Just northeast of Mount Rainier National Park, Norse Peak Wilderness reaches down both sides of the crest of the Cascade Mountain Range. Narrow drainages below rockbound ridges slice deeply into the area, which opens here and there into scenic basins dotted with lakes. A typical western Cascades forest of Douglas fir, western hemlock, and cedar understoried with ferns and mosses characterizes the western side of the crest, giving way to mountain hemlock, subalpine fir, and lovely meadows before dropping down on the eastern side to drier country and a forest of larch, spruce, and pine. Remnants of the old gold-seeking days recall the past in the southwest corner: mine shafts, tailings, derelict cabins. The bold faces of Fifes Peaks in the southeast portion attract rock climbers. Only the corridor of State Highway 410 and the American River separate Norse Peak from William O. Douglas Wilderness to the south. Norse Peak (6,856 feet) anchors the southwestern boundary. Hike the 5.2-mile Trail 1191 (also known as the Norse Peak Trail) that leads to the summit and you will be rewarded with panoramic views. Carry water and you can pitch a tent on top and watch the sunrise. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses the Wilderness in a north-south direction for about 27 miles. Other trails enter from all four sides of the Wilderness to join the PCT.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Norse Peak Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Washington State Wilderness Act of 1984 - Public law 98-339 (7/3/1984) To designate certain National Forest System lands in the State of Washington for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, and for other purposes.