Mt. Adams (known as Pahto or Klickitat to ancestral tribes) is the second-highest of the PNW Cascades Volcanoes.  Located about halfway between Mt. Ranier in the Seattle area and Mt. Hood in the Portland area, this volcano often gets overlooked. The Pacific Crest Trail flanks the west side of the mountain, while the east of the peak is contained by the Yakama Nation.  There are only a few trails in the Mt. Adams area (Tract-D) of the Yakama Nation, and none complete the loop.  So to get around the mountain requires bushwacking or glacier climbing.  The Yakama Nation has recently closed this section due to COVID-19, so please check with the website about closures.  Permits are available at campsites.


Flowers on Mt. Adams in the Yakama Nation section (Phil Brundage)


The quickest way is to stay on the glaciers, which is how the fastest know time was set.  Either route starts at the Cold Creek Campground at the south part of the mountain near Trout Lake, WA.  Using the trails and glaciers on Tract-D is approximately 37 miles with 6600′ feet of climbing.  This distance and elevation my not scare anyone, but be prepared for a long day as crossing glaciers and moraines can be very slow.  Have a route planned and a mapping app before starting. Be aware that Big Muddy Creek can be a dangerous crossing.  The high point of the route is Sunrise Camp at 8300′.  There is a good chance of seeing mountain goats and marmots on this side.  One of the highlights of the route is Devil’s Garden, a rock garden that looks like it’s from another planet.  Views of the Goat Rocks and Mt. Ranier are spectacular from here.  Look for the faint Highline Trail down from Rock Garden to continue on trails along the west side.`


The blue route uses trails and glaciers, while the red route is what was used on glaciers to set the FKT

CCW Route from Cold Springs Campground:

Up South Climb

Right- Round the Mountain

Left – Bird Meadow

Left – Trail of Flowers

Left – Scramble on East Side through Tract-D Yakama Nation (Sunrise Camp & Devil’s Garden)

Left – Highline Trail

Left -PCT

Left – Round the Mountain

Right- South Climb to Cold Springs Campground


Pacific Crest Trail flanks the western half of Mt. Adams (Phil Brundage)