Pacific Crest Trail: Harts Pass to Rainy Pass
ElevationAscent: 4,484' 1,367 m
Descent: -5,765' -1,757 m
High: 7,003' 2,135 m
Low: 4,275' 1,303 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 26% (14°)
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“A fabulous 30-mile run along one of the most beautiful sections of the PCT in Washington State.”— matt huston
The total distance from Harts Pass could be 33 or 30 miles. Total distance from the PCT trailhead near Meadows Campground could be 29 or 30 miles. We found different distances depending on our information sources.
The run can be sunny and warm, so get an early start. Finish your day eating and drinking at the Mazama Store in Mazama, WA, and, of course, cool off in the Methow River up the road from the store!
In late summer, portions of the trail can be dry. First water might be after 8 miles, from Brushy Creek. Then continuous water along Methow River until two miles before Methow Pass at about 15 miles. From there, water can be scarce until you reach the descent to Rainy Pass from Cutthroat Pass. We ran the trail in early August, 2016, and found water between Methow Pass and Granite Pass. In early season (June, July) you will likely encounter snow on portions of this run. Check PCT hiking guides for more into on where the snow might be encountered. Washington Trails Association site is a good one.
The trail condition is quite good. A few areas are overgrown with grass and flowers(!) and only the final section, from Cutthroat Pass down to Rainy Pass, is rooty and boney, because it is the most heavily traveled by runners and hikers.
We camped at the Meadows Campground near Harts Pass and started from near there, shaving a couple miles off the run. We encountered snow in one area between Tatie Peak and Glacier Pass, but only about 50 feet of it. No problem.
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