Rainy Pass to Cutthroat Lake

Winthrop, Washington

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This is a lovely, invigorating run in the summer. The area is much cooler than the parched Methow Valley, with good climbs, well-marked trails, and breathtaking scenery. In the fall the autumn leaves add dashes of color to the stark landscape of the higher elevations. The climbs are challenging, but most of the trail is runnable. Some tricky footing on rocks between Cutthroat Pass and Cutthroat Lake prevents going fast through this area. The run starts at Rainy Pass (elevation 4840 feet) on the Pacific Crest Trail (A), which passes through forest with a gradual climb. Cross the small stream and enjoy the little waterfall above. After about a mile, the trees begin to thin and the trail gets steeper. As you continue climbing, the soil becomes more like fine crushed rock and the trees take on the rugged alpine look of many snowy, windy winters. The trail is high and exposed and should be avoided in bad weather.
50 Trail Runs in Washington

DESCRIPTION FROM:

50 Trail Runs in Washington

by Cheri Pompeo Gillis (The Mountaineers Books)

This is a lovely, invigorating run in the summer. The area is much cooler than the parched Methow Valley, with good climbs, well-marked trails, and breathtaking scenery. In the fall the autumn leaves add dashes of color to the stark landscape of the higher elevations. The climbs are challenging, but most of the trail is runnable. Some tricky footing on rocks between Cutthroat Pass and Cutthroat Lake prevents going fast through this area.

The run starts at Rainy Pass (elevation 4840 feet) on the Pacific Crest Trail (A), which passes through forest with a gradual climb. Cross the small stream and enjoy the little waterfall above. After about a mile, the trees begin to thin and the trail gets steeper. As you continue climbing, the soil becomes more like fine crushed rock and the trees take on the rugged alpine look of many snowy, windy winters. The trail is high and exposed and should be avoided in bad weather.

©  Cheri Pompeo Gillis/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Trail Running
Nearby City: Winthrop
Distance: 18
Elevation Gain: 3,700 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 5.5 hours
Season: July through October
Local Contacts: North Cascades National Park
Local Maps: North Cascades National Park, Green Trails #50, USGS Washington Pass
Driving Directions: Directions to Rainy Pass to Cutthroat Lake

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Apr 2018