The Pilot Ridge Loop offers great views of the Glacier Peak Wilderness and is quite runnable! Wyatt, Anthony, Sammy, and I headed out to run the loop counterclockwise this August. The loop is approximately 29 miles and has just under 8,000′ of climbing. Most of that climbing comes getting up to Pilot Ridge (if you do the loop CCW), which is a nicely graded climb with switchbacks.
We started around 7:30 AM, hoping that some morning cloud cover would burn off and give us the expansive views we hoped for. It was pretty cloudy up Pilot Ridge all the way to Blue Lake. Sammy and I made a wrong turn at Blue Lake and added on a mile, but it was just our mistake following the PCT too long.
Anthony and Wyatt split off from Sammy and I to tag on some peaks to the loop; Sammy and I just wanted to stick to the loop itself. The run became super cruisy and runnable once we got past Blue Lake and onto the ridgeline towards Dishpan Gap. We grabbed water at Blue Lake because we knew it would be sparse until we got to White Pass.
Sure enough, the clouds parted later in the morning as we neared White Pass and we got amazing views of wildflowers, Glacier Peak, and the vast valleys of the Napeequah River. This zone is really amazing and I need to come back and spend more time here.
Once we got to White Pass, I split off from Sammy and started to cruise my way down to the Sauk River. I rolled my ankle in the last 2 miles, which was a bummer, but it wasn’t too too bad. I was able to run it in.
Overall, I finished in 6 hours 54 minutes. I think this loop can be done MUCH faster by people with more running prowess than me. Aside from time, this loop is AMAZING because:
- Wildflowers! August is a great time to see them in bloom.
- VIEWS! Save this one for a clear day because DAMN it’s pretty.
- Plenty of options for water.
- VERY runnable trail…for most of if not the entire route.
Here’s my Strava activity: https://www.strava.com/activities/7633645086