Start high and stay high on this stunning section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). When in season, wildflowers and huckleberries can be found in the alpine meadows along the trail. Water sources and established campsites are frequent on this stretch of the PCT.
From Harts Pass, follow the trail as it climbs away from the road. Just 1.2 miles from the trailhead, you’ll arrive at a camp and a stunning view of Ninetynine Basin, with Whistler Mine directly across from you.
Continue another 3.7 miles through Buffalo Pass and reach Windy Pass, about 5 miles from the trailhead at an elevation of 6,300 feet. Keep your eyes peeled here for mountain goats, coyotes, and other wildlife as you traverse the ridgelines. At Windy Pass you’ll enter the Pasayten Wilderness, and soon after you’ll be tracing the northeast flanks of Tamarack Peak—keep your eye out for larches here.
A mile from Tamarack Peak, venture through Foggy Pass and then through Jim Pass. It’s 7.5 miles from here to Holman Pass. At Jim Pass you’ll begin a traverse around Devils Backbone, a craggy mass capped by Jim Peak, at 7033 feet. You’ll also enjoy views of the Cascades, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Canada, and the surrounding Pasayten Wilderness.
The views continue as you ascend to 6100 feet, north of Jim Peak and the east edge of Devil’s Backbone, 4 miles from Jim Pass, then begin a switchbacking descent to Holman Pass at 5100 feet.
WTA Pro Tip: From Holman Pass, there are three options for further adventures, though most folks will require more than one day to complete them.
Did you bring your passport? Proceed straight ahead on the PCT — Canada is only 17.8 miles away. Or, you can make this a loop by heading towards the West Fork Pasayten River trail and completing the Seven Pass Loop. Alternately, you might turn left for Sky Pilot Pass, 2.5 miles away.