Although the Forest Service considers this trail to be the primary route through this wilderness, trail maintenance does not always support this claim. So be prepared for bushwhacking and route-finding in some sections.
Water sources along the route can be scarce and unpredictable, so carry as much as you can with you and refill at every opportunity.
The trail from the southern trailhead to beyond Falcon Butte and from Horse Camp to Hole-in-the-Ground were burned by the 2017 High Cascades Complex Fire. The tread may be eroded and hard to find in these sections, and you should be on guard for the possibility of falling trees. It's a good idea to check with the Forest Service about trail conditions and closures.
The usual start is the southern trailhead on Forest Road 68, near Huckleberry Gap. From here, it's 3.2 miles, past a signed junction with Cougar Butte Trail #1432, to an unsigned junction with the Abbott Butte Trail #1470A
(to an abandoned—but still standing—fire lookout). The trail circles to the west of Abbott Butte, becomes much less distinct, then descends to a small pond below Elephants Head. Continuing north, the trail can be overgrown and hard to follow until it reaches the signed junction with the now abandoned Golden Stairs Trail #1092, three miles beyond Abbott Butte.
You soon reach Yellow Jacket Camp, at an intersection with Forest Road 6515-700. The #1470 then follows an old skid road for 0.5 mile, passes two springs which may have water, then climbs the south slope of Anderson Mountain, past a junction with the Sandstone Trail #1436, and out into a huge meadow on the north side of the mountain—there are excellent views here.
Continuing north, the #1470 passes a signed junction with the abandoned Anderson Camp Trail #1075
, then travels on along a rocky ridge, with expansive views to the east, west, and southwest. At 13.4 miles from the trailhead, the #1470 passes a junction with the Pup Prairie Trail #1434 and soon therafter reaches Forest Road 6515-530, which it follows up past Horse Camp to a junction with the Acker Divide Trail #1437. Here the road continues up to Hershberger Lookout, while the #1470 continues north, again as a singletrack, past a junction first with the Fish Lake Trail #1570
and then the Rocky Rim Trail #1572
From the Rocky Rim junction, the #1470 passes through a saddle onto the eastern face of Weaver Mountain, then descends to Hole-in-the-Ground, a large marshy meadow. As it passes along the meadow's southeast edge, the #1470 makes somewhat confusing junctions with the Buck Canyon Trail #1046
and the Hole-in-the-Ground Trail #1047 before making a strenuous 1 mile climb to Forest Road 3700-870.
This road is now the trail, so follow it for 1 mile to just past Happy Camp, where the #1470 resumes off the left of the road. Go northeast down the valley, past a junction with the Whitehorse Meadows Trail #1477, then up (through a recently burned area) past Buckneck Mountain and down to FR 37. The section from here to where the #1470 ends at Three Lakes Camp on FR 3703 is outside the wilderness and open to motorcycles.
This trail traverses some huge meadows (formerly used by sheepherders) that offer a spectacular display of wildflowers from mid-June until mid-August.