Home > Mountain Towns > Packwood

Packwood, Washington

Three famous volcanoes dominate the landscape of southern Washington: Mt. St. Helens (8,366 feet), Mt. Adams (12,280 feet), and Mt. Rainier (14,409). Packwood sits at almost the triangulated center of these three giants in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. In the winter, Packwood is a ski town catering to White Pass Ski Area and the vast backcountry options in the Tatoosh, Goat Rocks, and William O. Douglas Wilderness. In the summer, skiers and snowboards turn into backpackers, climbers, mountain bikers, whitewater enthusiasts, fishermen, and tourists (heading into Mt. Rainier National Park via the Ohanapecosh entrance just ten miles from town). The Cowlitz River and the numerous feeder creeks and streams comprise an adventurous network of water to explore with fly rods or kayaks. Packwood Lake (2,857 feet) is one of the lower alpine lakes in the region and therefore the first explored as the snow melts in the spring. The options for backpacking, camping, hiking, and alpine adventuring in this zone can fill a lifetime, so get started in Packwood.

Recent Articles

  1. Training For Mount Rainier: What A Mountain Guide Wants You To Know

    As a longtime guide on Mount Rainier, I am constantly fielding questions about how to prepare to make a summit attempt on the highest mountain in Washington State. I give the usual suggestions – physical fitness, gear, and mental preparation – but in the recent years, I’ve also started talking to prospective climbers about some […]

  2. A Tribute to Adam Roberts

    Reading about an avalanche death causes a flood of emotion – sorrow for the loss, pain and anger from those close to the deceased, fear and uncertainty as you run through the list of people you love that call the backcountry home. Then the analytical mind kicks into gear. What happened? Where were they riding? […]


  1. The Bulger List – Washington’s Highest 100 Peaks

    In the summer of ’96, I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in awhile. After catching up and laughing about the crazy times back in college, he mentioned that a few guys were climbing Mount Shuksan in a couple of weeks and asked if I wanted to join them. I immediately said yes, […]

  2. Washington Backcountry Discovery Route

    The Washington Backcountry Discovery Route (WABDR) is an overlanding route across Washington State from Oregon to British Columbia that utilizes mostly unpaved public backroads. The route climbs over the vast mountains and ridges of Washington’s Cascade Range. Four-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance or adventure motorcycles are the required vehicles for travel along this route. […]

Featured Mountains in Packwood

Mountain Approx. Elevation
Pigtail Peak 5,928 ft (1,807 m)
Old Snowy Mountain 7,851 ft (2,393 m)
Mount Rainier (State High Point) 14,411 ft (4,392 m)
Mount Adams 12,276 ft (3,742 m)
Johnson Peak 7,293 ft (2,223 m)
Ives Peak 7,736 ft (2,358 m)
Hogback Mountain 6,735 ft (2,053 m)
Gilbert Peak 7,903 ft (2,409 m)
Angry Mountain 6,047 ft (1,843 m)
High Rock Lookout 5,190 ft (1,582 m)