The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail is a 1200-mile hiking trail running from the Continental Divide in Montana (connecting it with the Continental Divide Trail), through the northern panhandle of Idaho, to the Pacific coast of Washington's Olympic Peninsula.
It traverses the Rocky Mountains, Selkirk Mountains, Pasayten Wilderness, North Cascades, Olympic Mountains, and Wilderness Coast. The trail crosses three National Parks and seven National Forests.
The trail was designated a national scenic trail in 2009. The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers the trail. It forms part of the 6,875-mile Great Western Loop. The Pacific Northwest Trail is considered to be one of the most challenging trails in the National Scenic Trail system. The trail is growing in popularity due to its outstanding scenic qualities and challenging terrain, with an increasing number of hikers every year.
Description: As it enters Washington east of Metaline Falls the trail wanders along the Kettle Crest, through the mining and forested areas of North Central Washington and into the rangelands and orchards of the Okanogan River Valley. From the city of Oroville, Washington, and along the Similkameen River to Palmer Lake, the trail begins its ascent into a large wilderness area, the Pasayten Wilderness. The Pasayten, coupled with the adjacent North Cascades National Park, provides some of the most remote country available in the Lower 48 United States. The trail continues through the Mt. Baker Wilderness, then federal, state, and private timberlands and down to the shores of Puget Sound. Along the dikes and through the farmlands of Skagit County, the trail crosses Fidalgo Island across the bridge at Deception Pass State Park and over Whidbey Island to the Washington State Ferry Terminal at Keystone.
After a thirty-minute ferry ride the trail picks up in the quaint seaside community of Port Townsend, Washington and the confluence of three trails: the Larry Scott Trail, the Olympic Discovery Trail, and the Pacific Northwest Trail. The trails circumnavigate the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula and Discovery Bay before going their separate directions, with the PNT turning southwest through the Olympic National Forest, Buckhorn Wilderness and into Olympic National Park. As the trail leaves the park and travels along the Bogachiel River it finds its way through the northern end of the Hoh Rain Forest to the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Hoh River. The trail turns north and wanders along the Pacific Coast before entering the Quileute Indian Reservation at LaPush before completing its westward journey at Cape Alava.
More information: The Flathead Beacon - Kalispell, Montana and The Pacific National Trail Organization Website