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Backpacking Trips on WTA-Improved Trails

Visit a remote trail that WTA's volunteer vacation and backcountry response teams have recently maintained.

Spending your backpacking trip climbing over fallen trees and fighting back brush is a drag. Luckily, WTA crews are coming to the rescue, clearing trails across Washington so you can enjoy smooth sailing on your next backpacking trip. 

Our volunteer vacation and backcountry response teams head to the backcountry so they can spend their days fixing those trails that otherwise might not see maintenance. The following trails have been given special treatment by the volunteer crew, and make for great, early-summer backpacking adventures. As you hike, see if you can tell where our volunteers have leveled the tread, built steps or cut back brush.

Want to spend a few days or a week working for better trails in a beautiful backcountry place? Sign up for a volunteer vacation or backcountry response team to learn the ropes, and make a difference on the trail.

    Central Cascades


    Location: Entiat Mountains/Lake Chelan 
    Mileage: 14.7 miles, one-way
    Elevation Gain: 2,320 feet

    A crew works to cut a fallen burnt tree on the Entiat River trail. Photo by Patrick Kern.
    Wildfires cause a lot of damage to trails. Here, volunteers cut through a burnt tree that has fallen onto the trail. Photo by Patrick Kern.

    The Entiat River Trail has seen extensive wildfire damage over the last couple of decades, with the Tinpan fire in 2006 and the Wolverine Fire in 2015. As part of WTA’s Lost Trails Found campaign, volunteers have been working hard to clear the trail of dead snags that have fallen across the tread. This trail is a main access point to the Glacier Peak Wilderness and opens the door to many other trails in this area, including the Ice Creek Trail, which was also worked on by volunteers. Learn more about our work in the Entiat.

    > Plan your hike on the Entiat River Trail using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    East Fork Foss - Necklace Valley

    Location: Stevens Pass - West
    Mileage: 18.0 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 3,400 feet

    Volunteers take a break to snap a photo at a log they're clearing at East Fork Foss - Necklace Valley. Photo by Brandon Tigner.
    Volunteers take a break from work at a log they've been clearing at East Fork Foss - Necklace Valley. Photo by Brandon Tigner.

    If you’re seeking beautiful alpine lakes (appropriately named after actual gems), a trail that will get your heart pumping and wildflowers over the summer, East Fork Foss - Necklace Valley can give you all of that. Along the way, hikers have to navigate a potentially sketchy crossing of the East Fork Foss River, and WTA has previously worked on clearing obstructions on the crossing, as well as blowdowns on the trail.

    WTA will continue work on the trail this summer, with backcountry work parties removing logs and debris from the trail to get ready for peak season.

    > Plan your visit to East Fork Foss - Necklace Valley using WTA's Hiking Guide

    North Cascades

    Boulder River

    Location: Mountain Loop Highway
    Mileage: 8.6 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 700 feet

    Volunteer works on cutting a log that has blown down onto the trail at Boulder River. Photo by Matthew Christian.
    A volunteer works on cutting a large blowdown on the trail, with even more blowdowns to clear behind them. Photo by Matthew Christian.

    With relatively mild elevation gain along a rushing river and waterfalls along the way, Boulder River is popular with both hikers and backpackers. As such, WTA returns every year to make sure it’s ready for the summer traffic. The work includes log-outs and clearing debris, as well as setting rock steps in the trail. Crews have worked to repair the trail in places, with solutions like creating rock walls to support the trail. 

    > Plan your visit to Boulder River using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    snowy lakes

    Location: North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
    Mileage: 23.0 miles
    Elevation Gain: 2,700 feet

    Pro-crew members hiking out from Snowy Lakes after a week of trail work in the backcountry at Snowy Lakes. Photo by Ginevra Moore.
    Our pro crews can work on longer work parties in more remote locations to get work done that is otherwise difficult to do. Here, our pro crew hikes out from Snowy Lakes after a long week in the backcountry. Photo by Ginevra Moore.

    Our professional Lost Trails Found trail maintenance crews contribute heavily to WTA’s Lost Trails Found campaign by working on longer backcountry trips, allowing for trail work to be done in very remote places in Washington. One of these such projects is an offshoot trail of the Pacific Crest Trail. Our pro crew built a stretch of new trail at Snowy Lakes while decommissioning stretches of the old trail. They also installed rock stairs, dams and steps in and along the trail. 

    In 2022, the Lost Trails Found professional crew program expanded to two crews, with projects planned in Okanogan-Wenatchee, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, Umatilla and Gifford Pinchot national forests.

    > Plan your visit to Snowy Lakes using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Snoqualmie Region

    Goldmyer Hot Springs

    Location: North Bend Area
    Mileage: 24.0 miles, roundtrip

    A crew works to break down a large trunk blocking part of the trail. Photo by Doug Murray.
    Winter can cause blowdowns and debris to make a trail difficult to navigate. Here, crew members tackle a large log blocking the trail. Photo by Doug Murray. 

    After the winter season, WTA has made an effort to improve the trail and clear debris on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie trail to Goldmyer Hot Springs. The crew has cleared fallen trees and vegetation that had been encroaching onto the trail. Existing drains and trail structures like boardwalks were cleared and new ones were created where they were needed. Goldmyer Hot Springs trail is trekked all year by hikers, and keeping well-used trails safe is important to WTA. 

