Mount Margaret Backcountry Update

November30, 2018

Road and Trail Access Information

  • Winter snows have started. Snow down to 3,000 ft. Be prepared for winter conditions.
  • Lakes Trail , South Coldwater and Norway Pass trailheads are open, HOWEVER the South Coldwater Trailhead lies about 3/4 of a mile beyond the Highway 504 closure, so hikers will have to park at Hummocks Trail and walk in. Johnston Ridge Observatory is closed for the season and Highway 504 is gated at milepost 45.
  • Forest Roads 26 and 99 are open.  However, the north section of Forest Road 26 is closed. Access Norway Pass from Forest Road 99 and take Forest Road 26 north.
  • Trails and campsites in the Mount Margaret Backcountry now have snow and ice; conditions can change rapidly at high elevations.

MMBC Conditions 2018

Do not put trash in the composting toilets.  Practice Leave No Trace and pack out your trash!

  • Boundary Trail #1: Washouts near Whitter Ridge Trail #214, passable.  Washout just above Norway Pass may not be suitable for all hikers. Steep snow covered slopes, sloughing in places between Norway Pass and Johnstone Ridge.
  • Lakes Trail #211: Washouts below Snow Lake, sloughing and brushy in places.
  • There have been reports of cougar and bear sightings along the Lakes Trail.  Please visit the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife website on safety with Cougars and Bears.
  • Hikers should be prepared for sudden changes in weather and terrain conditions.  Recent rains have caused the Boundary Trail to slough in places.
  • Fires are not allowed.
  • Whittier Ridge Trail #214:  Due to steep and uneven terrain this trail is recommended only for the very experienced hikers.  Trail #214 from the Boundary Trail meets the Lakes Trail on the east side of Ridge and old section of trail is washed out on the west side.  Please stay to the east.
  • Trails in the Mount Margaret Backcountry (MMBC) are rugged and infrequently maintained.  In addition to patchy snow, expect trees across the trails, uneven footing, and small washouts.
  • Hikers may encounter wildlife in the Mount Margaret Backcountry, please respect wildlife and keep your distance.
  • Hikers may also encounter hunters during late summer and falls seasons.
  • Camp maps are located under general information on the MMBC web page.

Camping and Permits

Camping in the Mount Margaret Backcountry requires a permit.  Permits are available by advanced reservation only at Mount Margaret Backcountry Permit ReservationsIn addition, each group visiting the backcountry must possess a valid Northwest Forest Pass when parking at most trailhead access points.  Passes are available at local sporting goods stores and Forest Service offices throughout the Northwest. 

  • Permits can only be obtained in advance online.  In March, 2019, reservations for the 2019 season will be available.  Reservations can be made through the Internet at www.recreation.gov or by toll-free telephone (1-877-444-6777) or TDD (1-877-TDD-6777).  There is a $10.00 non-refundable reservation fee.
  • Permits are required year round.
  • Camping is allowed only in designated campgrounds. No dispersed camping.   There are eight different campgrounds located in MMBC. All allow 4 people per site, with the exception of Ridge Camp, which allows up to 8 people.
  • Dogs, bicycles, stock, and fires are prohibited.




https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/giffordpinchot/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd492501