Backpack - Indian Heaven Wilderness on the PCT

Indian Heaven Wilderness on the PCT

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
meet at trailhead, time TBD
Although open to all club members over age 18, this trip is also part of the B3 backpacking Building Blocks series and eligible for B3 course graduation credit. In addition, this backpack will have a practical instructional/learning focus and offer experience in proper gear use and camp set-up techniques.

Much of the PCT is still in deep snow through July. This trip is designed for an early visit to a section of the trail that opens earlier in the (short PCT) season. The availability of road access at the Saturday night camp spot allows for some flexibility in testing and trading off gear.

Two consecutive one-way day hikes would be possible if car arrangements can be made.

The drive is long via the Columbia River- about 5 hours from Seattle—so camping near the TH on Friday evening will be necessary. The return on Sunday evening may be late, though the intention is to be hiking by 7AM on Sunday and to return to cars by 4PM. Leader will help coordinate carpools.

Planned pace is two miles per hour.

Start at 4260 ft elevation and end at 900 ft, with 1000 feet gain on first day and 820 feet gain on second day. This is a land of rolling, forest-covered hills with many clear lakes.

The first day travels the Sawtooth Huckleberry Fields (before the main harvest begins), and passes by several 5,000 foot peaks (Sawtooth Mountain, Bird Mountain, Gifford Peak). Views of nearby Mt Adams to the northeast. The maximum elevation on the trip is 5150 feet on the first morning. Planned campground at Crest Horse Camp is car accessible. This is a 17 mile day with moderate elevation gain.

The second day follows the crest passing the Big Lava Bed to the east, up and over Big Huckleberry Mountain (views of Mt Hood and southward and Mt Adams to the east). Then the trail loses 3000 feet of elevation in nine miles, passing the Panther Creek Experimental Forest to the ending TH. Travel on the second day is 15 miles, with 3400 feet elevation loss (820 feet gain).

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials
Trip Reports