    > Plan your visit to Goldmyer Hot Springs using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Hyas Lake

    Location: North Bend Area
    Mileage: 4.0 miles
    Elevation Gain: 100 feet

    Backcountry response team trail work crew removing logs from the Hyas Lake trail. Photo by Lisa Black.
    Some volunteer backcountry crews spend many long hours cutting and hauling logs to clear the trail, like here on the Hyas Lake trail. Photo by Lisa Black.

    Hyas Lake is a relatively flat and short hike to a beautiful lake. Additionally, because many continue along the trail to Marmot Lake or Jade Lake, the trail to Hyas Lake is very well-trafficked, especially in summer once the snow has melted. WTA has worked to clear logs and debris and getting rid of loose rocks and roots to smooth out the trail so hikers can have a fun and safe experience. Our work also includes improving drainage, particularly around the time of snowmelt in the spring and early summer. 

    > Plan your visit to Hyas Lake using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Eastern Washington

    SALMO-PRIEST LOOP and Shedroof Divide

    Location: Selkirk Range
    Mileage: 19.0 miles, roundtrip / 22.8 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 3,400 feet / 5,300 feet

    Fallen tree on Salmo Basin Trail in the Salmo-Priest Loop. Photo by Todd Dunfield.
    Fallen trees can cause trails like the Salmo-Priest Loop trail to be difficult or impossible for hikers to navigate. Photo by Todd Dunfield.

    Another adopted trail, the Salmo-Priest is hidden away in the corner of Washington between Idaho and Canada, just about as remote as it gets. Here you'll find old-growth and wildflowers and views from Shedroof Divide out over the Selkirk Mountains. WTA crews have put years of work into keeping this trail logged out, so both people and horses can enjoy this gorgeous area. 

    As it intersects the Salmo-Priest Loop trail, similar work gets done on Shedroof Divide trail. The trail is very popular for hikers and backpackers alike, and WTA trail crews have worked hard to clear logs and overgrown vegetation so adventurers can continue enjoying the trail. 

    > Plan your hike on the Salmo-Priest Loop using WTA's Hiking Guide
    > Plan your visit to Shedroof Divide using WTA's Hiking Guide

    Bead Lake

    Location: Selkirk Range
    Mileage: 11.4 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 400 feet

    Two volunteers on a backcountry response team trail crew repairing the trail after a fallen tree left a divot in the tread. Photo by Jim Fitzgerald.
    Two volunteers on a backcountry response team trail crew repair the trail after a fallen tree left a large divot in the tread. Photo by Jim Fitzgerald.

    The Bead Lake trail takes hikers along the edge of the undeveloped eastern half of Bead Lake through old-growth along the lakeshore, with several different places to set up camp along the way. As a relatively flat trail, it’s a great choice for trail runners, backpackers and hikers of all different levels. 

    Our crews have cleared logs and overgrowth from the trail to make sure the trail is safe for hikers. A larger project was filling a hole created by a large 10-foot-wide fallen tree, which required building a rock wall to rehabilitate that hole. 

    > Plan your visit to Bead Lake using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Crowell Ridge

    Location: Selkirk Range
    Mileage: 8.4 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 2,700 feet

    Backcountry response team trail crew poses for a photo at Crowell Ridge. Photo by Holly Weiler.
    A backcountry response team poses for a photo at Crowell Ridge on a long day of trail work. Photo by Holly Weiler.

    Not for the faint of heart, Crowell Ridge is both difficult to reach, due to rough roads and distance, and difficult to climb, due to the steep grade. Two trailheads allow for either out-and-back or thru-hikes. At the top, hikers are greeted with panoramic views of the area.

    Given that the hike itself is difficult enough without obstructions, WTA’s backcountry crews have cleared fallen trees and thorny thickets and worked on fixing places on the trail where the tread had begun to disappear, making it much easier for hikers to navigate the trail.

    > Plan your visit to Crowell Ridge using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Olympic Peninsula


    Location: Hood Canal
    Mileage: 10.6 miles (or longer)
    Elevation Gain: 2,300 feet

    Volunteers take a break after sawing through many thick blowdowns on the Duckabush River trail. Photo by Al Mashburn.
    After sawing through many large blowdowns on the Duckabush River trail, volunteers take a break. Photo by Al Mashburn.

    Another adopted trail, WTA has been working on the Duckabush for nearly 10 years, repairing damage from a 2011 wildfire that ravaged the trail. Burned trees still fall each winter, so each spring, we return to remove those trees and repair the tread. That means hikers can amble through old-growth groves, which muffle the thundering waters of the Duckabush River, on their way to the deep backcountry and lush forests that define this part of the peninsula. Learn more about our work on the Duckabush.

    > Plan your trip to the Duckabush using WTA's Hiking Guide


    Location: Hood Canal
    Mileage: 5.0 miles, roundtrip 
    Elevation Gain: 400 feet

    Three volunteers push a segment of a log using their feet. Photo by Dawn Rorvik.
    Some tasks are just too big for a single person, so it's great to have a team. On this all-women's BCRT at Upper Grey Wolf River, three volunteers work together to push this large log away using their feet. Photo by Dawn Rorvik.  

