Mt. Pugh Trail #644

Looking down the valley toward Darrington from Mount Pugh, photo by Scott Morris

Starting this hike, you know that forest service history is looming above you.  The first mile and a half is in cool forest, sometimes switchbacking upward and other times crossing the small streams cascading down the hillside.  Views are limited as the trail passes 3.4 - acre Lake Metan at elevation 2,800 feet.  There is a spring prior to reaching the lake which is your last water source along the trail. The trail then continues with long gradual switchbacks ascending to a small meadow at 3.5 miles. Mountain goats can frequently be seen on the upper slopes of the drainage.  Still in the forest the trail starts to steepen.

Getting a good look at White Chuck Mountain, photo by Rudy Gieck

Boulders replace the trees and soon Stujack Pass is visible above as you find yourself in a basin.  Rest in the last few trees before making the final push to the pass, keeping your hopes up for hitting the wildflower season. In fall there is an abundance of Wild Ginger & Indian Pipes growing along the trail. Switchbacks bring views and eventually you greet Stujack Pass at about 5,700 feet.  White Chuck Mountain is right in front of you.  Shade can be found here, use it to soak in the views and let your body rest a bit.

Beginning the scramble up to the summit, photo by Rudy Gieck

A trail continues up to the summit, though some will call Stujack Pass their destination.  The trail to the summit is more of a scramble that is often used by average hikers.  Notice the history from this point on.  The lasted trail and an old tram can be spotted by perspective hikers.  Mount Pugh is the mass between the Sauk River and the White Chuck River and that can be obvious here, high above both valleys.

Views of Sauk Valley and surrounding mountain from Mount Pugh Trail, photo by Rudy Gieck

The renowned knife edge has turned some average hikers around, but passed it there is no technical climbing to the summit.  Some early hands on scrambling is as hard as it gets to the top.  Reaching the top, of course the area giant, Glacier Peak, claims most of the views.  All of the popular peaks from the Mountain Loop area can be seen from the summit though.  Monte Cristo Peaks and White Chuck are the closest and further out views of Mount Rainier, Mount Baker and the Olympics can be seen.

The history at Mount Pugh summit started in 1916, when they established a tent lookout with alidade, Nels Bruseth served as the first lookout man.  In 1919 a cabin was built and used until it was destroyed by lightning and rebuilt in 1927.  In 1965 the lookout was destroyed.

Written by Rudy Gieck

Type of Trail: USFS
Length: 4.5 miles one way to Stujack & 5.5 miles to summit
Elevation: 1,900 - 3,800 to Stujack, 1,900 - 5,300
Level of difficulty: most difficult

Best Seasons: Summer & Fall

Seasonal Interest:

General Information:
History:  Follows the old route to Mount Pugh Fire Lookout

Wilderness Restrictions: Yes, enters Glacier Peak Wilderness

Restrooms: No

Bring drinking water

Getting There:  To get to Mt. Pugh Trail #644 from the Darrington, drive the Mountain Loop Highway 14.0 miles to Road #2095 on the left (east) side. Proceed for 1.0 mile. The trailhead is on your right and should be signed.  Northwest Forest Pass required per parked vehicle.

More Information: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest