The 566,057 acre Glacier Peak Wilderness is located in the northern Cascade Mountains of Washington State bordering Stephen Mather Wilderness to the north and Henry M. Jackson Wilderness to the south. At 10,541 feet, Glacier Peak is the dominant geologic feature of the area. It’s the most remote major volcanic peak in the Cascade Range and has more active glaciers than any other place in the lower forty-eight states. Glacier Peak is a volcanic cone of basalt, pumice, and ash which erupted during periods of heavy glaciation.
The area is characterized by heavily forested stream courses, steep-sided valleys, and rugged glacier covered peaks. Forest vegetation is comprised of true firs, spruce, and hemlock, as well as stands of pine on its eastern slopes. Various species of wildlife inhabit the area and include deer, elk, bear, mountain goat, cougar, marten, and lynx. This area also provides habitat for wolverines and gray wolves. The primary fishery is cutthroat trout. Numerous creeks cut through the valleys from their sharp drainages. Other bodies of water include more than 200 lakes, many unnamed and tremendously difficult to access. Snows can accumulate to depths of 45 feet on the west side of the crest.
The 450 or so miles on as many as 100 trails vary from relatively easy hiking on maintained footpaths to strenuous and seldom used old animal trails. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) follows the crest through the area for about 60 miles. The Suiattle River Trail acts as the main route from the west side, a pathway that travels 10.8 miles and joins the PCT. Above timberline, the land opens up for cross-country travel. The Ptarmigan Traverse, probably the most famous un-trailed route, combines rock climbing and glacier travel across 15 miles of the northern section of the Wilderness.
With routes on 140 peaks and faces with rates among the best in the United States, this Wilderness is a popular destination for mountain climbers’. Blue Mountain’s 700-foot granite face routes are rated as high as 5.10. Other faces in the Wilderness exceed 1,000 feet.
Note: Due to the popularity of the area there are special restrictions in place throughout the Wilderness in order preserve the ecological integrity of the region. Help protect your wilderness by following wilderness regulations and using Leave No Trace principles.
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At a Glance
||Due to flood damage the Suiattle River Road is closed to motorized vehicles at mile 12.5.
||Visitors are asked to sign the trailhead register.
||Wilderness regulations apply
Prohibited: Camping within 1/4 mile slope distance from the shoreline of Image Lake or within 200 feet of the shoreline of Holden Lake and Lyman Lake.
Prohibited: Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire, except self-contained, carry-in devices such as stoves within:
½ mile slope distance of Ice Lakes
1/4 mile slope distance of Image and Lake Byrne.
200 feet slope distance of Holden and Lyman Lake
above 4,000 feet on Lime Ridge
Some trails are closed to stock due to steep grades, inadequate design, lack of grazing or other factors.
||Leavenworth, Washington; Darrington, Washington
||Some trailheads require a valid recreation pass. Check our Recreation Passes and Permits page for details.
Trails/trailheads that access Glacier Peak Wilderness at Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Other trails within Glacier Peak Wilderness at Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest:
Agnes mountain, Benchmark Mountain, Cascade Pass, Clark Mountain, Dome Peak, Downey Mountain, Gamma Peak, Glacier Peak East, Glacier Peak West, Goode Mountain, Holden, Huckleberry Mountain, Illabot Peaks, Lime Mountain, Lucerne, Mount David, Mount Lyall, Mount Pugh, Pinnacle Mountain, Poe Mountain, Prairie Mountain, Saska Peak, Schaefer Lake, Sloan Peak, Snowking Mountain, Sonny Boy Lakes, Stehekin, Suiattle Pass, Trinity, White Chuck Mountain. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps here.
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