The United States Congress designated the Norse Peak Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 52,297 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Washington
and is managed by the Forest Service.
The Norse Peak Wilderness is bordered by
the William O. Douglas Wilderness
to the south.
Just northeast of Mount Rainier National Park, Norse Peak Wilderness reaches down both sides of the crest of the Cascade Mountain Range. Narrow drainages below rockbound ridges slice deeply into the area, which opens here and there into scenic basins dotted with lakes. A typical western Cascades forest of Douglas fir, western hemlock, and cedar understoried with ferns and mosses characterizes the western side of the crest, giving way to mountain hemlock, subalpine fir, and lovely meadows before dropping down on the eastern side to drier country and a forest of larch, spruce, and pine. Remnants of the old gold-seeking days recall the past in the southwest corner: mine shafts, tailings, derelict cabins. The bold faces of Fifes Peaks in the southeast portion attract rock climbers. Only the corridor of State Highway 410 and the American River separate Norse Peak from William O. Douglas Wilderness to the south. Norse Peak (6,856 feet) anchors the southwestern boundary. Hike the 5.2-mile Trail 1191 (also known as the Norse Peak Trail) that leads to the summit and you will be rewarded with panoramic views. Carry water and you can pitch a tent on top and watch the sunrise. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses the Wilderness in a north-south direction for about 27 miles. Other trails enter from all four sides of the Wilderness to join the PCT.