Pacific Crest Trail: Suiattle River to Red Pass & White Pass

This wild 58-mile trail on the west side of Glacier Peak includes 38.4 miles on the Section K of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and is now very remote because of road and trail closures after a 2007 flood. But hardy souls will experience one of the best stretches of meadows and peak views in Washington state. Destinations include Vista Ridge, Mica Lake, Fire Creek Pass, Kennedy Ridge, Red Pass, and White Pass.

getting there

Drive SR-530 north from Darrington or south from Rockport to the Sauk River bridge.  Turn east on the North Fork Sauk River Road (Forest Road 49) and drive to the Sloan Creek campground. Leave a vehicle here.  Then return to SR-530, turn right and continue north to the Suiattle River Road (Forest Road 26).  Turn on Suiattle River road and drive  23 miles to the road's end and the trailhead (1,600 ft).


Walk the Suiattle River trail 10 miles to camps near the junction with Trail No. 785.  More camps can be found along the river 1.4 miles on at the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and along the next 1.3 miles.  To stay on the PCT, turn right at the junction with Trail No. 798 and climb 8 miles along Vista Creek to Vista Ridge.  A side trail, Trail No. 788, goes 2.5 miles northwest to a grassy point with great views of Glacier Peak just above.

Continue west on the PCT, descending steeply for 6 miles to the junction with now closed Milk Creek trail at 3,900 ft, then climb 4 miles past Mica Lake clinging to the cliff and Fire Creek Pass just above it at 6,300 ft.  The PCT winds and descends around the tiny Milk Lake glacier to a low point at 5,300 ft, then climbs again to 6,000 ft before heading south and then west along Kennedy Ridge, ~7.5 miles.  Major washouts that buried Kennedy Hot Springs also led to closure of the White Chuck River Trail that used to join here, as well as the White Chuck River Road that connected it to civilization.

From the west end of Kennedy Ridge, the rerouted and repaired PCT continues across Kennedy Creek  and descends 2 miles  to the White Chuck River Valley, then follows the river 8 miles, passing right under Glacier Peak and the White Chuck Glacier, before it climbs again to crest Red Pass at 6,500 ft.  From here the PCT is a flower-field extravaganza, gently sloping down 1.7 miles to the junction with the North Fork Sauk River Trail, No. 649.  Leave the PCT here and descend to camps at the Mackinaw Shelter 2.8 miles below, or walk 0.7 miles further on the PCT to White Pass and camp on the bench below before heading back to the North Fork Sauk River Trail.  From the Mackinaw Shelter it is 5.4 miles through old-growth forest to the North Fork Sauk Trailhead and your shuttle vehicle.


  • Miners Creek to the top of Vista Ridge:  9.2 miles
  • Vista Ridge to Fire Creek Pass:  10 miles
  • Fire Creek Pass to west end of Kennedy Ridge:  7.5 miles
  • Kennedy Ridge to Red Pass:  10 miles
  • Red Pass to North Fork Sauk River trail junction:  1.7 miles
  • North Fork Sauk River junction to White Pass:  0.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Very Strenuous
  • Length: 58.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 8,900 ft
  • 6,300 ft
  • Green Trails Mountain Loop Highway No. 111SX
  • Green Trails Glacier Peak No. 112
  • Green Trails Sloan Peak No. 111
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