Cutthroat Pass via Pacific Crest Trail
This is a moderate one way trail to Cutthroat Pass in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. From Rainy Pass on Highway 20, the hike takes off in a lovely forest of primarily fir, and follows Porcupine creek on a gentle grade. There are multiple water sources at small stream crossings. The trail then switchbacks more steeply to arrive at an alpine area and views down porcupine creek and into the Methow River valley. This hike is nice any time of year, however in October and early November the larches are turning bright yellow and are spectacular. The area is a bit too dry to have heather and wildflowers earlier in the year. As this is near the northern terminus of the PTCA you may encounter thru hikers at this time of year. The trail quality is excellent and grades are fairly gradual. This hike could be extended further north on the PTCA or can be made into a one day thru hike by going over the pass to Cutthroat Lake.
The trailhead is marked "PTCA North" and takes off from the left at Rainy Pass as you are heading east on highway 20. There is a very short but pot holed road to a parking lot. Don't mistake this parking for the Maple Pass loop trail parking directly across Highway 20 which may be full beyond capacity and down the highway. There are vault toilets at the trailhead. A forest pass is required. Note that Highway 20 closes for the winter generally in mid-November
This is a great hike for children. The trail is in excellent shape and not too strenuous and the sense of accomplishment as one crosses the top is a great incentive. Rated 8 for children for its somewhat longer distance. Would expect an enthusiastic fourth or fifth grader could enjoy it.
Sights to See
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