Central Alpine Lakes Loop (Backpacking)

Loop • 35 mi • 4600 ft

The 75-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail between Snoqualmie Pass and Stevens Pass is a very popular backpack trip, and it deserves to be. The route is supremely scenic with countless viewpoints, beautiful forests, acres of huckleberries, rugged mountains, and several gorgeous lakes. The entire trip is rather strenuous, however, and it requires either a lengthy car shuttle or careful timing to meet the buses that service both ends. These arrangements are a bit cumbersome, so I recommend doing a loop trip instead. This not only solves the transportation problem but also allows you to sample some of the trail’s best miles without having to work as hard as you would with the full trip. Finally, since you won’t have the mindset of having to get from Point Ato Point B in time to meet the bus, you can set a more leisurely pace and take the time to do several spectacular side trips to some of the most beautiful places in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
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Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Cle Elum
Length: 35 total miles
Elevation Gain: 4,600 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 3-4 days
Season: Usually open Mid-July to October; best late July to early August
Trailhead Elevation: 2,800 feet
Local Contacts: Cle Elum Ranger District
Local Maps: USFS - Alpine Lakes Wilderness
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