Pasayten Wilderness

Pasayten Wilderness

Pasayten Wilderness encompasses 531,000 acres, skirting more than 50 miles of Canada's border and encompassing the crest of the Cascades. The Wilderness encompasses almost 150 peaks over 7,500 feet in elevation, 160 or more bodies of water, and at least as many waterways, some turbulent enough to have carved sharp canyons with sheer walls.

Rugged ridges in the west flatten into more open plateaus toward the east, with deep drainages on both sides. Its diverse forest changes from fir, cedar, western hemlock in the west to fir, pine, and larch in the east. This region provides habitat for deer, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, the gray wolf, and is home to the largest population of lynx in the Lower 48. Snow falls between October and May, and the hard packed snow may block the high western-side trails sometimes until early August. Eastern-side trails are usually free of snow by early July.

More than 600 miles of trails provide access to the Wilderness, many of them deceptively gentle at the start and become progressively labor-intensive as they climb up multiple switchbacks into the higher elevations. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses the area north-south for about 32 miles. The Boundary Trail begins in the southeast corner of the Wilderness and meanders north and west for over 73 miles near the Canadian border to eventually join the Pacific Crest Trail. 

Help protect your wilderness by following wilderness regulations and using Leave No Trace principles.

At a Glance

Permit Info: Wilderness permits are required. The self-issuing permits are free and are available at trailheads and Forest Service Ranger Stations.
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply
Closest Towns: Winthrop, WA
Passes: Some trailheads on the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest require a valid recreation pass. Check our Recreation Passes and Permits page for details.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:
  • Methow Valley Ranger District -- (509) 996-4003 
  • Tonasket Ranger District -- (509) 486-2186

General Information

General Notes:

Other Trails within Pasayten Wilderness:

Topo Maps

Ashnola Mountain, Ashnola Pass, Azurite Peak, Billy Goat Mountain, Castle Peak, Coleman Peak, Crater Mountain, Frosty Creek, Jack Mountain, Lost Peak, McLeod Mountain, Mount Barney, Mount Lago, Pasayten Peak, Robinson Mountain, Shull Mountain, Skagit Peak, Slate Peak, Sweetgrass Butte, Tatoosh Buttes. Download free U.S. Forest Service Topo maps.

Buy maps online

Go to the National Forest Store.

Go to for online maps and other important Wilderness information.


The Pasayten Wilderness is located north of Winthrop in the north-central region of Washington state. 

Trail/Trailheads that access Pasayten Wilderness:


Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Viewing Wildlife

Viewing Plants

Viewing Scenery