Mts. Adams to Rainier on the Pacific Crest Trail, Goat Rock Wilderness, Washington
- Hike among volcanoes, snowfields, glaciers, and alpine lakes
- See wildflowers in full bloom
- Spy marmots, goats, and pikas
- Delicious food
- Good company
- Serenity (or so we hope)
|Dates||Aug 3–14, 2014|
|Difficulty||4 (out of 5)|
Please note that the trip dates have changed from what was originally published. If you have questions, please contact us.
Our backpacking trip takes place largely on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) between Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier in the stunning Goat Rock’s Wilderness and William O. Douglas Wilderness. On the hike, we will have an opportunity to see many environments found within this region: glaciers, fabulous mountain scenery, alpine lakes, forest lakes, volcanoes, and wildflower meadows in full bloom. There will be plenty of streams, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy. We will also have the opportunity to see abundant wildlife, ranging from deer, marmots, goats, and black bear. Ambitious participants will have the option of various side trips.
Goat Rocks is located in the Cascade Mountains just east of Mt. Rainier. As we hike the beautiful trails of the wilderness, we'll have views of three of our largest volcanoes: Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens. Many PCT through-hikers consider the Goat Rocks Wilderness to be the premier portion of the trail. We will be rewarded with spectacular vistas and amazing natural and volcanic history.
Your guides on this trip are Northwest natives who are enthusiastic about the Cascades, backpacking, and the Pacific Crest Trail. Both Marybeth and Jason have led trips on the PCT and have walked many of the trails in the Cascade Range. If you enjoy late-night strolls to watch the moon rise or see the Milky Way, if you wonder what’s beyond the next ridge, if you are looking for friends to jump in a mountain lake or harvest wild blueberries for tomorrow’s breakfast, then you should feel right at home on this trip.
The itinerary is subject to change based on unsafe weather conditions and the health and fitness levels of the participants.
Although day one of our adventure begins when we hit the trailhead, we will meet the day before in the small town of Packwood, WA. We will talk about the trip, distribute group gear, and arrange carpooling for the next day.
On day one, we will all meet and leave most of the cars at the trail’s end on Hwy 410 near Naches Pass. We will carpool to Hwy 12 and into the town of Packwood, where we will cut onto Forest Service roads to our trailhead. We will begin at the Takhlakh Lake trailhead, which provides easy access to the PCT on the west side of Mt. Adams.
Our first day will provide us with views of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. We will progress northwesterly throughout our trip, taking time to view the remnants of Mt. St. Helens as well as other high-alpine terrain. Our elevation gain and loss will vary day by day, but our low point on the trail will be at 4,500 feet, where the trail crosses Hwy 12, and the high point will be at 7,600 feet on Old Snowy Mountain, where we’ll have some of the best views of the trip. We will average about 8 miles a day, but will have days when we’ll hang up our backpacks in favor of daypacks and head out on side trips. Many may opt to spend the rest days sitting in flower meadows or lakes by our camp. We’ll take side trips to Snowgrass Flats, Goat Lake, and Shoe Lake before running into Hwy 12, where we will drop our garbage and then resupply with fresh food and even fresh clothing! The last leg of the trip offers fishing and swimming in forested lakes leading up to spectacular views at the border of Mt. Rainier National Park. Expect to see amazing views of all three volcanoes -- sometimes all three at the same time.
On a typical day, we will rise at 7:00 a.m., eat a hearty breakfast, break camp, and start hiking by 8:30 a.m. The leaders like to take a measured but steady approach to backpacking. We aren't trying to set speed records; rather, we want to appreciate and relish the beautiful mountain scenery while making steady progress toward camp. We will generally arrive in camp in the late afternoon, leaving plenty of time to set up tents, clean up, do some exploring, and maybe even catch a short nap before dinner.
The day before the trip begins, we'll meet in the small town of Packwood, WA. There are many hotel and camping options in town. The day prior to the trip, we will meet to talk about trip logistics, distribute group gear, and prepare our carpool for the next day. Prior to the trip, you will receive a roster of trip members and directions. We encourage you to make ride-sharing and accommodation arrangements with other participants on the trip.
Accommodations and Food
Our first meal will be a group lunch during the first day of hiking. The last meal will be lunch on the last day on the trail, with the option to meet up for dinner back in Seattle or nearby if people are interested.
During the backpacking portion of the trip, we will be eating tasty, homemade meals that may contain meat, but vegetarians will be accommodated. We strive hard to make delicious meals and desserts for our trip; we take pride in our meals and look forward to sharing them with you.
We will provide hot coffee and tea every morning with breakfast. Participants will be expected to assist with meal preparations and clean-up on a rotating basis.
This is a moderate/strenuous trip that covers approximately 100 trail miles (depending on side trips) with some significant elevation gains, a few stream crossings, snowfield crossing, and unpredictable weather. A physical fitness regimen, beginning at least three months prior to the trip, is highly recommended. Your enjoyment of this backpacking trip will depend on your enthusiasm, flexibility, preparedness, and physical conditioning.
Equipment and Clothing
A complete list of required equipment will be sent to all participants. All group cooking equipment, bear canisters, and food will be provided. Each participant will need to bring his or her own insulated mug, bowl, and spoon. Summer temperatures are generally mild, but in the mountains the weather can be unpredictable so you will need to bring warm layers. All participants must bring lightweight, waterproof raingear (jackets and pants). A tent with a waterproof rainfly is a necessity.
Please try to limit your personal gear to around 25 pounds. Group gear and food will add an additional 10 to 15 pounds to the weight of your packs. Your pack will need to hold your personal gear and a bear canister, which is about the size of two gallon milk jugs.
- Spring, Ira and Harvey Manning, 100 Hikes in the South Cascades and Olympics.
- Go, Benedict, Pacific Crest Trail Data Book.
- Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, Cascade Series – Southern Washington
- Green Trail Maps – Map 303S
During the trip, we will discuss issues impacting the area in and around the Cascades. The subjects of our discussions involve complex issues, such as: protection of ecosystems & endangered species and protection of jobs. We will also have an opportunity to compare the ways humans have impacted the environment compared to the natural volcanic geology of the area -– most apparent by the scars left by the explosion of Mt. St. Helens.
Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and will operate under permits from the Gifford-Pinchot and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests.
Notes for Sierra Club Outings
- Carbon Offsets
- Electronic Billing and Forms
- Electronic Devices
- How to Apply for a Trip
- Leader Gratuities
- Liability Release and Assumption of Risk
- Medical Issues
- Non-discrimination Statement
- Participant Approval
- Reservation and Cancellation Policy
- Seller of Travel Disclosure
- Travel Insurance
- Trip Feedback
- Trip Price
- Wilderness Manners