Pacific Crest Trail: Norse Peak to Hayden Pass

This very strenuous hike or overnight backpack gains the stunning views from Norse Peak and travels north on the Pacific Crest Trail for 1.5 miles to the panoramic views of rugged Castle Mountain from Hayden Pass. Other destinations along the way include Big Crow Basin, Barnard Saddle, Little Crow Basin. Castle Mountain is a good scramble as a day trip or as part of an overnight exploration.

getting there

Drive east from Enumclaw about 34 miles on SR 410 and turn left (east) onto Crystal Mountain Road (Forest Road 7190) that lead to the Crystal Mountain ski area.  Drive 3 miles to a large horse camp on the left, at a junction with Forest Road 7190-410.  Park at the upper end of the horse camp and find the trailhead for Trail No. 1191 on the left (east) side of the parking area.


Climb steeply on Trail No. 1191 for about 4 miles into broad wildflower meadows (it can be hot in summer in this section) with steadily increasing views of Mount Rainier over Crystal Mountain to the southwest.  The trail forks at about 4 miles - the right fork leads to Scout Pass and Norse Peak, a not-to-be-missed side trip which connects to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and loops back around to join the trail to Hayden Pass.  The left fork continues 1.2 miles to join the PCT on a ridge above Big Crow Basin to the east and Goat Creek Valley to the west.  Follow the ridgecrest north with stunning views dominated by craggy Castle Mountain to the west.  Watch for goats on Castle Mountain--it's a favorite hangout!  About 6.5 miles from the trailhead, pass Barnard Saddle before dropping to Hayden Pass.  At Hayden Pass you'll be on the ridge with Little Crow Basin on the right and Reese-Goat Lake basin on the left.  You can drop down into either basin for camping, but the best camps can be found in the meadows of Little Crow Basin.

Return the way you came, loop back on Trail No. 1161 from Bernard Saddle, or continue south on the PCT from Norse Peak to connect with the trail system between Chinook Pass and Norse Peak.

Consider a Norse Peak Loop trip that ascends to Norse Peak and follow the PCT south, then east on the Bullion Basin Trail, and finally north along the shoulder of  Crystal Mountain Blvd to return to the Norse Peak Trailhead.

PCT Miles

  • Trail No. 1191-PCT junction to Barnard Saddle:  1.2 miles
  • Barnard Saddle to Hayden Pass:  0.3 mile

Scramble Routes

southeast castle mountain (6,703 ft)

11 miles round trip with 3,700 feet of elevation gain
difficulty: Strenuous 3, Technical 3

Hike the Norse Peak Trail, No. 1191, to intersection with the trail to Hayden Pass at ~5,900 ft.  Follow the trail toward Hayden Pass as it contours the north side of the ridge to the intersection with the PCT and continue on to Hayden Pass.  Ascend Southeast Castle Mountain's south ridge to its summit.

Information FOr leaders


As of 2017, the Snoqualmie Ranger District considers Mountaineers trips and courses to be "nominal use". Leaders should print and copy this designation letter to show rangers they may see on trail or carry a digital copy on their phone.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 11.4 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,300 ft
  • 6,290 ft
  • Green Trails Bumping Lake No. 271
  • USGS Norse Peak
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Norse Peak
  • Hayden Pass
  • Big Crow Basin
  • Little Crow Basin
  • Southeast Castle Mountain
  • Southeast Castle Mountain (Point 6703)

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