Pilot Ridge Trail 652


This trail is within Glacier Peak Wilderness. Follow the North Fork Sauk Trail 649 two miles and turn right (south) at the junction, crossing the North Fork Sauk River. There is no bridge here and crossing can be very difficult. This is also the last year-round water source until Blue Lakes.

In the next three miles gain 3,000 feet in a series of switchbacks. The trail follows the ridge before coming out of the trees and into meadows. On a clear day the view from the ridge is very rewarding, looking south to the Monte Cristo Peaks, Mt. Rainier and east to Glacier Peak.

At 10 miles a side trail to the east climbs one mile to the 6,712-foot summit of Johnson Mountain. The main trail reaches a junction at 10.5 miles. The left fork leads to the cliff-walled, 22-acre Upper Blue Lake at 5,500 feet that may remain frozen until mid-August. The right fork leads to three-acre Lower Blue Lake in 0.5 miles.

The right fork is the main trail, which ends at June Mountain at a junction with the Bald Eagle Trail 650. Follow Bald Eagle Trail east for 2.5 miles to Dishpan Gap at the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail 2000.

Make a loop trip by traveling north 6.5 miles on the PCT, through Indian Pass and White Pass, and hiking 8.5 miles down the North Fork Sauk Trail 649. The total length of the loop trip is 26 miles.    

Washington Trails Association

At a Glance

Usage: Medium
Best Season: Summer/Fall
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply. 
Closest Towns: Darrington, Washington
Passes: Recreation Passes may be used as a form of fee payment at the trailhead. 
Information Center: Check current conditions or call Darrington Ranger District office at 360-436-1155 or Verlot Public Service Center at 360-691-7791.

General Information


Access 1:
From the Darrington Ranger District office, take Mt. Loop Highway 20 approximately 17.0 miles to the Sloan Creek Road (Forest Service road 49) and turn left. Follow the road for 6.6 miles to the North Fork Sauk Trail 649.

Access 2:
From the Verlot Public Service Center (11 miles east of Granite Falls, WA), drive east along Mt. Loop Highway 26.5 miles to Sloan Creek Road (Forest Service road 49) and turn right. Drive 6.6 miles to the trailhead.

General Notes:


  • Darrington Ranger District
  • Green Trails: Sloan Peak 111, Glacier Peak 112, Benchmark Mountain 144

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Areas & Activities



  Area/Length : 
11 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
2,450 feet - 5,946 feet