Enjoy thru-hiking? Check out DNR’s Pacific Northwest Trail connections

Did you know that when you recreate on DNR-managed lands, you also have access to a trail that starts in the jagged Rockies of Glacier National Park and traverses six mountain ranges before ending in the wilderness coast of Olympic National Park?

Samish Bay Overlook
View of Samish Bay from the Samish Overlook. Photo / DNR.

The, 1,200-mile Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) is regarded as one of the most difficult of the United States’ 11 national scenic trails, yet visitors by the thousands flock to it and it’s many points of interest.

About 60 miles of the PNT cross DNR-managed land, including the Blanchard Forest near Bow, Harry Osborne Forest near Sedro-Woolley, and the Loomis State Forest near Loomis. By the beginning of the trail that leads to Oyster Dome, thru-hikers are nearly 900 miles into their journey from Montana when they catch their first glimpse of salt water.

Rigorous yet scenic, REI has called the PNT, “arguably the most breathtaking thru-hike in the country.” The trail passes through three national parks, seven national forests, six Wilderness areas, and countless state lands before reaching the Pacific Ocean shoreline. Hikers may see wolves, bears, elk, caribou, and mountain lions; or visit quaint mountain towns that act as resupply stepping stones across Montana, Idaho, and Washington.

Harry Osborne trails, popular for horseback riding, connect with the PNT. Photo/ DNR.
Harry Osborne trails, popular for horseback riding, connect with the PNT. Photo/ DNR.

Ronald Strickland, the man behind the dream, imagined that the PNT would provide an important connection between America’s scenic trails. In 1977, he formed the Pacific Northwest Trail Association in order to see the trail succeed. In 2009, the trail was officially designated a national scenic trail.

Today, the Pacific Northwest Trail Association works closely with the U.S. Forest Service, DNR, and other land management agencies to protect and maintain the trail. The trail passes through national parks and forests, wilderness areas, state parks, and bureau of land management lands, too. DNR staff are proud to be a part of such partnership efforts which not only continue Strickland’s dream, but support the dreams of so many thru-hikers who challenge themselves and experience Washington on the PNT.

Learn more
For more information about the PNT, visit the association’s website.

To learn more about the DNR lands the PNT passes through, visit our website.

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