    This low-key Olympic Peninsula river amble makes for a serene day hike or a backpacking trip. But all that calm is the result of hard work by volunteers. WTA crews working in 2021 and 2022 cleared the trail from Deer Park down to Three Forks, on to Graywolf Camp, down to the park boundary, and up to the junction with Cedar Lake way trail. Now its ready for you to take a hike (on it)!

    > Plan your hike on the Upper Gray Wolf River using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Lower South Fork Skokomish River

    Location: Olympia
    Mileage: 8.5 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 800 feet

    Volunteers on an all-womens BCRT crew work on clearing brush and logs off the trail at Lower South Fork Skokomish River. Photo by Dawn Rorvik.
    Volunteers on an all-women's BCRT crew clear brush and fallen logs off the Lower South Fork Skokomish River trail. Photo by Dawn Rorvik.

    Over the last year, several WTA work parties working with our partners Back Country Horsemen of Washington  have worked at Lower South Fork Skokomish River to help it bear the heavy usage it gets. Among the many projects our crews have worked on: clearing hundreds of logs from miles of this trail and the three spurs along the way, fixing up and creating new drainage structures, repairing the tread, decommissioning social trails, realigning existing trail and building structures to strengthen the trail. 

    Several hikers have come across our volunteers working on the Lower South Fork Skokomish River trail, and we’re always happy to see hikers enjoying the trails we work hard to maintain. 

    > Plan your visit to Lower South Fork Skokomish River using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Mount Rainier Area

    Crow Lake Way

    Location: Chinook Pass - Highway 410
    Mileage: 12.4 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 3,340 feet

    All-women's BCRT crew getting ready for a week of trail work at Crow Lake Way with Mount Rainier in the background. Photo by Gwen Tollefson.
    All women's BCRT crew getting ready for a week of trail work at Crow Lake Way. Photo by Gwen Tollefson.

    Over the last several years, Crow Lake Way has endured its fair share of natural disasters, including a Miner Creek flood and the 2017 Norse Peak Fire. More recently, WTA has had crews clear logs, burnt trees and debris from the trail and move the trail to bypass a cluster of large blowdowns. As a result, the trail is now much easier for hikers to navigate, so be sure to check out Crow Lake Way if you’re in the area. 

    > Plan your hike on Crow Lake Way using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    Southwest Washington

    East fork lewis River

    Location: Lewis River Region
    Mileage: 8.0 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet

    Volunteers clear brush on the East Fork Lewis River trail. Photo by Justin Brimer.
    A couple of volunteers on a day work party clear brush off the East Fork Lewis River trail. Photo by Justin Brimer.

    WTA’s Lost Trails Found campaign seeks to put work into at-risk trails so they can continue to be safely hiked by the outdoor community, and the East Fork Lewis River trail has historically been a Lost Trails Found priority. Because it’s still a work in progress, the trail is relatively rugged and primitive, making for a remote-feeling experience. In the past, both day work and backcountry crews have spent time clearing and rebenching the trail. 

    > Plan your visit to East Fork Lewis River using WTA’s Hiking Guide

    South Cascades

    Cramer Lake

    Location: White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley
    Mileage: 3.4 miles, one-way
    Elevation Gain: 950 feet

    Volunteers on a trail crew work on building a turnpike on the trail to Cramer Lake. Photo by Jim Langdon.
    Volunteers work on building a new turnpike on the trail to Cramer Lake. Photo by Jim Langdon.

    The trail to Cramer Lake is not very long or steep, which makes it a perfect beginning backpacking hike. WTA has made multiple improvements to the trail, particularly to boost safety, such as removing large roots. Older damaged wooden structures like were removed, and newer structures like turnpikes to stabilize trail were built. Drains that were becoming too muddy to be useful were cleared out and refilled with stone and gravel, and other drainage structures like culverts were built. An alternate trail that was being used was taken out and the original trail was fixed to return the trail to its initial path. 

    > Plan your visit to Cramer Lake using WTA's Hiking Guide

    Muddy Meadows/Foggy Flat

    Location: Mount Adams Area
    Mileage: 11.6 miles, roundtrip
    Elevation Gain: 1,710 feet

    Volunteers clad in bug protection working on clearing brush at Muddy Meadows/Foggy Flat. Photo by Gary Zink.
    Since most of our BCRT trips happen in the summer, some trips may have to contend with swarms of bugs. Good thing these volunteers had their bug protection! Photo by Gary Zink.

    Our crews have done a lot of work on the Muddy Meadows/Foggy Flat trail, making improvements that should hold up for years. WTA’s huge efforts included repairing the trail where it was falling apart, building new trail, moving trail obstructions like rocks, fixing drainage structures and clearing debris and overgrowth, all of which have made this trail much more enjoyable to hike. Check out the work WTA has done on the trail while taking in beautiful expansive views of Mount Adams on this trail this summer.

    > Plan your visit to Muddy Meadows/Foggy Flat using WTA’s Hiking Guide