Begin at Cold Springs Campground, the last place along the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) where westbound thru-hikers don’t see a road for more than 160 miles! You’ll start on the Chopaka Mountain Trail, heading northwest toward Goodenough Peak, and attaining an elevation in excess of 7,000 feet. You will stay in the high country, rising and descending across the 7,000-foot mark for the next 40 miles. From Goodenough Peak, the PNT heads west, using Long Draw Trail 340 to Horseshoe Pass, where it joins the Boundary Trail 533, and then wends below several higher-than 7,500-foot summits before continuing west over Scheelite Pass. At the foot of Wolframite Mountain, you will encounter a historic mining camp. Two cabins here provide shelter from the elements if needed. From the camp, ascend Apex Pass and enjoy dramatic views of Cathedral Peak.
The trail climbs over Cathedral Pass, and then drops into the scenic Cathedral Lakes Basin. Just beyond this area, the Diamond Creek megafire burned through the next 22 miles of trail in 2017. Expect navigation challenges and slow forward progress until the area can be rehabilitated. At Bunker Hill, hikers will emerge from the Diamond Creek fire perimeter, and hike southwest toward the Pasayten Airstrip; a relic of pre-wilderness days. From the airstrip, proceed northwest to join the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) at Castle Pass. From here, the PNT and PCT share the next 13 miles south to Holman Pass. This is some of the very finest hiking on the length of either trail! At Holman Pass, the PNT turns west on Devils Ridge Trail 752. Enjoy views of Jack Mountain from Devil’s Dome, and then descend toward Ross Lake. From here, walk clockwise around the lake, using the East Bank Trail, Happy Panther Trail, and Ross Dam Trail to reach the Ross Dam trailhead on Highway 20.