03/15/2013 16:19:54 MDT Print View

Thanks a bunch for the ideas! I'll put in the wonderland app tomorrow. I've done Sisters -> Cascade Locks last year. Someone on another forum said the exact opposite of the poster above - he said that South of Crater Lake is boring but three sisters wilderness is epic. Since I'm an Oregonian I'm sure I'll eventually do both.

Leaning towards Wonderland if snow levels are not bad and the forecast isn't pure rain. The loop aspect simplifies planning a lot. The Goat Rocks section is getting a lot of love here, though.
I may be able to attempt the whole PCT Snoqualmie -> Canada (260 miles?) in 2014 so I want to not do that area for now.
I appreciate the suggestions. I was thinking this forum was all gearheading till I found this section. Hike on!

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
Olympics? on 03/15/2013 16:50:37 MDT Print View

Is there some reason you're not also considering a hike in the Olympics? They're just as spectacular as anything in the Cascades. The main trails there have many interconnections so you can design a custom loop of whatever length you want, assuming the necessary high passes are all doable at hike time. Check out park map here to get an idea: Olympic NP maps

In any case, you might want to put Olympics on your todo list for future years.

Timothy Farnsworth
To above on 03/15/2013 17:42:39 MDT Print View

I've been to the Olympics, just once a long time ago. Seemed a different kind of spectacular than I have in mind (more lush, less grand vista) and very very wet. I should go back, thank you, though. I also kind of have a vague idea that I'll try to see the majority of the PCT within the next 3-4 years and so I'm oriented towards that.

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"100 miles, PNW, - PCT or Wonderland?" on 03/15/2013 19:25:20 MDT Print View

Anywhere around Glacier Peak will be phenomenal. Either take the boat up to Holden from Chelan and then plan from there, or take the road up (I forget the number right now) that forks at a bridge between Wenatchee and Chelan to another trailhead that accesses the park. All of that area is very good.

I grew up in the PNW and always snubbed my nose at Mount Rainier. I went to the Olympics or other areas of the Cascades. After moving to California I finally did a partial hike of Rainier. It's just spectacular. You will not be disappointed. Just do it.

So yes: Glacier Peak, excellent. Mount Rainier, excellent. It may seem like Glacier doesn't have 100 miles of hiking, but play with it.

Have fun.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
Olympics hike pics on 03/16/2013 11:45:47 MDT Print View

Tim -- I get you on the PCT thing; I've never been on it and want to do some of that myself. Your perception of Olympics may be colored by having done a lowland river hike on western side. There's plenty in there that's much different from that and I want to spend some time over there too. See some good pics and other info at Barefoot Jake's site. E.g., here are pics from one of his treks: Barefoot Jake 5-day trek across Olympics

Also, summer rainfall in Olympics is not much different from west slope of Washington Cascades. In eastern side of Olympics it's actually lower.

Edited by hes on 03/16/2013 12:01:36 MDT.