How to Get There
Take exit 208 towards Arlington. From there take 530 East out towards Darrington for 32 miles. Follow the highway through Darrington to the intersection directing you to the Mountain Loop Highway, take a right and head 12.6 miles the road will change into a gravel road, look for a sign saying Mt. Pugh trailhead, take a left and head for a 1.5 miles the trail is on your right and easily is missed, there are a few large turnoffs to park your vehicle. Currently all the roads leading to the trail head are in fantastic shape as long as you don’t mind a dusty car.
What You Need
First of all a Northwest trail pass is required, I forgot to set mine out on the dash, but thoroughly lucked out not getting a ticket. Doing this climb earlier in the season will require an ice axe and a pair of crampons as there are some exposed parts of the trail and combined with snow and ice would provide a small challenge where some extra gear would give comfort and set you up for success. For the hot summer months such as July through October Pugh turns into a long slightly challenging day hike, pack accordingly; plenty of water, hiking boots, some trekking poles and a camera, because the views are amazing.
Pugh is a combined 10.4 miles round trip with 5300 ft of elevation gain to a summit of 7201 ft. Beginning your climb you will ascend through the tree line on a number of never ending switch backs. After 2 miles you will reach the base of Stujack Pass. Follow the trail up to the top of Stujack Pass, this is where the views begin. To the west you can view Three fingers Mountain, and White Horse Mountain. To the south the rest of the Mountain Loop highway with numerous peaks including Sloan, Dickerman, Vesper, Monte Christo, Del Campo, Big Four and numerous others. Upon reaching the top of of Stujack pass (5700 ft) sweeping views to the north including Baker, El Dorado and White Chuck come into sight. Continue your ascent onto the ridge which still has snow patches in areas. Once on the ridge beware of the exposed drop off via the east and west sides. Continue on and view your goal, the summit of Pugh Mountain. The last 1000 feet is a mixed class 3 scramble with switch backs mixed in. Days the rock is dry allow for an easy ascent in this section, but on a wet day could prove a slight challenge. Once at the top enjoy the views or 3 of Washington’s volcanoes with Glacier Peak, Mt Baker and Mt Rainier in the distance. Be sure and take a picture on Pugh Rock enjoy the views and be safe going down!