One of the largest wilderness areas in Washington, the Pasayten (pa-SAY-tin) Wilderness covers 530,000 acres of mountain country. Its northern edge is the U.S./Canadian border, while to the south it extends almost to Methow Valley .
The country contains deep canyons, mountains topping 7,500 feet, and an abundance of wildlife that includes a few gray wolves and grizzly bears.
The Pasayten Wilderness contains more than 600 miles of trails; pick up 100 Hikes in Washington’s North Cascades: National Park Region by Ira Spring and Harvey Manning (Seattle: The Mountaineers) for more information on hiking. An enjoyable short hike is the 12-mile long Billy Goat Loop Trail.
To get here, drive nine miles north from Winthrop  on West Chewuch Road, and turn left onto Eightmile Creek Road. Continue another 17 miles to the trailhead at the end of the road. The trail climbs through evergreen forests and then over Billy Goat Pass before dropping into the narrow Drake Creek Valley. From here, it circles back around the other side of Billy Goat Mountain and over Eightmile Pass before returning you to the starting point.
The trailhead for a longer loop hike (approximately 30 miles) is 20 miles west of Mazama at the second switchback above Harts Pass  on the way to Slate Peak. Follow the Buckskin Ridge Trail (No. 498) from here through high meadows and past Silver Lake to Silver Pass and Buckskin Ridge (7,300 feet) before descending to the Pasayten River. Here you catch trail No. 478 and follow it upriver through old-growth forests to trail No. 498, which takes you back to your starting point. Check out the Green Trails maps or talk with folks at the Winthrop Forest Service office before heading up this interesting but challenging route.
Several companies lead horse pack trips into the Pasayten, including Early Winters Outfitters (509/996-2659 or 800/737-8750, www.earlywintersoutfitting.com ), North Cascade Outfitters (509/997-1015, www.cowboypoet.com ), Back Country Burro Treks (509/996-3369), North Cascade Safari (509/996-2350), and Sawtooth Outfitters (509/923-2548). For a unique experience, Pasayten Llama Packing (509/996-2326) leads llama trips into the wilderness.