Starting at the Norse Peak TH, we hiked over the summit of Norse Peak and camped two nights at Basin Lake. On the second day we hiked a 15 mile day hike to Sourdough Gap and back – absolutely glorious views. I stopped the group several times for map & compass exercises (where are we on the map, what’s that peak, where is Goat Peak, etc.). The PCT is the highlight of this trip. After our long day hike, six of us went for a refreshing dip in the lake. The other took a sponge bath.
There is plenty of water and camps at Big Crow Basin. We did not stay there, though. We camped on the west side of Basin Lake. There were plenty of places for us to pitch our tents. Both spots are very popular – there were other parties camped in the official sites on the east side of the lake. I like camping at Basin Lake better than Big Crow Basin – I’ve camped at both. The bugs were not too bad at Basin Lake – but they are on the rise. We got bitten most as we passed through Cement Basin (several shallow ponds there), and above Sheep Lake (also a shallow lake).
Participants include Nicole Hansen (leader), Linda Kuramoto (co-leader), Marsha Grizwin, Eileen Miller, Robin De Regt, Bobbie Laue, and Margaret Long.
- Green Trails Bumping Lake No. 271
- Backpacking Washington: Overnight and Multiday Routes, by Craig Romano, Trip No. 21 Big Crow Basin. See pages 106-110
Here’s a grand loop in the Norse Peak Wilderness, long on splendid scenery and alpine meadows – and short on crowds. Most visitors to these parts congregate on the 6856 foot peak that lends its name to this 52,000 acre wilderness, leaving the Big Crow Basin below it teeming with goats, elk, deer, and bear. Explore nearby Lake Basin, Cement Basin, and Bullion Basin and look for relics of the area’s mining past. And, not least, stand on Crown Point, reeling in a royal in-your-face view of Mount Rainier.
From Enumclaw, head east on State Route 410 for 32 miles, and turn left onto Crystal Mountain Road (just before the Mount Rainier National Park entrance). Continue for 4.2 miles and park along the road, across from gravel road that leads to the unsigned Norse Peak Trailhead on your left (elev 3850 ft). Trailhead GPS coordinates (46.9644, -121.4829) Northwest Forest Pass required.
28.71 miles, 6566 ft. gain, 2 days 2 hrs 57 min.