Volunteer Guide 2022

Every year hundreds of people like you volunteer to keep the PNT in shape

Maintaining the 1,200 mile trail system is a big job and its season is short. It takes dedicated teams of professional, student, and volunteer crews, coordinated by the PNTA, to prepare the trail for visitors each summer.

That work wouldn’t be possible without volunteers like you! Each season PNTA hosts dozens of events that range from front country projects that last only a few hours, to week-long backpacking trips into remote wilderness areas.

Whether you’re new to trail work or a seasoned volunteer, you’re invited! Our staff will be with you and your crew every step of the way to ensure you have fun and stay safe while making meaningful contributions to the trail.

Ways to Get Involved

volunteer
Trail Work Parties

2 or more hours (plus travel time)

Volunteer trail work parties offer something for everyone. These events are ideal for new volunteers or those who are able to help out for one day or less. Most projects are located in frontcountry work sites within a short drive from a trailside community.

Drop-in Work Parties

2 or more hours (plus travel time)

Drop-in work parties give experienced volunteers an opportunity to work alongside PNTA Performance Trail Crews on intermediate or difficult projects. These work parties are usually time-flexible for volunteers, who can arrange to join our crews for only a few hours, or to camp out and volunteer for a few days.

Backcountry Trips

2 or more days (plus travel time)

These overnight trail work parties provide opportunities for backcountry camping on the trail for one or more nights. Volunteers will need backpacking skills and equipment, and be able to hike long distances to help us service hard-to-reach parts of the trail in more remote backcountry areas.

The North Cascades Region

The PNT climbs to dramatic vistas as it works against the grain of the steep Cascade Mountains. Here, the trail spans the rainshadow of the Cascades, wending across the Cascade Crest, from the dry Pasayten Wilderness, to the lush temperate rainforests west of the massive range.

Known to some as the “American Alps,” a seemingly endless horizon of majestic peaks define this breathtaking landscape. At lower elevations, the trail explores ancient forests along river valleys. At higher altitudes, heather meadows surround postcard perfect alpine lakes.

Portions of the Pacific Northwest Trail remain snowbound for most of the year in this region. Higher elevations in the North Cascades are prone to world-record setting snowfall. 

How You Can Help

In temperate rainforests, like those found in the Cascades, the PNT needs annual maintenance to stay protected from nature’s toll. One of the biggest priorities in this area is logging out hundreds of trees that fall across the PNT each year.

Protecting our natural resources is another important aspect of our work in this region. Building crossing structures can spare fragile alpine meadows from visitor use impacts. Maintaining the trail’s tread and drainage features protects the PNT from heavy rain and snowmelt which can damage the trail bed and cause erosion that can impact sensitive streams and other riparian habitat. 

With volunteers’ help, we can take advantage of the short weather-window to keep this majestic section of the Pacific Northwest Trail open and safe.

Ancient Forests

Northeast Washington Region

Spanning between the Washington-Idaho border and the Okanogan, this undiscovered region of the Pacific Northwest Trail explores a diversity of environments. From lush temperate rainforests, to rolling grasslands, subalpine meadows, pine forests, granite gardens and volcanic rock cliffs, this 200-mile stretch of the PNT boasts an extraordinary amount of variety and natural beauty.

Visiting this remote corner of Washington can make for an unforgettable visit. Its wild, uncrowded character and scenic beauty make it worth the trip. These remote landscapes offer quiet, star-filled nights and some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities found on the PNT.

How You Can Help

The trail’s maintenance needs vary across the region too. Trail work parties in this area offer something for nearly anyone who is interested in the many facets of trail stewardship.

With your help, we can make the most of our short season in this special place and keep the Pacific Northwest Trail open for everyone to enjoy!

In temperate rainforests, like those found in the Selkirk Mountains, the PNT needs annual maintenance to stay protected from nature’s toll. One of the biggest priorities in this area is logging out hundreds of trees that fall across the PNT each year. Regular tread and drainage work is also important because it helps shield the trail from damage caused by heavy annual rainfall, and helps protect our natural resources.

Volunteer Work Parties

Most work parties in this region are great for beginners and for volunteers that have only a few hours to contribute. The most challenging and rewarding part of servicing this region of the PNT is getting there. Some worksites take a few hours of hardy PNW hiking to reach. 

Backcountry Trips

Because of its great length, servicing the PNT in remote areas in the Selkirk Mountains requires a bigger time commitment. Our Backcountry Trip Work Parties are ideal for volunteers with prior backpacking experience that enjoy hiking long distances and spending a few days camping out on the trail with their crew.

Drop-In Work Parties

Our Drop-in Work Parties give experienced volunteers an opportunity to work alongside PNTA Performance Trail Crews on intermediate or difficult projects. These work parties are usually time-flexible for volunteers, who can arrange to join our crews for the day, or for a multi-day adventure.

Abercrombie Mountain
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