Map & Overview of Route
The Cougar Traverse is a loop that is 242 miles in length. It never steps across any roads, and traverses some rugged parts of the Pasayten Wilderness in Washington State. We have heard claims that this is the “longest uninterrupted wilderness route in the Lower 48.” Here is a map that I was able to find online of the route. Visit our Trip Report Page to see what we did!
Trail Conditions Information
In general, the route does a figure eight through much of the Pasayten Wilderness in the North Cascades. We started calling it the Pasayten Eight or the Pas“eight”en Route. At one time this route was most likely all on beautiful trails and probably made for some great walking. Don’t get us wrong, many parts of this route still have incredible trails and really are amazing! But due to the fires that have burned through the Pasayten Wilderness in the past few years, many of the trails, especially in the southern section of the route, have so many fallen trees that movement is slow and incredibly challenging. We made this trail conditions map as we went along on the Cougar Traverse. All notes are from August 2020.
To add to the above information, the route is very remote. During some sections you will see many people and others you may be alone for a few days at a time. Resupplying is also a big challenge since there is no easy way to cache food (or purchase it) along the way without adding significant (to us) additional miles. This makes for long carries of food and a need for confidence in you and/or your team's ability to make the intended goals that you set.
We are not sure how often people embark upon completing the whole Cougar Traverse in one go. The route does connect many other popular hikes in the area and I am sure that doing sections of the Cougar Traverse over time is another way to experience this exceptional route.