Pacific Crest Trail: Harts Pass to Rainy Pass


Backpack - Pacific Crest Trail: Harts Pass to Rainy Pass

This trip is nearly a non-stop ridge walk of approximately 40 mostly moderate miles, with expansive views across the North Cascades Crest. We’ll spread this trip across 3.5 days to allow for a relaxed pace and plenty of chances to explore from camp.

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  • Moderate/Strenuous
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 33.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,600 ft

We'll gather at 6AM at a place to be determined and ride up to Rainy Pass.  To eliminate the very long car shuttle to Harts Pass (4 hours one-way), the leader has arranged a van to take the group from Rainy to Harts, which will cost about $50 per person if the full 8 person roster fills, and could be slightly more.  The leader will ask for advance payment of the shuttle fee at the time of registration for the hike to secure your spot on the roster.  The shuttle fee is only refundable upon cancellation if someone takes your place on the roster.


This trip is open to all club members over age 18 and is part of the Foothills Branch  "B3" Backpacking Building Blocks course, and successful completion will provide credit toward B3 course graduation requirements.  Since this backpack is part of B3, emphasis will be placed during the trip on coaching and review of key trail skills and gear usage, as appropriate.

On our first day, (Saturday) we’ll drive to Rainy Pass (Hwy 20) to meet our shuttle and leave cars (Northwest Forest Pass needed to park).  After approximately 4 hours to Harts Pass, we’ll have lunch and get started on the trail.  On our first day we’ll walk approx. 6.5 miles to camps in meadows just beyond Tatie Peak.  On day 2 (Sunday) we’ll travel approx. 10 miles across cross Grasshopper and Glacier Pass before descending to the West Fork Methow River to camp.  On day 3 (Monday) we’ll hike approx. 11 miles and set up camp below the Golden Horn, and take a late afternoon walk up to watch the sun set over the Golden Horn from Snowy Lakes.  Finally on our last day (Tuesday), we’ll head out the final 11.7 mostly downhill miles to Rainy Pass.

Participants will be expected to be in good cardiovascular condition and prepared to travel up to 12 miles a day on rolling terrain at a moderate 1.5-2 mph pace with a loaded pack without frequent rest breaks.  Please send the leader an email for advance permission before registering for the trip. The leader will send out a series of emails in advance of the trip to assist with carpool arrangements and gear/food planning.

Additional Information:

    • Elevation Gain: 3,600 ft.
    • High Point: 7,625 ft.

The first section is entirely above tree line with wide open meadows, ridges and expansive views of giant peaks of the North Cascades crest.  From Harts Pass, the Pacific Crest Trail swings gently over two saddles and around 7,360 ft. Tatie Peak.  Descend a series of switchbacks to a larch-ringed meadow with dependable water and camping at 6.3 mi.  From here the trail climbs gradually to broad Grasshopper Pass at 7.3 mi and 6,700 ft (snowmelt water here in early summer only). From Grasshopper Pass, descend steeply to Glacier Pass (9.9 and 5,600 ft), and hike along Brush Creek to a junction with Trail No. 480 at 12.7 mi.  Continue right up the West Fork of the Methow River to camps along the river at 16.4 mi or at Willis Camp at 18.4 mi.  Climb steeply again. The trail reaches Methow Pass at 20.6 mi and 6,600 ft. From here, traverse a steep slope with views to the south. About a mile beyond Methow Pass are  amps and a boot path up to Snowy Lakes - a visit to these lakes under Golden Horn is recommended. Continue to traverse, descending slightly to 6,200 ft. Granite Pass at 23.7 mi.  Just beyond Granite Pass, a steep snowfield often hangs on until late August - don't attempt this without an ice axe.  In another 2.5 mi, reach Cutthroat Pass at 26.1 mi and 6,800 ft. with spectacular views to the east up Early Winters Creek and State Route 20.  Hike steep switchbacks down from the pass.  Camps with fairly reliable water can be found at about 28.1 mi at the headwaters of Porcupine Creek.  Another 5.1 mi and you're at 4,800 ft. Rainy Pass.





Pacific Crest Trail: Harts Pass to Rainy Pass

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports