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Showing 51528 trip reports
 
Olympics -- East
Wildflowers blooming, Ripe berries
Blowdowns, Bugs
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This was a fun trip for us but a slightly nerve wracking as the trail has some steep parts to it ini...
This was a fun trip for us but a slightly nerve wracking as the trail has some steep parts to it initially. Regardless, it's not to hard for younger children as long as they are supervised. My 3 yr old is a big, fast and busy guy. We held his hand on the steep parts (roughly first 1/4 mile of hike down to the river). The loop is about 1.8 miles long.

When done with the 1.8 mile loop, we took the small trek to look at the falls. Not far at all from the parking area. THAT was the worst part for me (from a mothers perspective) as the sudden drop off at the lookout for the falls, makes one catch their breath as their stomach drops. It naturally makes any parent nervous. Granted there is chain link fence, it's not very secure at the bottom (base of fence) and is loose enough somebody could potentially get hurt or fall through. Beautiful views and breathtaking drops. Trees engulf you as you look up into the sky. Just awesome.

*note* There is a old dead fallen tree stump towards the switchback that was just in the way but no big deal really.


80 degrees at 8pm it was a perfect hike and I had a easy time laying my busy guy down for bed at the end too! LOVE nature.
 
Puget Sound and Islands -- San Juan Islands
No water source
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A group of volunteers met at the North Trailhead of the Turtleback Preserve on Orcas Island at 9:30a...
A group of volunteers met at the North Trailhead of the Turtleback Preserve on Orcas Island at 9:30am for a final workparty to complete the new trail to the Turtle's Head. The trail was made possible by a recent acquisition by the San Juan Preservation Trust. Earlier this spring WTA volunteers had begun the work and then the WCC and others had stepped in. We met the last WCC group coming out as we were going in. The Land Bank truck transported the group and tools 1.6mi.up to the Waldron Overlook where the new trail takes off and winds another 1.6mi. to the overlook on the Turtle's Head. The group broke for lunch up on the Head and enjoyed one of the most spectacular views in the San Juans. In the afternoon we worked our way back to the truck. The trail is now unofficially open and in great shape. Overall rt distance from the North Trailhead gate is about 6½mi. Trail climbs to a little over 1000' elv. at the Waldron Overlook then drops down across the Turtle's Neck and back up to a little over 1000' at the Head.

link to article and more photos and link to maps etc.
<http://sanjuanislandtrails.org/[…]/>

Map of the Turtleback Preserve with driving directions. (does not include the new trail yet)
 
Mt. Rainier -- NE - Sunrise / White River
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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The mosquitos and elk flies were present in large numbers! The elk flies were especially bad until w...
The mosquitos and elk flies were present in large numbers! The elk flies were especially bad until we descended into Berkeley Park where only the mosquitos continued to accompany us! 2 small easily traveled snow patches remained west of the 3 way junction beyond the Frozen Lake viewpoint. There are not many flowers along this section until you begin to descend into Berkeley Park where the flowers are beautiful and abundant! Lupine, magenta paintbrush, red and white heather, bistort, Mt Rainier Lousewort, birds beak, elephant head, and 3 white lupine blossoms were some of the many flowers seen. We saw one marmot at Frozen Lake and that was our only wildlife sighting!
 
Mt. Rainier -- NE - Sunrise / White River
Wildflowers blooming
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On the road at 3:00 AM to capture the sun on Mt Rainier at Sunrise Point. Elk had the same idea. Wh...
On the road at 3:00 AM to capture the sun on Mt Rainier at Sunrise Point. Elk had the same idea. While returning to car I was distracted by some flowers on the Sourdough Ridge trail and one picture led to another and 1 hour later I found myself on top of Dege Peak. Drove back and was on Summerland trail by 8:00. Great filtered sun photo opportunities in the forest slowed my ascent for first 3 miles. The bottom half of the switchbacks provided ample Avalanche Lily shots and last 3-4 turns offered more in the blue, red, white and yellow palette. Enjoyed watching a few Marmots eating lunch in the Lupine but not much else for wildlife. My opinion is that the meadows are nearing peak. I feel I was over-prepared and dressed for bugs based on last weeks reports but a slight breeze in the meadows also helped out.
Back off the trail by 3:30 and my legs reminded me how easy it is for beautiful weather, friendly people and spectacular scenery to sway one's common sense when it comes to planning the first hike of the year. My intention was to put in about 6 miles but when it was all said and done I pushed 12....and it was so worth it.
 
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North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Snow on trail, Bugs
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The trail to Headlee pass is snow free, except for one small snow field, which is easily crossed. B...
The trail to Headlee pass is snow free, except for one small snow field, which is easily crossed. Beyond the pass, the creek and small lake are just starting to melt out. The views of Sperry, Morning Star, Vesper and the surrounding mountains are spectacular.
 
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Blowdowns, Overgrown, Bugs
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If you are planning on climbing Red Mountain, read several of these trip reports ahead of time in or...
If you are planning on climbing Red Mountain, read several of these trip reports ahead of time in order to be as informed as possible. Bringing a climbing helmet is good advice. A person cannot help but kick loose some rocks. Knowing you are certain to lose the trail is also good knowledge to have. Be ready for it. I would also add that this climb would be dicey when wet. I was fortunate enough to be following the trail (or was it just ‘a trail’?) most of the way. I’ll attempt to describe my route.

From the plateau at about 4850’, take the obvious junction to the right, still 50 yards or so shy of Red Pond. Follow the trail more or less straight up at first, with minor zigzagging to the left and right, among small trees. When you see what looks like a junction, with a rock face to the right and a trail sloping upward to the left, go left. Follow this trail up and to the left until it is no longer obvious. Then look ahead and above for a tight cluster of four fir trees. The trail climbs from right to left, passing above that cluster. Just past the cluster, the trail fades out again, in some treacherous terrain. I zigzagged my way about 30 feet straight uphill and found the trail again. From here, the trail climbs up and to the right on a constant slope for a fairly long distance. The trail will take you just above a single large tree (see photo). Continue past the tree to a switchback at the ridge line, then follow the trail up and to the left for an even longer distance. When the trail fades out again, continue generally up and to the left to the visible ridge line, which is just below the summit. This section has a lot of loose gravelly rock and no obvious trail. Be careful.

The summit at 5980’ is relatively flat and spacious, with lots of large rocks to sit on while you admire the 360 degree view. The north and east faces fall off steeply. In fact, there was such a crumbly looking precipice, I dared not get close.
 
Mt. Rainier -- NW - Carbon River / Mowich
Mudholes
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It was a long bumpy ride to the trailhead from Carbonado. Overall excellent hike! Well maintained ...
It was a long bumpy ride to the trailhead from Carbonado. Overall excellent hike! Well maintained trail. Snow-free until Eunice Lake but no snow on the trail itself. Few mud pits and small creek crossing that were doable. The lookout seemed miles away looking up from the lake. Keep going and you will be rewarded. I had the lookout all to myself. For one thing, I reached the lookout approximately 2030, just in time for the sunset. The views were magnificent!!! It got too dark coming down. It was a clear night; plenty of stars in the sky...so lovely!!!
 
North Cascades -- Methow
Wildflowers blooming
Blowdowns, Bugs
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Hot day (97F) in Winthrop, so the hike up was slow. Some biting flies up to around 6000 feet. Mosqui...
Hot day (97F) in Winthrop, so the hike up was slow. Some biting flies up to around 6000 feet. Mosquitoes took over above that, but they weren't too bad. I'd Recommend Bug Netting & DEET near the lake. All were minor issues, as I had a beautiful lake, clear skies and great fishing all to myself for both nights. Note that there were around a dozen blowdowns on trail, but they were all easy to negotiate. Met a motorcyclist with a chainsaw who was clearing one on the trip back down. I thanked him, as they keep this trail maintained. All in all it was an excellent trip.
 
Mt. Rainier -- NE - Sunrise / White River
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Trail is in great condition. Hard packed snow from last month to upper Crystal Lake has now been rep...
Trail is in great condition. Hard packed snow from last month to upper Crystal Lake has now been replaced with beautiful displays of wildflowers. Last half-mile was pretty heavy with mosquito activity so remember your bug spray. Excellent time to hike this trail now!
 
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Olympics -- Coast
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Beautiful weather and absolutely gorgeous location. We saw otters in the Ozette river, a small rabb...
Beautiful weather and absolutely gorgeous location. We saw otters in the Ozette river, a small rabbit on the trail, a deer wandered into our campsite. We also saw sandpipers (I think), hummingbirds, a king fisher and I believe a harbor seal poked its head out of the water to look at us.

A couple of notes for planning purposes:
* Bugs - at the coast virtually none but there are mosquitoes on the boggy trail to/from the coast so apply repellent before you head out. (But they really weren't that bad.)
* Crowds - we were surprised at how many people there were on a weekday (we started on a Thursday). I think Cape Alava was full that night.
* Bear canister - we fit 10 lbs of food (well compacted) for 2 people and 2 nights in 1 canister. We could probably do more if we chose extra-compact food. I suggest putting the canister fully inside a single backpack. the efforts I saw to strap it to the outside were cumbersome and may be uncomfortable.
* Water source - the creek is running low in July. There is water but its harder to fill your containers.
 
Olympics -- North
Wildflowers blooming
No water source
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This hike has been on my list for years now, and I finally decided to make it happen. Harvey Mannin...
This hike has been on my list for years now, and I finally decided to make it happen. Harvey Manning described this hike as being "between heaven and earth." Having hiked it, I'd like to add that it is ever so slightly biased toward the heaven side.

The road up is in great shape, havning recently been graded. In fact I saw the grader headed down on my drive up.

I started at the Deer Park end, believing the that Obstruction Point road wasn't open all the way to Obstruction Point...though I found out differently when I made to to Obstruction Point and found several cars there. The trail in clear of snow from and dry. The flowers are in full bloom. Throw in blue skies, endless Alpine wandering, and views extending from the heart of the Olympics to the Cascade mountains, and you have yourself a great day.
 
Issaquah Alps
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After dropping off grandson for a day camp at nearby Overlake School, I knew which way to drive, tha...
After dropping off grandson for a day camp at nearby Overlake School, I knew which way to drive, thanks to this site. It was a beautiful, sunny, cool morning, about 60 degrees (or less) heading toward 80.

Having not much time, I strolled the short, easy, hard-surfaced Treefrog Loop. At 8:30, saw no other humans until I exited at 9. Refreshing variety of tall trees, water, 2 informative signs, tree stumps cut 100 years ago. Plan to visit again soon and explore the longer trails.

Thanks for this wonderful site, which gives great previews.
 
North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Perfect day and a perfect hike. I'm a little chubby so going up hill was a little difficult, but on...
Perfect day and a perfect hike. I'm a little chubby so going up hill was a little difficult, but once you get to the lake, its beautiful! There was still a little snow on the far side of the lake, but it was quite refreshing to walk in snow when its so warm out.
 
Mt. Rainier -- NW - Carbon River / Mowich
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Great day for a hike. Tons of wildflowers blooming now. A lot just getting started. A few patches of...
Great day for a hike. Tons of wildflowers blooming now. A lot just getting started. A few patches of snow up high but none on trail. Huge flies were awful. We decided at the end that the bug spray was attracting them. No bites though. Just bug bouncing off us the entire way up and down. Mapped our trip and came in at 5.6 miles, which was confirmed with the trail marker at the beginning. Also, just an FYI, road going just has a pay box. We were planning on buying an annual pass but only day pass is available.
 
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North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Bugs
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Made it to the lake this time! Last time I hiked this (with KF) we completely missed the apparently ...
Made it to the lake this time! Last time I hiked this (with KF) we completely missed the apparently really obvious trail up to the lake. I'm not known to get lost easily, but somehow I've TWICE missed this trail at the same place. Last time we bushwacked up along side the river and gave up trying to climb straight up. This time we almost did the same thing, but encountered another group and were (rather rudely, actually) pointed away from the river to the wide and back to the obvious trail. So, when you pass the first river bed (dry now, running in the spring) make sure you bear up and to your left, instead of heading straight towards the river and falls you can kinda see dead ahead through the trees. DO make a detour to see the falls, though, they are stunning.
 
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Central Cascades -- Leavenworth Area
Bugs
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Evening run up first part of the trail. Stinging bees (carpenter bees?) nesting in the benches at t...
Evening run up first part of the trail.
Stinging bees (carpenter bees?) nesting in the benches at the top of the first hump. Great views of Leavenworth and valley.
 
Central Cascades -- Leavenworth Area
Bugs
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Enjoyed an nice hike up to Lake Stuart. The trail is in great condition (especially compared to Cha...
Enjoyed an nice hike up to Lake Stuart. The trail is in great condition (especially compared to Chatter Creek (see report for July 22). My first time on this side of Mt. Stuart. Loved the north side views. Saw a couple of dozen hikers going to Lake Stuart or Lake Colchuck. Several headed to Aasgard Pass. The shady trail was pleasant in the early part of the day. Made it back to the trailhead by 1pm to meet my daughter who was playing at the Icicle Creek Chamber Music festival. Wildflowers were not abundant, but still numerous. I can see why this is such a popular trail. Well groomed, not a lot of elevation gain, great scenery. The road to the trailhead is much improved over last year. A bit of washboard, but not bad. Some people complained of bugs as the day warmed up. I wore long sleeves and pants, and had no problems with the bugs. A friend had hiked to Horseshoe lake for an overnight trip earlier in the week and she got driven out by the bugs.
 
Mt. Rainier -- NE - Sunrise / White River
Wildflowers blooming
Snow on trail, Bugs
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Beautiful day for a trip to Sunrise! Took about 2 hours from the Bellevue area to reach Sunrise. D...
Beautiful day for a trip to Sunrise! Took about 2 hours from the Bellevue area to reach Sunrise. Decided to hike up to Sourdough Ridge, totally worth the little extra effort to walk up a meadow of wildflowers to see amazing views at the ridge. Views included Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Suntop Lookout and tons of other peaks. Casually hiked over to Berkeley Park...a few small snow fields to cross...no traction devices needed. The Park is blooming right now...found a flat rock to sit and enjoy views over the park including Mount Baker.

Frozen Lake is very blue.

If you walk up the Fremont Lookout trail just passed Frozen Lake...beautiful view of Mount Rainier and wildflowers

Big flies are out...didn't get bit, but they were circling me most of the hike
 
North Cascades
Wildflowers blooming, Ripe berries
Blowdowns, Bridge out, Overgrown, Snow on trail, Bugs, Road to trailhead inaccessible
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If you are down for adventure you need look no further. Marble Pass is an old Miner's route that us...
If you are down for adventure you need look no further. Marble Pass is an old Miner's route that used to begin in the town of Silverton. The trail varies in quality, but starting in Silverton is probably out of the question with the private land ownership. If you read previous reports from a fellow named Whitebark he describes perfectly how to get onto this trail.

I parked along the Mtn. Loop and forded the river to find the flagged boot path. Look for a ribbons leading up hill just past the left side of the dried Marble Creek bed. I added some fresh pink ribbons along the way as some of these ribbons are aging. Soon you will intersect the trail that has a slight grade present. The trail gets better as it switchbacks its way up the gulch. I did some minor clipping and cutting along the way to contribute to what others have done to keep this trail alive.

You will encounter some tramway debris along the way and pass some interesting trail carved from cliffs. Further ahead you get views of Mt. Pilchuck near a spot on the Trail that has a small metal sign that reads 2 (perhaps mile 2 from Silverton). Keep switching up and you get to a gully that had a minor trickle of water in it. It gets brushy here as you leave the towering forest behind and begin to look up to the pass. If you have been holding back with your clippers use them here to help future explorers. Through the brush you come to another gully of greater size that had a large amount of snow in it and water. It may be dry from the river up to here. The trail does a disappearing act and you have to climb to the pass on your own. Pay attention to what's below you and don't veer to far into Marble Gulch on the way down.

The pass has excellent views of Copper Lake and its falls. The trail unfortunately vanishes on the other side. I dropped maybe 500 ft and got into Adelaide Gulch which has a steep snowfield. I believe the trail down to the 45 Mine camp stays to the east of this gulch crossing one of its veins before dropping south to the camp around 2,600ft. It is very brushy and steep on this side of Marble Pass and travel is very difficult. Climbing into Adelaide Gulch and traveling the snow would be doable for the experienced person with an Ice ax. I would much like to see the trail reopened to the pass and beyond to the valley bellow.
 
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Lee M. took myself and several students from the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival on a footpath a...
Lee M. took myself and several students from the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival on a footpath along the ridge on the east side of Leavenworth. Much of the trail is on private property where Lee has access. There are views of Icicle Creek, Leavenworth and environs. The trail starts along the irrigation canal where we encountered a 2.5" diameter rattlesnake. See attached photo.
 
North Cascades -- West Slope
Wildflowers blooming
Snow on trail, Bugs, No water source
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Sauk Mountain is a busy trail but worth the view at the top. The trail includes leg busting switchb...
Sauk Mountain is a busy trail but worth the view at the top. The trail includes leg busting switchbacks and at times the trail is a bit thin. Use caution to prevent rocks from falling down on fellow hikers. Once we reached the top we were surprised to see so many large hiking groups. It made walking around the top a bit difficult. No worries, we had time to wait until everyone cleared out to enjoy the view of Mt. Rainier along with Mt. Baker.

Give yourself plenty of time to hike back down the trail, especially if you get behind slow moving groups. Overall, all hikers were super polite and pulled over to let faster moving folks pass.

Take bug spray as the biting black flies were out in force. My boys (12 & 13) were able to hike this trail with no trouble.
 
South Cascades -- Mt. St. Helens
Wildflowers blooming
Blowdowns, Mud/Rockslide
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After a backpacking trip in the Trapper Creek Wilderness, I thought we'd do a short day hike in the ...
After a backpacking trip in the Trapper Creek Wilderness, I thought we'd do a short day hike in the area before the drive home. Zig Zag lake looked short and doable.

The drive to the trail turned out to be trickier than I'd expected, but in the end was half the fun. Both a Gifford Pinchot National Forest map and the 2 Green Trails maps (Wind River and Lookout Mountain) were helpful at different times. I'll explain driving directions rather lengthily at first; trail description follows.

First, the turn off of the main Wind River Road to access Szydla road and then road 54 is not signed "Hemlock" coming from the north (it's signed as "Old Blaisdell," I think), so we missed the turn and had to backtrack after a few miles. Once on paved road 54, the turn to 42 was the expected middle road at a three-way split, but there are no signs. A tiny "42" marker sign appears shortly after you're on the road. (Here the Nat'l forest map was accurate, but the Green trails map shows road 3301 as the left you're taking.)

Road 42 starts climbing and after milepost 6 you reach a hairpin turn at Cougar Rock. At the southern tip of the hairpin turn, road 4220 goes off basically south. Here, the Green Trails map is helpful as it accurately shows the terrain. The trailhead is not marked in any way, so careful attention to the map is your only guide. You're almost there.

Proceed west/northwest along 42 with the terrain dropping steeply off to your left. Note two logging roads in quick succession on the left, these are on all maps. Just after these roads road 42 skirts around a hilltop blocking your left-side view. You're really close. A rough, 3rd old road to the left then appears, and just 15 or so feet beyond that, a campsite/pullover appears on the right. This is as good as the trailhead gets. Poke around and find what might be a trail in the trees where the hillside drops off steeply.

I found the trail to be every bit as steep as described. You'll climb over one or two blowdowns and hold on to roots at times while descending. Tread is sometimes stable, sometimes sandy/pebbly and slippery.

Just before the lake, the trail seems to maybe split. Going straight, the trail contours along the hill, but also seems to disappear. Oregon grape grows in the trail itself. To the right, a route takes a well-traveled nose-dive straight down an eroded trail/gully full of cobbles toward the lake. It did not look impossible--I mean, one could simply slide down, causing more erosion, though. It also seemed that my dog would startle a range of wildlife, so I decided to turn around. The view of the lake through trees here was good. We turned back satisfied with the close look & mini-adventure.

The hike back up was steep of course, but easier on the nerves, with wildflowers to stop and photograph. I picked up the trash in the "campsite" and admired the butterflies. Driving back out, the views from the road afforded views of volcanoes.
 
North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Water on trail, Bugs
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While the bugs were annoying, they eased a bit once you passed the forested area. The trail was be...
While the bugs were annoying, they eased a bit once you passed the forested area. The trail was beautiful and not too rigorous, but I do suggest boots with good ankle support because it's a very rocky trail. Look for the orange markers that let you know you are on the right path. The lookout was a little crowded when we got there (around 1-130, but there was still room for everyone to sit and enjoy lunch. I definitely recommend this trail, the views are stunning!
 
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Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
Blowdowns, Bugs
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Some pictures from this hike: http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbandisturbance/sets/72157634790836217/w...
Some pictures from this hike: http://www.flickr.com/[…]/

This is a pretty easy and pleasant hike with amazing views and relatively close to Seattle as well, so nothing to complain about...apart from the bugs which were really annoying. Most of them seemed to be of the non-biting kind but nevertheless they made the whole trip much less pleasant than it would otherwise have been. I recommend you bring repellent at this time of the year.

Other than that this was a nice trip indeed. The trail climbs pretty continuously but never to much to make it too strenuous. It's in very good condition, there are no rocks and very few roots, it's pretty much like a walk in the park, we did the whole thing in about 3.5 hours without getting to exhausted. Toward the end there a couple of blow downs but other than that no obstacles to speak of.

At the top you get pretty amazing 360 degree views, so I'd definitely recommend a clear day for this hike. We went on a Wednesday and surprisingly the car park at the trailhead was almost full, so it might be really busy on weekends. It's about 7 miles or so from Highway 2 to the trailhead on a forest road which is in surprisingly good condition. There only very few large potholes toward the end but slowing down in our Mazda 3 it was no problem.

 
North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Wildflowers blooming
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What a lovely trail! We started at the north entrance and hiked to Murphy Creek and back. We then ac...
What a lovely trail! We started at the north entrance and hiked to Murphy Creek and back. We then accidentally went on the new ADA loop that took us back to the second parking lot and decided to take the Mountain Loop Hwy. back to our car. Very nice trail that is easy for all ages!
 
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Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Wildflowers blooming
Water on trail, Bugs
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Enjoyed the hike but would advise allowing two hours to travel the last 12 miles. Also the best picn...
Enjoyed the hike but would advise allowing two hours to travel the last 12 miles. Also the best picnic sites are about 1/4 mile short of the upper end of the lake.
 
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Wildflowers blooming
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Beautiful hike - well worth the 7 hours to complete 11 miles round trip. Loved the bundles of furry ...
Beautiful hike - well worth the 7 hours to complete 11 miles round trip. Loved the bundles of furry marmot kids.Only saw 12 other hikers Trail was rocky at times Great view of Rainier on the way up and at the Katwalk also!
 
Mt. Rainier -- SE - Longmire / Paradise
Wildflowers blooming
Water on trail, Snow on trail, Bugs
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We hiked up to Panorama Point and it was gorgeous but very strenuous so be prepared. We decided not...
We hiked up to Panorama Point and it was gorgeous but very strenuous so be prepared. We decided not to do the entire loop because the ranger warned us that the east side of the trail from Panorama Pt was mostly covered in snow. We encountered 3 or 4 parts of the trail up to Panorama Pt that was covered in snow but it was easy to hike across because the it was packed down and also because we had trekking poles.

I recommend wearing some waterproof boot, bringing sunscreen and bug spray, and using trekking poles.
 
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Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Bugs
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Got started around 9:00 AM, lovely hiking until we got about 1/2 mile from the lake, then the bugs s...
Got started around 9:00 AM, lovely hiking until we got about 1/2 mile from the lake, then the bugs started swarming. Got worse all the way to the lake so we could only stay for a few minutes (spray didn't seem to help much), and continued most of the way back, so they apparently seemed to get worse as the day went on. I normally don't mind bugs but this really detracted from my enjoyment of the hike. Anyone wishing to do this hike might want to wait a few weeks!
 
Mt. Rainier -- NW - Carbon River / Mowich
Wildflowers blooming
Mudholes, Water on trail, Snow on trail, Bugs
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I took a solo hike to and through Spray Park today. I moved fairly slow, taking a lot of photos and...
I took a solo hike to and through Spray Park today. I moved fairly slow, taking a lot of photos and soaking in the absolutely perfect conditions.

The first two miles, through rolling forest, is relatively nondescript -- very nice, but nothing exceptional other than some fantastic birdsong. The short side trip to the cliffs viewpoint (well-marked, about 1.5 miles in) is worthwhile but not essential.

The second side trip -- to Spray Falls -- is definitely essential. I visited at about 10:30am on the way up, and around 3pm on the way back down. In the morning -- mid-week -- I actually had about 30 minutes at the falls, all to myself. Slightly different than previous weekend trips...

The switchbacks up to Spray Park itself are relatively short -- less than a mile until you're amongst the flowers -- but a good little climb. As the sort of hiker who whines to himself about switchbacks, I've got to acknowledge that this is how switchbacks should be -- bouncing back and forth between two wonderful cascades.

The trail is bare (and pretty wet) through the lower and middle meadows, with a couple of small snow packs that are melting out very quickly. The flowers are stunning -- and still more to come, of course!

The upper meadows and above are still quite snowy, and there are a number of more lengthy fields to cross -- nothing more than maybe half a mile in the meadows themselves. Marmots and birds frolicking about on the rocks.

I deviated on the side trail up towards Observation Rock, and had further time to meditate on rocks and flowers all to my lonesome, with sweeping views including Baker, Glacier, and the Stuarts -- and of course Mt. Rainier and the Willis Wall looming right above it all.

Oh, and with all the water and flowers came plenty of bugs. Bring your coping strategy of choice.
 
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Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Snow is completely gone from the trail. Minimal to no mud which can easily be avoided. Some flowers ...
Snow is completely gone from the trail. Minimal to no mud which can easily be avoided. Some flowers but not quite in full swing. The lake has fully thawed and is absolutely incredible! Only downside was a small section of the trail which had a large amount of flies but otherwise the trail is in great shape!
 
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Mt. Rainier -- SW - Cayuse Pass / Steven's Canyon
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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On a beautiful day, The Boy and I picked up #2 Sister with her 2 year old son and 5 month old daught...
On a beautiful day, The Boy and I picked up #2 Sister with her 2 year old son and 5 month old daughter and off we went for the Grandkids' first hike. There is some road construction on the Stevens Canyon Road these days, but our waits were all minimal.

It was sunny and warm and clear for the entire hike, but the biting flies (big and small) are out with a vengeance. There were fitful breezes on occasion, and that helped, but do NOT try this one without good bug repellent. (We met two ladies who fled the trail just after we arrived, who made it nearly to Bench Lake without repellent before just giving up and fleeing!)

The grandkids rode in their backpacks well, though the 2-year-old did hike the first quarter-mile. I forgot about the ridges you climb up and down on the way, recalling a "flatter" hike than this one is (for those short little legs). We waved as we passed Bench Lake and accelerated towards Snow Lake, just to give the flies some sport. The group on the trail before us was already IN Snow Lake when we arrived, their solution for the bug drama. We ate our lunch quickly (standing up) on a knoll with a mild breeze, changed the baby, and headed back after soaking up the beautiful scenery.

The trail is in great shape. Mid-day has the least shade, most heat, and most active flies of any other time of day, so I recommend another time of day for this hike, if you can do it. But beauty like this is worth a lot of arm-swinging. Of course, I am the type that must taste pretty bad to flies, because I don't encounter as many as the rest of my crew. May your luck hold as well!
 
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Mt. Rainier -- NW - Carbon River / Mowich
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Set out for Eunice lake, but we just passed the 1.2 mile mark and decided to head back. My five yea...
Set out for Eunice lake, but we just passed the 1.2 mile mark and decided to head back. My five year olds were getting tired. If it was just that we would have stopped and rested but the bugs swarmed if we even stopped for 30 seconds.

The bugs were horrible. I thought I had parked on a bees nest, when we arrived because we had huge deer flies surrounding our car. We doused ourselves in bugs spray and headed out. We were not bitten by the deer flys even though they accompanied us for our entire trip. It was those little black flies that actually broke skin. I ran into some backpackers with four days left of the Wonderland to hike and one said that he'd trade 1 mosquito for two horseflies. Then he showed me his arm and he had mosquito bites on top of mosquito bites.
 
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Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
Bugs
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Did an early morning trip up Mt. Si via the old trail. First car in the Little Si lot, started up th...
Did an early morning trip up Mt. Si via the old trail. First car in the Little Si lot, started up the trail at 6:15 AM. Did not see any hikers on the way up and only saw two when I diverted over to the regular trail at the junction. On the way back down, I was serenaded by a couple of Hermit Thrushes singing off in the distance. Blue skies and plenty of bugs on top. Trail is in great shape although a bit dusty. Only saw one other hiker heading up the old trail on my way back down. Had a special treat as I rounded a bend in the trail on the Boulder Garden loop trail almost back to the Little Si trail – a medium size black bear was on the trail – at first I thought it was just a large dog off leash coming up the trail. As he saw me, he quickly exited the trail and ran off in the brush. Perfect mid-week hike and back in time to go to work for half a day. Enjoy the trails!
 
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North Cascades -- East Slope
Wildflowers blooming
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North Creek/Lake & Jolly Mines With Bandit, the crazy dog. With another hot day in the valley, w...
North Creek/Lake & Jolly Mines
With Bandit, the crazy dog.

With another hot day in the valley, we got an Early start, on the trail at 8am. Good shade kept us cool on the way to the lake. Snacked on top of an erradict which Bandit didn't hesitate to climb up. A little later he swam in a tarn spontaneously I.e., without fetching a stick. We got to the lake at 11:30 and ate lunch. At noon, we decided to follow the source of the lake, a creek, up a gully to the west. It lead to the Jolly mines and an old trail which I saw on the USGS map. We rested and then decided to shoot for the ridge to the west. It was a mix of heather, scree and talus. At 2pm, we reached the ridge (7200') and looked down to Cooper Pass/Mtn, Stilletto Peak and beyond. Concerned with slippage on the way down, we took it slow and managed our way back to the creek where we saw quite a few marble rocks, one bowling ball sized. Bandit went crazy in the snow, stretching out front and back and sliding on his belly. We took the miners trail all the way back to the main trail bypassing the lake and creek path in the gully. Bandit swam at the tarn again and I was tempted to. Grinded out the rest of the trail back down, following some horse hoof prints (and occasional apple jacks) that were not there in the AM. We saw no one all day. The creek crossing was no problem by stepping on some rocks. Got back to Gilbert (TH) around 6 and took a dip in the creek there to cool off.

A great hike for a hot day. The main trail is mostly shaded. The off trail part was at elevation so it was considerably cooler up there. I did use a little DEET for bugs at the lakes and should've used more sun block than I did.
 
North Cascades -- West Slope
Wildflowers blooming
Snow on trail, Bugs, No water source
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We'd been looking forward to this hike for a while, but some of the missing person and accidental sh...
We'd been looking forward to this hike for a while, but some of the missing person and accidental shooting kept us away. Our group of 3 adults and 4 kids 12 and under arrived at trailhead at 10:50. Parking lot was 95% full, great privy. The sun was hot and the trail was dusty. There are several areas of trail that could use some work. I wonder if trekking poles (very helpful on this hike) have caused some of the erosion on the edge of the trail.

Wild flowers were beautiful, however we were expecting to see a lot more. The butterflies were abundant and fun to look at. I saw at least four different butterflies; white with brownie speckles, a cornflower blue, lots of orange flutterbyes with brown freckles and some dark brown/almost black beauties.

After 25+ switchbacks and an AMAZING VIEW from every spot on the trails, we paused for lunch and photos at the saddle over looking Sauk Lake or is it Lake Sauk? Then crossed a pretty slippery snow field and scrambled up the rocks. Lots of places to lose your footing, roll an ankle and/or slide down the many avalanche chutes. Use caution, especially with the little ones and the four legged friends. As for dogs, there is no water on the trail, so be sure to bring some! It's a very exposed trail and the sun was HOT! The biting flies were present, but they certainly weren't the worst I've seen.

We saw Mount Baker up close and personal, and a distant view of the giant Mount Rainier, as well as Glacier Peak and many others that I MUST learn to identify.

A great hike; give yourself time. We hiked leisurely and took 2+ hours to get up there and an hour and twenty minutes to get down.

I recommend a vehicle with higher than average clearance. I drive a Ford Expedition 4WD and some of the holes on the forest road are DEEP!

Great hike; don't miss it but take care of the meadows.....they are fragile. And, don't throw rocks from the summit like some other people were doing; it is downright dangerous for those on the trail below.
 
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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The hike was amazing! If you are going all the way to the summit, the burn in your legs will be well...
The hike was amazing! If you are going all the way to the summit, the burn in your legs will be well worth it! The views are just breath taking up there! Make sure you have spray for the flys..
 
South Cascades -- Mount Adams
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs, No water source
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My wife and I set out for a 3-day backpacking trip up Stagman Ridge. We used a guide I'd found on...
  My wife and I set out for a 3-day backpacking trip up Stagman Ridge. We used a guide I'd found online and a guidebook. We knew about the wildfire from last year going in. The stream that crosses the trail at about mile 2.5 is a trickle now, but was adequate to pump from. I did come nearly face to face with a handsome coyote, which was fun.
   The first large meadow beyond that, which apparently is usually wet, is completely dry. I walked the entire perimeter, and checked off to the SW for water. There is none there. The bugs and the heat were terrible. Of course it's still beautiful there!
 The forest along that meadow was burned on the north and the east sides and somewhat on the rest of the perimeter. I'm wondering if the lack of forest cover has let the winter snows melt quickly and left the meadow dry and the stream nearly dry.
 Anyway, rather than hiking on to Lookingglass Lake, or elsewhere, we decided, given the bugs, heat and the lack of water that we should head back to the car, which we did.
 Someone, either the WTA or the USFS I'd guess, has done an EXCELLENT job of clearing the trail by the way. It had to be a nasty job. Thank you!!
 
North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Wildflowers blooming
Blowdowns, Overgrown, Mudholes, Water on trail, Bugs
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The Mallardy Ridge trail to Cutthroat Lakes is a dose of the bitter and the sweet. Sweet is the bea...
The Mallardy Ridge trail to Cutthroat Lakes is a dose of the bitter and the sweet. Sweet is the beautiful series of meadows along the way filled with shooting stars and crossed by narrow channels of flowing water outlined by marshmarigolds. Sweet is the rush of chill air blasting out of the snowfield cave on a hot day. Sweet are the series of delicate Cutthroat Lakes bordered by heather and mosses.

Bitter is the first mile of eroded trail, heavily overgrown in places, interrupted by blowdowns, and laced with cobwebs. Seriously, the cobwebs almost formed a net along this first section of the trail. Bitter also is the last brutal mile from the snowfields up to the lakes. Here the trail is seriously sloughed in many places, choked with vegitation, and blocked by several blowdowns including one nasty multiple blowdown over a switchback.

It is too bad that this old trail has been left to deteriorate. It is a wonderful route passing through some delightful alpine wilderness. It is only 7 miles round trip and 1000 ft. gain (counting all the ups and downs). The meadows are well flagged so the trail should be detectible even under light snow. Soaking feet in the larger lake at the top is a treat well appreciated on a hot day.
 
North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway
Wildflowers blooming
Blowdowns, Overgrown, Mud/Rockslide, Water on trail, Snow on trail, Bugs
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Note: this is not an easy trip. I made a short mid-week overnight loop trip July 23-24 up to Bost...
Note: this is not an easy trip.

I made a short mid-week overnight loop trip July 23-24 up to Boston Basin (Boston Basin "Waterworks") where I spent the night, then traversed cross country up to the Sahale Arm trail for the descent back to the car.

Weather forecast was for blue bird perfection - warm and dry. Picked up a permit for the XC zone at Marblemount RS about 8am, then headed up to Cascade Pass trailhead where I left the car. Walked down the road a short half mile to the BB trailhead. I'd not been up this way before, and found the trail easy to follow, although it is very rough (climbers path, not maintained). Lots of it is quite steep and there are places where you use all fours. Emerged from the timber into the open basin around noon. Spotted a couple of tents at the upper climbers camp (headed for Forbidden). Wandered up open slabs and in and out of creek gullies. Water water everywhere... Found a nice flat slab to plop down for the night. Views, views, everywhere - views! And some pesky deer flies. No skeeters.

Not exactly sure of the best route or path of least resistance, the next morning I traversed up through toward the notch in the first lateral moraine to the east. That was the end of the slabs. From then on it was steep sidehilling on cemeted dirt/scree, steep talus, and eventually, steep heather. Occasional softening snow. Put crampons on in a couple of places, for extra security, and to travel quickly. Continued traverse over to the base of the Arm, where I dropped down a bit to avoid cliffs, and entered a wide snow filled gully that took me up to the heather shoulder and benches of the far westerly portions of the arm. From then on it was a nice (very) walk to intersect the trail at about 6500'. Found a breezy lunch spot, soaked up more views, took a short snooze, then headed down. As I always do, I hated to leave this special place.

A great trip for the experienced, seeking a workout, and some of the best mountain views in the country!
 
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Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Though we'd hiked Snow Lake before, Source Lake was still on my "to-do" list of hikes. When we arriv...
Though we'd hiked Snow Lake before, Source Lake was still on my "to-do" list of hikes. When we arrived at the Alpental parking at 10:30, the top lot was about 1/3 full. Not too bad, but just as we (my 10- and 15- year old boys and me) were getting started, a huge group was ramping up at the trailhead. Knowing that they would likely be heading to Snow Lake, we let them pass.

The weather was sunny, clear skies, but hardly any wind on the exposed sections made conditions hot and "buggy" (mostly flies). However, as if by magic, just after the split off for Source Lake Overlook a nice breeze greeted us. We found a perfect spot on some rocks near the cool runoffs to have some lunch and absorbed the incredible views of Source Lake surrounded by the mountains. There were waterfalls and streams galore, glittering in the sun, the sound of rushing water filling the basin. Refreshed, we hiked back, our spirits remaining high all the way back to the car.

Our consensus: Source lake might not be as large/spectacular as Snow Lake, but totally worth the effort. Happy hiking!
 
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North Cascades
Wildflowers blooming
Blowdowns, Overgrown, Bugs
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Trail has not been maintained this year, so is overgrown especially the first mile, and there are a ...
Trail has not been maintained this year, so is overgrown especially the first mile, and there are a number of blowdowns along the way, all passable. Bugs were pretty bad, especially the flies, but also mosquitos. Hiked in 3-plus miles until we hit a number of blowdowns together that hadn't been cleared. You can get around them if you want to, but we were ready to turn back as this was just meant to be a short outing.
 
Mt. Rainier -- SW - Cayuse Pass / Steven's Canyon
Wildflowers blooming
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We began our hike at Tipsoo Lake walking the loop clock-wise. The flowers were BEAUTIFUL and the bug...
We began our hike at Tipsoo Lake walking the loop clock-wise. The flowers were BEAUTIFUL and the bugs not a problem! :)! We saw very few people on the trail, but did see 2 dogs on the NP side of the trail :(! Avalanche lilies, red and white heather, magenta paintbrush, Mt Rainier lousewort, lupine, Cusicks's speedwell, beargrass, flat-leaved cinquefoil, and spirea were some of the many flowers blooming.
 
North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Mud/Rockslide, Water on trail, Bugs
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If you want a nice, fairly short trail with amazing views and a slightly challenging trail, then thi...
If you want a nice, fairly short trail with amazing views and a slightly challenging trail, then this is a great one. The hike itself is pretty simple, however there is a part towards the end of the trail that is only rocks and this can get a little annoying.

I brought my little 1 1/2 year old Pekingese on this hike twice, and the rocks were the only part he seemed to hate. The views of the lake at the top are breathtaking. It is very worth the hike. On the way up there are lots of waterfalls and rivers which make for wonderful picture opportunities.
 
Mt. Rainier -- NE - Sunrise / White River
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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First of all -- BRING BUG SPRAY! Bugs aside, this is a wonderful day hike with terrific views of Mt...
First of all -- BRING BUG SPRAY! Bugs aside, this is a wonderful day hike with terrific views of Mt. Rainier. The trail boasts adequate shade on very hot days (such as the day we hit the trail) with ample access to icy streams that will keep your hat or hanky wet and your head or neck cool. We enjoyed the many excellent views of the mountain, but found the actual basin area to be a bit disappointing in terms of mountain views. We had lunch very briefly near the bank of the White River, but found it very difficult to pause for any length of time during our trek due to the swarming insects (we didn't have any bug spray).

I prefer Burroughs Mountain hike to this one, as the trailside views are more diverse, the payoff is AMAZING, and the hike itself is somewhat less difficult. However, all in all this hike is worthwhile and I'd likely do it again.
 
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North Cascades -- Mount Baker Highway
Wildflowers blooming
Blowdowns, Bugs
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arrived TH 7:30 AM; most of trail still in shade and trail in fairly good shape (no brushy areas). ...
arrived TH 7:30 AM; most of trail still in shade and trail in fairly good shape (no brushy areas). One small stream crossed trail approx. 1 mile in and 3 others approx. 2-2.5 miles in, but might be dry in 3-4 weeks unless there is some rain (Note: I had my 2 L bladder full plus I had a Sawyer bottle with an internal filter that covered all the bad stuff that other external filters do, so all I had to do was fill it up and I was good to go). There were 3-4 downed trees, but all except one (where I had to crawl under) were easy to get over except for a small child. I reached pass approx. 9 AM and proceeded another mile (moderate downhill) to Boundary Camp. Very few mosquitos, but the flies were horrible; they swarmed every time I stopped, setting up tent, cooking meals;
became very warm in PM (my little thermometer showed 90+ deg (it was 84 in Glacier); pleasant night stargazing (no fly and no clouds!). Patchy snow at the pass and could be water source for next few weeks. Headed back around 10:30 AM after a little exploring, but trail back was then in full sun; it's a fairly narrow valley and it was HOT; flies still swarming. No bear signs and scenery was beautiful. I think early September might be a more comfortable time to do this hike.
 
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North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway
Wildflowers blooming, Ripe berries
Blowdowns, Overgrown, Mud/Rockslide, Washouts, Bugs
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Currently, the “trail” to South Cascade Glacier (SCG) is tough, to say the least. I consider my...
Currently, the “trail” to South Cascade Glacier (SCG) is tough, to say the least. I consider myself to be a fairly well seasoned backpacker, having done annual trips in the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades for the last twenty years or so. I’m also pretty physically fit, having run a decent time in the Oakland Marathon this past spring. I’m a 35 year-old male, 6 feet tall, and an ex-college-athlete. I say all this not to brag, yet only to assure you that it’s not just me: The route to SCG is not easy. Here, I will chronicle the trip to the glacier with a friend of mine, an even more well-seasoned outdoorsman, who’d been backpacking alone, all summer, before I joined up with him last week (late July 2013). Disclaimers: From reading previous reports, it sounds like trail conditions have changed frequently over the years, so we might have just caught the trail at a particularly bad time. And despite how hard the trip was, the scenery was indeed beautiful, as others have pointed out.

The two of us are scientists, and our goal was to collect a kind of nocturnal insect that only lives high on snowfields. The cirque near SCG seemed like a perfect collecting locality, so off we went, planning on two days to reach SCG and one day to return. We parked at the start of the closed road just above the Mineral Park campground and set off mid-afternoon of day one. The closed road goes for a little less than two miles and is washed out in one place, with a number of fallen trees over it.

Once reaching the end of the road, the real adventure starts. The way to SCG has been marked with flagging several times, as evidenced by flags of various ages and colors along the path, sometimes tied to trees, and sometimes on the ground, half-buried in dust. Additionally, some folks came through with a chainsaw at some point, though clearly not too recently, as some of the trees across the path were cut, but many were not.

One of the main challenges was following the flagging. Sometimes, it was easy to see the next piece of flagging from the previous. Often, it was not. The path didn’t always follow what seemed to be the most logical route at any given time, climbing and then descending steeply, only to climb steeply once again. That said, in the end, following the flagging was probably the best idea since travelling along the river would have been almost impossible along much of its distance. At any rate, we spent a lot of time searching around for flagging, since the “trail” gets so little use as to be completely overgrown in sunny spots, and nearly invisible even in many of the forested spots.

Another challenge was the aforementioned sunny spots: When the old forest gave way to younger burn areas or rockslides, the vegetation was very, very thick. One particularly difficult stretch involved searching for tiny pieces of flagging whilst pushing through dense, six-foot-tall stinging nettles – an area that was probably 100 meters across. Add to that the blazing sun, humidity, flies, and mosquitoes, and you may be able to imagine how unpleasant it was. We yearned for a machete. Other burn areas had thorny plants, and as we slipped and stumbled over rocks and logs, we were forced to grab what vegetation there was, impaling our hands with a large number of thorns (still embedded in my hands as I type this report). We yearned for leather gloves.

Yet another challenge was the steepness of the path. It would have been amusing had I been looking at the route on a topographic map from the comfort of home. Yet hiking it in person was strenuous, to say the least. At times we had to scramble up, hand over foot, high above Box Canyon.

We spent the first night nursing our cuts and bruises along South Cascade River, just past Box Canyon, having hiked six hours. We reached the river by descending sharply, away from the flagging, along a steep talus field. At this point we were fairly desperate for water, having sweat like farm animals for hours, and not having crossed a stream for some time.

The next morning, we climbed back up the talus field and returned to the flagging (passing a lovely camping spot near Drop Creek that we regretfully hadn’t known about earlier). Once fully beyond Box Canyon, the going gets very slightly easier, though at the same time the mosquitoes and flies increase in their number and there were two stream crossings that required us to take off our boots and ford. We crossed a picturesque and mosquito-ridden meadow, climbed some more, and finally reached the area just below SCG. From the far end of Box Canyon to SCG was another five hours, for a total of eleven. This is a very long time to hike such a short distance. I can assure the reader that going significantly faster would have been impossible for us.

Upon reaching SCG, and much to our shock, we discovered a large dwelling far above, perched atop the cirque. This was not some old shack, but rather a full-on cabin, complete with large antennae, deck, and fire pit! We couldn’t believe it. Here we were, having just walked eleven long-suffering hours, only to see folks having a bonfire high above our heads, most likely enjoying cold beers, ice cream, and toasted marshmallows served by attractive wait staff (though this last bit is pure speculation on my part).

We rested till evening, and then walked up to the snowfields to collect insects. Later, two of the folks staying in the cabin came down to “rescue” us, only becoming aware of our presence after seeing our bright headlamps. Logically, they thought we were dying, on account of us bending over to pick up insects; to them, it looked as though we were delirious from hypothermia and desperately eating snow. Upon reaching us, they expressed not a little surprise that we had walked there, and informed us that they too were scientists, there to study the glacier, and that they typically come and go via helicopter.

Our work done later that night, we camped several hundred meters from the foot of SCG. I should note that SCG is much smaller now than indicated on our maps, having evidently receded at an alarming rate over the last several years (according to the scientists, who shall remain nameless, SCG will recede approximately thirty meters this year alone).

The walk back to the vehicle the next day took only nine hours, rather than the eleven it took to get to SCG. This was partially because we had previously beaten down the vegetation, partially because we were somewhat familiar with the route, and partially because it was mostly downhill. In the end, remarkably, neither of us had any injury more significant than a large number of cuts, bruises, and thorns in our hands. The moral of the story is this: Only walk to SCG if you can’t get on the government-funded helicopter. And if you do walk there, don’t expect to enjoy the trip much. Bring gloves, DEET, a machete, and a strong will to keep going even when conditions are tough. Please re-flag the route, making it more obvious for those who go after you. And lastly, only go if you need to collect a kind of nocturnal insect that lives high on snowfields, or if you truly enjoy suffering.
 
South Cascades -- Chinook Pass - Enumclaw or Hwy 410 area
Overgrown, Bugs
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The book 50 Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park (Spring & Manning) describes the lower portion of t...
The book 50 Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park (Spring & Manning) describes the lower portion of this hike as "one of the finest forest trails" in the park, so Eagle-eyed Mary and I decided to try it.
     When we arrived at the bridge over Huckleberry Creek on FS 73, it was obvious this was a trail less traveled. There was no TH sign. We crossed a small grassy area below the road, headed for the creek, and then saw the trail on our left.
     For the first couple hours it was cool, so there were no bugs; but as the temperature warmed, they emerged in clouds. Bug spray, long sleeves and long pants kept the pesky critters at bay:
          O skeeters, please don't walk with us,
          the hikers did beseech.
          and all you biting blackflies, please
          stay safely out of reach.
          We cannot take too many more,
          so listen to our speech.
     The trail keeps close to the pretty creek, with gentle ups and downs. The water was running fast, with many small rapids. We enjoyed being in the shade. We crossed tributary streams and bogs; some of the log bridges need work or replacement, but we think we saw at least one new bridge that probably is WTA's work from 2011.
     There are many old-growth trees along the route. You have to bend your neck way back to see the tops of the impressive Douglas firs. And yes, there are huckleberry bushes too.
     We didn't reach Forest Lake, but we were gaining elevation when time constraints made us turn around.
     The trail is overgrown in many places; one short section disappeared under a dense cover of devil's club. We didn't see any other people all day; just a frog and a few wrens. Definitely unusual for Mt. Rainier NP.
     Perhaps if more people hike this trail, it will get a new TH sign.
 
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North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Wildflowers blooming
Water on trail
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The trail to Mt. Dickerman requires stamina, but the beauty of the forest and the 360-degree views f...
The trail to Mt. Dickerman requires stamina, but the beauty of the forest and the 360-degree views from the summit make it worth the effort. No need to tackle any bumpy forest road to reach the trailhead, which is just a few feet from the road. The trail goes consistently uphill, without ever getting steep. On July 23 there was a decent water source about 2/3 of the way up, although one can't count on it. The trail was always dry, and there were quite a few wild flowers of various types. Ascending at a moderate pace, it took me about 3 and 1/2 hours to reach the summit, and about 3 hours for the descent. I'm sure jackrabbits can do it in less time, but I'm no jackrabbit! To the north we had an excellent view of Mt. Baker, and to the south we caught a peek-a-boo view of Rainier. The trail is well-designed and well-maintained. Last fall I climbed it in mid-October, when the autumn colors were brilliant, but the views are
thrilling regardless of the season.
 
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Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
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The logging road is gone. I took my mountain bike up, hoping to hit the logging road. I rode up appr...
The logging road is gone. I took my mountain bike up, hoping to hit the logging road. I rode up approx. 1.5 miles and decided to turn around, as to not tick off any hikers. Last week there was a sign for "Hikers Only" and "CLOSED TO ALL OTHER USES", but someone ripped that sign down. But what is "All other uses?" Where does it specifically state "No Mountain bikes?", because until someone can specifically point to the terminology "No Mountain bikes", I will continue to ride there!
Today (July 27) I hiked it, all the way to the cutoff of Granite Lakes and Thompson Lake. The trail is great for hiking. And its amazing the work they did (and are still doing), looks like a big bridge is in the works.
 
Olympics -- North
Ripe berries
Bugs
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We planned to do a 2 night backpacking trip up the Sol Duc River Trail, with the first night at the ...
We planned to do a 2 night backpacking trip up the Sol Duc River Trail, with the first night at the Appleton Junction Campsite,and the second night at Sol Duc Park. We started at 10:30 and it was warming up fast. We decided to make the hike out after one night at Appleton Jct due to mosquitoes. We weren't expecting them to be so bad, as we've stayed here in the past with no problems. Next time, we'll bring the bug repellent! Otherwise the hike up was beautiful, and there were a lot of decent campsites along the way. I hope to return to do the High Divide someday.
 
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
No water source
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Trail in great shape, very few bugs in the morning. Not crowded, especially considering the crowds ...
Trail in great shape, very few bugs in the morning. Not crowded, especially considering the crowds across the street at Bridle Vail. Only problem, lots of clouds, could not see any of the nearby peaks even at 1PM.
 
Mt. Rainier -- SW - Cayuse Pass / Steven's Canyon
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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This hike was beautiful, as the wildflowers were in abundance. There was a little snow left, but mo...
This hike was beautiful, as the wildflowers were in abundance. There was a little snow left, but most had melted. The trails were well kept and it was easy hiking. Our day was clear - sunny and very warm. We had our sunscreen and brought water, but we should have added bug repellent, as the bugs were terrible through the first part of the hike. A lovely hike, all in all.
 
Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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I had looked up at Mt. Teneriffe many times from I-90 and contemplated doing the hike, but never fol...
I had looked up at Mt. Teneriffe many times from I-90 and contemplated doing the hike, but never followed through until today. Teneriffe is only two miles east of Mt. Si, as the raven flies, but it's a very different and somewhat more strenuous hike: via the old forest road route it's a 14 mile round trip, and by any route the elevation gain is over 3,800 ft.

So I parked at the "School Bus Turnaround" on SE Mt. Si Road, mine the second car there today, and at 6:45 AM set out on the now-closed forest road, beginning on a gentle uphill grade. In about a mile the road forks and well-meaning folks have set out stones in arrow arrangements pointing toward the right fork. There are no signs. Fortunately, I knew the right fork leads to
Kamikaze Falls and a possible steep scramble route up Teneriffe. But I'd been to the falls before, and intended to do the forest road hike today so I stayed left.

In less than two miles the grade steepens, and it varies from steep to steeper most of the rest of the way. At around two miles I noted boot paths heading west. There are no signs, but I surmise these may join up with the Talus Loop trail on Mt. Si.

Much further along, around the 3,600 ft level, a prominent but unsigned trail heads west toward the Mt. Si Haystack Basin. I stayed on the road, which continues to climb steeply for a while, then levels off before climbing some more. Mt. Teneriffe finally becomes visible, still looking discouragingly far off, and higher.

The road reaches a saddle, with views of distant North Cascade peaks, and I enjoyed the very welcome cool breeze flowing across from the north. At the saddle, partly-overgrown old roads follow the contour both east and west. Both show signs of boot paths, but neither offered the route I wanted today. Instead, I took a very sharp right turn onto a more rudimentary road that heads very steeply uphill. There are some interesting small rocks exposed for a short way along the route.

In about a quarter mile this final road comes to a dead end and a faint, but fairly obvious, boot path begins on the right side of the road. It climbs gently up then down over a forested knoll, then heads steeply uphill.

As I began this final push to the summit, I encountered a lone hiker headed down, presumably the driver of the car that was ahead of mine at the trailhead. The path remains in the forest until the final 50 feet or so, where it emerges abruptly onto the summit block of Teneriffe. It was 10:15 AM, and I had it all to myself.

The summit was somewhat buggy, as the trail had been for a while: not many mossies, but some flies, including a few of the small ones that want to bite, and - most numerous of all - some small wasps or winged ants. They seemed attracted to perspiration, and once I cooled down they left me alone.

The views were great. From Mt. Baker to the north and Rainier to the south and, faintly, the Olympics to the far west. Mailbox Peak was prominent across the valley of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie. And a host of central Cascade peaks were in view.

I enjoyed a full hour on the summit before beginning my descent. Temperatures had risen, and I was glad to be doing the route downhill. When I was over half way down I did meet another solo hiker headed up, only the second person I encountered all day. (Compare that to Mt. Si, where I might meet several dozen hikers on a summer weekday.)

The road/trail offered good footing, if occasionally stony, all the way. There was no mud, and snow was long gone. A number of late season wildflowers were in bloom. I noted coralroot, paintbrush, bluebells, foxglove, and several others.

This was an enjoyable hike, one I would do again.
 
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
Wildflowers blooming, Ripe berries
Bugs
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It was another great day to go hiking and I decided to do Lake Serene since I have yet to make it up...
It was another great day to go hiking and I decided to do Lake Serene since I have yet to make it up there yet. I don't know why I did not do this hike sooner! Took just over 2 hours to make it up to the lake and went over to "lunch rock" which was the nice views, but also same view every single person gets. We decided to keep going along the water across the rocks(Not the easiest, but still worth it) and went around the right side of the lake. If you go far enough and cross couple snow fields, you will see a lot of wild flowers in full bloom and you will get some of the best views of the lake. These is also a great big rock over there to jump off and cool off in the lake. I would highly suggest this hike if you were to go around and explore all of it. If you are just coming up to the beginning of the lake, its still nice, but its just not the same. Trail is also in good condition and took about two hours coming back which included the 1/2 mile each way detour up to the falls. I will note there are bugs, but its mostly flies and it isn't as bad as it could be, but beware.
 
North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Wildflowers blooming
Blowdowns, Overgrown, Snow on trail, Bugs
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This report is for the trail leading from the trailhead at the end of the North Fork Sauk road. F...
This report is for the trail leading from the trailhead at the end of the North Fork Sauk road.

From the trailhead, cross the bridge and walk 2.5 miles on the old Cadet Creek logging road. The first quarter mile or so is OK as far as road walks go; beyond that it’s boring and weedy, but you can walk fast on this road – do that, and you’ll be on the actual trail sooner than later!

As soon as you step foot from the road to the trail, you immediately feel more relaxed and the temperature is cooler. The farther you go, the bigger the trees – silver fir, gigantic and fragrant. A bit before Curry Gap, look closely for the Wilderness sign on your left. The sign is hard to see and looks much older than its 30 years; I always look for the Wilderness signs and I’m always as thrilled to see one as I’ve ever been – I’ll never get tired of them.

BIG views of Sloan Peak appear, and of the Monte Cristos - Cadet Peak, Goblin Mtn.

At Curry Gap is a broad, flat acres-big meadow with prattling creeklets chuggling through it. At this time it is filled with brilliant green hellebore and blooming marsh marigolds.

From here the trail switchbacks up, up, up before it hits a more level, yet still steepish, grade. The forest gets more beautiful and the mountain views more and more in-your-face, including long waterfalls tumbling from the Monte Cristos. Lots of day hikers turn around about a mile or so from Curry Gap, and this is a fine day hike choice.

We continued to just below Bald Eagle Peak, where the trail crosses to the north side of the ridge. Here are views of Glacier Peak, Pilot Ridge, Red Pass, the top of Mt. Saul and Indian Head Peak.

As mentioned in several other reports, there is a stubborn snow finger on the trail at Bald Eagle Peak that occasionally thwarts hikers and horse packers in early summer. At this time, it’s possible to scramble up-slope, cross where the snow finger is narrowest, and descend back down to the trail. The hassle was not worth it to us, who were content with the views there.

The tread of this trail is in fair condition. There are very few brushy areas, and only a couple of small logs across the trail. It’s interesting to note how far back the original cut slope is when the trail was originally built, and to compare it relative to the location of the current tread. Over the decades, the tread has crept several feet outward, and in some places it has worked its way as far to the edge as it can possibly go!

We saw notches in several trees that I understand have something to do with pine marten traps in the old days (I noticed these years ago on trees along the Quartz Creek trail as well).

There is a campsite at Curry Gap, and another a bit farther, next to a stream. There is a dry camp on the ridge that we snubbed. We dubbed it “Camp Dismal.”

Between Camp Dismal and the Stubborn Snow Finger (SSF) mentioned above are no other places to pitch a tent but the middle of the trail, which we did, not far from SSF.

Were I to do this trip again, I’d get to the camp at Long John Mountain, but of course SSF melts out at a different time each year. I have not seen that camp, and some reports claim it is dry, while others mention a nearby spring.

If a hiker wants to do this as a day trip, Curry Gap is a worthy destination, but if you can press on another mile and a half to make it a longer day, it’s worth the effort to see Sloan, the Monte Cristos, the mountains of Stevens Pass, and Mt. Rainier. If you can go 7 miles for an even longer trip, you’ll see Glacier Peak and friends
 
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North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Wildflowers blooming
Water on trail, Bugs
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Spectacular as always. Glad to get an early start, as it certainly warmed up today, and we were up ...
Spectacular as always. Glad to get an early start, as it certainly warmed up today, and we were up and down before it got too hot.
Trail in great shape. Obnoxious flies on top, so bring your bug juice. Flowers have not peaked yet. See lots budding, and remembering the meadows from last year not quite there yet. 360 degree views in all directions, with no obstructions of any of the peaks from clouds. A perfect day, with tired happy labradors resting now at home.
 
North Cascades -- East Slope
Wildflowers blooming
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This hike starts from near Cold springs campground, in the Loomis state forest. Cold Springs picnic...
This hike starts from near Cold springs campground, in the Loomis state forest. Cold Springs picnic area is high above the Sinlahekin valley, with a viewing platform, (handicapped accessible); and a road that is rough, but drive able. (much easier on regular cars than the Iron Gate road off Toat's Coulee) Access to Horseshoe Basin, and the boundary trail, PNWT is possible from here.... (and visible from the viewing platform)
   The trail is an old gated jeep road, and passes through an area of velvet green seeps, and rare plants, part of a DNR natural area preserve,
wandering through small scraggly pine forest, and then out into the open
with sage brush, an open ridge walking to your heart's content.
 
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Olympics -- East
Bugs
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ok, this hike was fucking brutal, but worth it. it was me and two other friends on the trip, all 19 ...
ok, this hike was fucking brutal, but worth it. it was me and two other friends on the trip, all 19 years old. we got a late start and ended up getting to the first trailhead at around 3:30 p.m.. it is about 3 miles (very hilly) to the real trailhead. the real trailhead is only a few yards past the second bridge but it was hidden behind some bushes so we ended up walking about a mile and a half up more hills to a ranger station. it was now about 5:30 and we talked to a volunteer ranger about where the trail was. he told us it was at the second bridge and asked if we were going up the next day. we said we were going up that day and he started laughing. we went back to the bridge and started climbing at 7:30.

i was at the back and got hit in the knee by a large rock that rolled down from my friend. the climb up was pretty terrible, and all of us were in very good shape, im not trying to brag but i did a marathon a couple weeks later, and this hike was tough. bring large water bottles and either steripen or iodine tabs, you dont want to carry a bunch of water up the climb. you are next to the river the entire time so getting the water isnt any trouble. at around 9 we had to use flashlights, we only had two for the three of us. we had to climb scale many rock walls by holding onto roots while biting a flashlight in our mouths to see. the hike seems to go on forever and it got pretty scary when the flashlights were the only lightsource. we got to the top at around 11. the moon was behind the mountain so we had no idea where we were going.

since we couldnt find the sites we followed a path that went up the big "snowmelt rock" mountain. we ended up cutting some brush and camping on the rocks, it was horrible. the tree of us all shared a two man tent, one friend didnt bring a sleeping bag (why the fuck) so we had to put one bag under us and the other over us.

the morning was beautiful. we could finally see the lake and it was breath taking, the bluest water i have ever seen. we at a loaf of bread and a can of spam for breakfast and headed down to the lake. we swam for about half an hour but it was very cold. we explored the area for a couple hours, walking on the perma snow, found two places to jump off into the water, one was about 7 feet the other about 12-14. we only jumped the short one, if you get hurt up there you are fucked. there were fish large enough to eat in the water.

the hike down was just over two hours but very tough, be careful to not fall.

what you need: a ton of food, large water bottles, water purifictation method, bug spray, knife, sleeping bag, goggles, inflatable pool toys, sturdy shoes (i used some broken in running shoes), flashlights, athletic tape, breathable clothing, small towel, swim clothing, camera.

if you are in bad shape dont do this hike, it wont be fun, you will get hurt. learn from us idiots that you need to start the hike in the morning and bring everything you need. do not let a friend go into this thinking you wont need a sleeping bag or you will suffer too. we learned our lesson and will be going again next year. you bring enough food consider staying two nights, we were still exhausted when we began the trip down that afternoon. not a hike for kids or dogs.
here are some pictures on imgur of the trip, eventually the link will expire so hopefully you read this before then. if not then let me just say it was a fun trip and the water was blue as Fuck http://imgur.com/lmu2gpU,pC[…]J,1k1E0EL,WhC6iPA,QiLPKL5#0
 
North Cascades -- Mount Baker Highway
Wildflowers blooming
Mudholes, Snow on trail, Bugs
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Began at the Mt. Baker Visitor center. Started on snow and crossed numerous snow fields before it b...
Began at the Mt. Baker Visitor center. Started on snow and crossed numerous snow fields before it became too steep and had to follow road. Followed road for about 1/4 mile before reaching stairs and long snow field up to Artist Point. Final leg to upper parking lot was on road as snow field covered trail and it was too high to reach.

After reaching Artist point, kicked steps down to the trail with Ptarmigan ridge. Most of trail was clear two snow fields, to the Chain Lakes junction. Another snow field down to the first lake, a couple of iffy crossings, but not too bad. Recommend poles for at least the next two weeks until melted out further.

Plenty of bugs, we kept moving, but every time we stopped, got eaten alive.
Iceberg lake still had quite a bit of snow. Plenty of water available for our dog (she is 16, so that was important) and the sharp stone trail became snow quite a bit so that was good for her feet as well.

Some mud mixed with snow up to the pass before heading down to Bagley Lakes. Two-three snow field crossings were a bit iffy but crossed them with little problem.

4 hour round trip. Just over 6 miles with most of the elevation gain in the beginning and then up to Herman pass. You can choose three different starts--Heather Meadows (most elevation gain), visitor center, or Artist Point. You can also choose to begin at Bagley Lakes or with the Wild Goose Trail. Great hike for the most gain--alpine wilderness, two major peaks, tarns, lakes, snow...
 
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - East
Blowdowns, Bugs, Road to trailhead inaccessible
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*The trailhead from the Lake Wenatchee side is close due to storm damage/timber sale from this past ...
*The trailhead from the Lake Wenatchee side is close due to storm damage/timber sale from this past winter's storm.. according to the USFS, it will likely remain closed into August.

So... I came back around to Hwy 2 and drove up to Smithbrook Rd. up and over Rainy Pass. Didn't get on the trail until 4PM... The road is in pretty good condition.

It was a hot day. 93 in Lake Wenatchee.. a more tolerable, 81 at the trail head. No clouds, and a light breeze. The trail is entirely shaded for the steepest part.. after that, it was mostly shaded for me being later in the PM, but if hiking in the middle of the day, you'll get some sun.

As is mentioned by most everyone, this trail is short, but STEEP! It's really not much of a trail for the first half mile.. more of a scramble almost straight up the side of the mountain. To make matters worse, there are about 20 trees down along this first 1/2 mile or so.. nothing terrible to get over, but when you're huffing an puffing, climbing a steep hill, up and over or around a tree isn't alot of fun.

After that, no more trees down, and the trail starts to look more like a trail..still steep though. The trail also has a decent amount of roots and rocks in the lower half... the upper half is better, but it's also rutted out pretty good, and people are making new trails on either side of the rut.

At about the 1 mile mark or so, you get to the wilderness boundary sign. After one more short steep section, the trail mellows out a little.. then a little more, with only 1 or 2 more steeper short climbs.

The black flies coming up the first mile were horrid (thankfully, a hiker leaving when I arrived at the TH informed me of this). Luckily, I had a head net, and they weren't biting too much.

Once at the lake, the mosquitoes came out.. they were bad. I only had about 9" of skin exposed on my legs.. with repellant on, I am still nursing about 20 bites today.

The lake... wow. Absolutely beautiful! There were 2 guys there fishing, but they left right when I was arriving, so I had the place to myself. They were also the only other ones I saw on the hike. I walked around to the snowfield on the SW side of the lake. Beware, parts of the footpaths are a little muddy and wet.

I wanted to take a dip, but it was already around 6PM, so I just didn't have time.. plus, the mosquitoes were a deterrent to not get naked.

I wandered over across the outlet to the overlook of Lake Theseus (only a couple hundred yds from the trail), some 1000 ft or so below the ridge. Again, beautiful!

I was a little concerned about coming down, as I am a tad out of shape. Got down rather quickly, but talk about jelly legs. Really had to be careful as that's where most accidents occur are coming downhill.

All in all, a wonderful hike. Not really any views on the hike itself, but you see the stream a few times (including a couple waterfalls)... and the reward at the lake is worth every bit of the hike. I have to admit, in a perfect world, I'd prefer this hike be a mile or two longer to make it less steep and safer.. but it's also nice it doesn't mess around and just gets there, too. I had to keep telling myself that the entire way up.

Lastly, I have a verizon cell phone.. I was able to get service for about 75% of the hike. I was more curious than anything to see if I could get a signal.

p.s. Thanks to the lovely Robin at the Leavenworth Ranger Station for her information on the road closure!
 
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Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
Bugs
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Trails were dry as course, and not a lot of water coming over the falls. I'd also warn there were qu...
Trails were dry as course, and not a lot of water coming over the falls. I'd also warn there were quite a few bugs. Not bad if you were moving, but they were annoying if you stopped.

Also be alert, it seems the sign for the new switchback trail to the falls is gone. The post is there, but the sign is broken off.
 
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
No water source
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This hike had been on the Geezer Patrol list for many months and since the submitting member could n...
This hike had been on the Geezer Patrol list for many months and since the submitting member could not attend, the rest of his good friends decided to do it without him. The short summary for us old guys is "mildly epic". Upon arrival at the trailhead after 4 miles of magic fingers on FS 4930, "Sweet Meat" stripped off his shirt for a DEET bath, whereupon the entire party was immediately consumed by things that buzz. We looked like a dumpster behind McDonalds as the feasting on our bodies began in earnest. The buggers were hiding in the craters of my cellulite before protection could be applied. Motion was the only answer and we took off past all the "Don't" trail head signs courtesy of your tax dollars.

You are well aware that this trail is all about "UP" right from the start but shortly, it becomes a long meander along Box Creek with nice footing underneath. The forest undergrowth is lush with plenty of available water for supporting a habitat of flies to share the cool morning air with you. The creek is scenic however with lots of good photo ops and rest spots to rinse off the headband. As described, the trail suddenly gets mamma mia steeper at 2.5 miles in. From here, there is no respite till you hit the lake - its is simply up,up and more up on roots/rock staircasing that appears to be the spring melt drainage. Good views off to the NW of Hibox Peak help with the pain along the way as the flies bounce off your skin with DEET on their toenails. Once you get to the big "falls". its just another 30 min of straight up before the lake comes into view.

Twas easy to find a quiet luncheon spot to admire the lake in spite of being passed by 5 groups of more youthful hikers enroute. We longingly looked across at the 450' ridge that must be climbed before achieving the renowned Rampart Lakes tarns. Gotta save that for a cooler day with more energy or an alternate path thru the Lake Laura Backdoor.

This is a beautiful hike. Stated trail length by the FS was 8 miles RT. My Garmin 62S reported 10.2 miles RT on the Track and 11 miles RT on the Odometer - don't know what is correct but it was a long day for us old ones. Left the TH at 0815 and returned by 1600 with about an hour for lunch. The bugs finally quieted down in the PM - probably a siesta before the evening slaughter. With the warm, 80 deg day, "Fat Boy" burned thru 3 liters of carried water. Plenty of decent water sources along the way for pumps or Steripens so be a bit aware as the "cliff" is breezeless with a North wind and well exposed to morning and afternoon sun as you grunt your way up. Youth would help a lot as well.
 
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North Cascades -- Methow Valley
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After driving all the way to the end of Lookout Mountain Road (don't believe what GPS in you car mig...
After driving all the way to the end of Lookout Mountain Road (don't believe what GPS in you car might tell you, go all the way to the end), park the car at the big open spot before the last U-turn and start hiking up the road, which quickly turns from two wheeled path to a single track hiking trail. FS road 200 was easily doable in our Audi SUV. In late July it was hot, but the wildflowers were in bloom and the trees shaded the trail in spots, creating nice little places to rest from the pretty steep first .75 miles of trail. Majestic views of mountain tops are visible, as is the Methow Valley below all along the trail. Lush green grass hides chipmunks that frequently alarmed us by rustling the grass beside us as we walked. Pretty purple and yellow flowers were out in all their glory. Reaching the top, you are greeted by dramatic tree snags and of course the lookout itself, a deserted forest service lookout. You can climb to its platform and walk all around for 360 degree views of the Methow, North Cascades in the distance, and the central Cascades to the south. The Lookout had lots of flies, so we hightailed it back down after taking in the scenery.

We clocked it at 3 miles round trip from where we parked, and it took us 1.5 hours to go up and back. Pretty good climb up makes for a pretty quick return.
 
North Cascades -- West Slope
Wildflowers blooming
Mudholes, Snow on trail
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Fabulous sunny day for a hike to Anderson Lake! The trails were in great shape with a couple muddy s...
Fabulous sunny day for a hike to Anderson Lake! The trails were in great shape with a couple muddy spots and just a little patch of snow at the top of one of the meadows. Not dangerous at all, and actually very refreshing! The lake was cool and clear and I was the only person there. The wild flowers were out as well as the bugs, but although they buzzed around me I didn't get any bites. Bug spray is probably well advised, however. Be sure to avoid the hole in the one vehicle wooden bridge on the drive up. Although I drove over it twice, missing the hole both times,I probably would have gotten a flat tire if I'd hit it. Be sure to take your NW Forest Pass. The car next to me had a ticket on it.
 
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Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Bugs
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Trail is very dry, dusty, and hot this time of year, but otherwise in great condition. Still some s...
Trail is very dry, dusty, and hot this time of year, but otherwise in great condition. Still some snow and standing water above 5000', which of course leads to a terrible amount of bugs at and near the summit. The few bits of snow and water on the trail are pretty insignificant and shouldn't pose any problems.

The 3800' elevation gain is about all you need to know about the difficulty of the hike. Obviously it's steep, but not super-steep like Mailbox Peak for example. Good conditioning hike.
 
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Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Quick after-hours run up to Putrid Pete's Peak. We had a party of 5 and left the parking lot a litt...
Quick after-hours run up to Putrid Pete's Peak. We had a party of 5 and left the parking lot a little after 6 PM. We moved at a brisk pace up the trail to the clearing and followed the ridgeline up, summiting around 8:20. We didn't stay long at the summit because the bugs and flies were quite bad, bring your mosquito net and some bug spray. Nice flowers in bloom on the top, and spectacular views.

We headed back down to clear the ridge and locate the path before the sun fully set. We did a bit of navigating to locate where we left the trail for the ridgeline, and burned a bit of time there. If you're doing this after hours, use your altimeter/gps/etc, to ensure you can relocate as it starts to look different at twilight. Once we were back in the woods on the trails, the headlamps came out and we pushed down. We were back at the cars by 11, but this was a pretty fast group. We had allocated more time.

We weren't filtering so I wasn't looking, but I don't remember obvious water sources higher up on the trail.

Great little trip for a Tuesday night! (Aside from crazy bugs!)

 
North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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A wonderful sunny day with great trail conditions and very little snow. The only detractor was the f...
A wonderful sunny day with great trail conditions and very little snow. The only detractor was the flies on the way down, but if you kept moving they were less bothersome. The snow breaking off the cliff walls across the valley, at the beginning of the hike was really interesting, mini avalanches! Will be back to do some more exploring in the future.
 
North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway
Wildflowers blooming
Overgrown, Water on trail, Snow on trail
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Challenging hike for the first 2-3 miles through the forest and avalanche chute switchbacks. I r...
Challenging hike for the first 2-3 miles through the forest and avalanche chute switchbacks.

I recommend trying to time your hike so that you aren't walking the avalanche chute during the middle of the day (although I think this is how it works out for most people) Consider that the section of your hike from about 30 min in to about 1.5/2 hours. You probably spend a good hour to 1.5 hours in the avalanche chute (meadow? would you call it that) lots of grasses/flowers overgrowing trail and a little bit of stinging nettle. The reason to recommend avoiding it during the hot hours is the southern exposure that beats you up, no shade for nearly the whole climb.

Weather was perfect for our overnight not a cloud in the sky and views all the way to Rainier. There was still some intermittent snow on the trail starting up at the elevation where your traverse out of the avalanche chute and onto the high steppe.

We had to cross a large snowfield to get to the Hidden lake saddle and parts of the trail up to the Lookout were covered in snow but you can see that through the years people have developed other off-shoot trails to make it up there.

On July 23rd, the lake was still totally socked in with snow and still frozen in the middle with thawed edges, see pics. We camped up near the saddle because there was pure vertical snowfields down to the camping area above the lake. Could be a benefit for those not interested in camping inside the Nat Park jurisdiction which starts right at the saddle.

If you haven't been up to the lookout its worth the visit but ditch your pack at the NP sign before heading up. If you want to sleep in the cabin, its definitely got everything you need including cookstove. You can thank Friends of Hidden Lake Lookout on Facebook, they have definitely taken great care of the place. Its first come, first served so check trail ledger just a hundred feet from parking lot/trailhead to see if anyone is ahead of you thats planning on sleeping there. Likewise, tell people if you're going to use it.
 
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - East
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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On our way in we passed a trail crew clearing the blowdowns. The meadow is beautiful but you have t...
On our way in we passed a trail crew clearing the blowdowns. The meadow is beautiful but you have to share. Even midweek there were three medium sized groups at the campsites as you enter the meadow. Meant to make it up Larch Knob but the kids were just too pooped. Flies on the trail, mosquitos in the meadow. Lots of deer, marmots during the day and bats at twilight. Go now before the flowers disappear.
 
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Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
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The North Fork Road has been recently graded and it was an easy 50 minute drive from the end of the ...
The North Fork Road has been recently graded and it was an easy 50 minute drive from the end of the pavement to the trailhead. The trail has been recently brushed and the section of chest high bracken ferns is completely clear. It's a beautiful hike comparable to Granite Mountain but without the crowds and highway noise. Go now before the road deteriorates and the trail gets overgrown again.
 
Olympics -- SW Washington
Ripe berries
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At Fort Columbia, there are several trails shown on maps that appear to climb their way up Scarborou...
At Fort Columbia, there are several trails shown on maps that appear to climb their way up Scarborough Hill, but only one was open and passable. Military Road Trail was 1.6 miles from where it leaves the northeast corner of Fort Columbia to where the trail is closed just past the summit; so a 3.2 mile round trip. Don’t let the name fool you, it has not been a road for over 50 years, no payment and is now just a well-kept grass covered trail fit for the entire family. We parked in the large northwest parking lot of Fort Columbia and walked past the historic buildings and museums to the trail head.

My sister Leslie and I started the hike under clouds and the sun only peaked out for a moment as the hike ended; as you would expect on the Wet Coast. The trail was firm with only a trace of mud near the top. Mosquitoes appeared near the summit so keep the repellent handy. The beauty of this hike is in the nature around you. Real old-growth trees, ripe berries along the path and everywhere green and growing things. Please don’t eat the wild-cucumber “Marah oreganus”, it’s not an eatable manroot.

At several places, the Military Road Trail converges with other trails on their way up. The word from the locals is that most are overgrown and not passable. Not wanting to don long pants, we stayed on the fun path to the top. Just past the summit, you move from the Military Road Trail to the Canyon Creek Trail, but that ends in less than a ½ mile at a field of blow-downs. We had hoped to get a view of the Columbia from that side of the hill, but not today and I suspect not for a while.

This was a great couple of hours, an elevation gain of some 600 feet and we didn’t see another soul on the trail; their loss.
 
Central Cascades -- Leavenworth Area
Wildflowers blooming
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My friend Ken and I started on Chatter Creek Trail at 6:50 am to get an early start on a hot day. W...
My friend Ken and I started on Chatter Creek Trail at 6:50 am to get an early start on a hot day. We wanted to see how far we could get towards Lake Edna and Cape Horn Pass. The trail had been recently cleared of the larger brush. Smaller brush is over the trail but is easily passable. The trail however is brutally steep and rough. Footing is almost always a challenge if not difficult. The trail climbs wickedly steep with a few short breaks to the pass adjacent to Grindstone Mountain. 4200 feet in 4 miles. Luckily we were in the shade most of the time due to the early start. We moved slowly and made the pass in 4 hours. View in the upper basin are great. Wild flowers abundant on the upper slopes. Water plentiful.
We ate lunch looking over at Cape Horn and over the glorious lupine, heather and alpine larch meadows in between. The best part of the trip were these meadows. This basin at the head of Index Creek rivals Headlight Basin for it's larches (only the access is much more strenuous here). Some larches were 3 feet in diameter. They must be ancient.
We dropped in to the Larches then pushed on to Lake Edna and Cape Horn. Now in alpine country. There was one lonesome gnarled white bark pine near the pass. Also found alpine Lupine. Views included Ladies Pass, Snowgrass Mountain and possibly Glacier Peak. Headed back at 2pm.
The descent down Chatter Creek basin was as difficult as the ascent. I ended up with blisters on my hands from braking with my poles. We staggered back to the car at 6pm. 11 hours, 13 miles+-, 4900+ feet elevation gain in, 700 feet elevation gain out.
Not recommended for horses!
 
Mt. Rainier -- SE - Longmire / Paradise
Snow on trail, Bugs
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Decided to spend my furlough day by taking a day hike to Camp Muir. Myself and five other friends de...
Decided to spend my furlough day by taking a day hike to Camp Muir. Myself and five other friends departed Paradise about 9:45. The skies were clear and it did not take long for it to get hot. We put a lot of sunscreen on throughout the hike. This was my second time hiking to Muir and was surprised that we did not get into snow for quite awhile, not sure what elevation. There were not a lot of hikers on a Monday, but quite a few touristy types that hiked to a common area with a decent lookout. I was the only one that did not bring poles, have never used them before. That will change from now on. One of the people I just met on this hike let me borrow hers just to see how they worked. I couldn't believe the relief on my thighs. We paced ourselves, weren't attempting to break and land speed records. It took us approx. 4 hours. There were quite a few camps at Muir for hikers who were planning to summit the next morning. On such a clear day we could see St Helens, Adams, Hood, and I believe Mt Washington or Jefferson in Oregon.
The last 1000 feet of altitude really slowed us down and it got super hot as the sun was beating down on us. We all wore full length clothes, but quite a few hikers wore shorts, which wasn't a bad idea.
We brought large garbage sacks to glissade down on and it was great when we were able to do it. There wasn't all that many areas available to do it, but it was fun.
We did have one guy that didn't make it all the way up, he had been having leg issues. But he did make it up to about the 7500-8000 foot level. You have to be in fairly decent shape and health to make it to Muir, for sure.
On a hot day like that, water was a huge necessity. I brought 3 quarts and ended up giving one pint to a friend. He had brought a filter system in his pack, so on the way back he was able to draw from a stream and fill two bottles back up. That's another investment that needs to be made. He said this filter system is good for one million gallons, obviously more then enough for our lifetime.
There pesky little bees for most of the hike up, they didn't land on us, just buzzed our faces.
Got back to the vehicles, headed to Brunos in Eatonville for dinner and a beer, then headed back to Tacoma, Roy, Dupont, Olympia.
We made an agreement to do this hike every year now. We ranged in age from 37-48. Happy trails.
 
North Cascades -- Mount Baker Highway
Wildflowers blooming
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Hot clear weather, almost no snow, lots of flowers, just a few bugs on High Divide, only one other h...
Hot clear weather, almost no snow, lots of flowers, just a few bugs on High Divide, only one other hiker, trail in good condition. What more to ask for!

Well, the single lane access road #3060 to the Welcome Pass trailhead is really narrow, you have to drive slowly and hope no one will be coming the other way. Only one other car at the TH so no problem parking.

Northwest Forest Pass not required here (even though the old sign says it is) because the parking lot has no picnic table or outhouse. In fact the MBSNF website says no NWFP is required, but does say there is a toilet, which is incorrect, unless it is cleverly hidden. I checked everywhere around the parking lot and access road from the initial sign. Even found the old dam on a small creek to the east.

Easy trail #698 to start for a couple of miles, then it turns off the old road and goes uphill mostly steeply. You just have to take it slowly and pace yourself. After a couple of hours of this you begin to get a few peeks through the trees at some of the mountains to the south, Baker, Shuksan, etc.

Finally you emerge from the forest at an unmarked 3-way junction. Left is the High Divide Trail #630 going west towards Excelsior Pass and Peak, and trail #670. Right is the unofficial trail going northeast along the ridge towards Yellow Aster Butte.

Having started a bit later than I wanted to, and because I had been on the High Divide Trail before, I decided to try the trail towards YAB. At first it is more steepness up to the ridge, then lots of great views like on the High Divide, which it geographically is a part of.

I got a couple of miles along it, stopped for a lunch break (during which a military style chopper went overhead--maybe border patrol). No shelter from the sun up here: best I could do was get partial shade from backing into a bush for lunch break. Only one tiny snow patch to cross.

By this time I had to return, down the way I had come up. In this weather I was glad I had brought a hat and sunglasses, and long sleeve shirt and long pants. At this altitude you can fry yourself without these, and sunscreen.
 
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North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Wildflowers blooming, Ripe berries
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This was a great day hike for me and my son. We set out in the early morning, which gave us plenty ...
This was a great day hike for me and my son. We set out in the early morning, which gave us plenty of time to relax and enjoy the kiln before heading back.

The trails were dry and clear and the traffic was low, although it did pick up in the afternoon.
 
North Cascades -- East Slope
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Matt & I spent 4 days backpacking in this magical part of the Pasaytan Wilderness Area. We spent ...
Matt & I spent 4 days backpacking in this magical part of the Pasaytan Wilderness Area.

We spent the night in Twisp, then drove up through Tonasket & Loomis, arriving at the trailhead by 2pm. The last 6 miles of Forest Service Road were very rough, and took about an hour to drive, even in a relatively high-clearance Honda Pilot. Bugs (black flies & horseflies) at the Iron Gate trailhead were absolutely awful (or thriving, depending on your perspective). We donned mosquito head nets and got on the trail as quickly as possible, and though we were hungry did not stop to eat our breakfast wraps and fresh fruit from the Glover Market (yum!) until we were about 45 minutes up the trail and could stand to lift the bug nets long enough to eat!

I hadn't hiked here in 27 years, and the 5-year-old burn (Tripod fire) is beginning to green up, with shrub willow joining the fireweed and undergrowth. There was waist-high shade through the burned pines, and views up to Sunny Pass for most of the hike.

We camped at Sunny Pass, a fabulous site with views to the west (North Cascades) and east (Okanogan Highlands out to the Selkirks?), a good "kitchen area" and a great tent site that turned out to be...a favorite sleeping place for the deer as well. After watching the full moon rise from our tent door we retired.

Shortly after retiring we woke up to the sound of footsteps. After a few seconds of breath-holding, we realized it was the sound of deer. The deer tromped outside our tent all night; they even licked our hiking poles and stole my hiking shirt off the line for the salt! We had decided to camp at Sunny Pass and day hike out of our camp, so for subsequent nights we moved the tent to a nearby and less deer-popular hill, while keeping the kitchen area & our fabulous dining-rock-with-a-view.

Day hiked up Arnold Peak and to Smith Lake one day; west past Louden Lake and Rock Mountain to the "edge of our Green Trails map" the next, completely smitten by the 360 degree views, rolling hills, peaks you can walk up, and meadows and meadows of wildflowers: penstemon, paintbrush, lupine, columbine, all kinds of worts, bog orchids, shooting starts, sedum of many types and colors. I used up my camera battery in two days (ugh! Pack the spare battery--I had just learned the same lesson on a cycle tour in the gulf islands a week before!)

In spite of not-sleeping with deer and early tent retirement due to bugs (yes, the mosquitoes were plentiful too) it was the highlight of our summer, and an excellent area for setting up camp & day-hiking from there (particularly good for folks like us who have not yet joined the ultra-light revolution)

When we left, we said to each other: I don't know when we'll be back, but what a blessing to know that this is federally protected wilderness, and will "always" be there...even if we're not.
 
North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway
Wildflowers blooming
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This is a great hike if you can work out the logistics. We started at the Bridge Creek Trailhead on...
This is a great hike if you can work out the logistics. We started at the Bridge Creek Trailhead on Rainy Pass and hiked to High Bridge, north of Stehekin. We took our time (5-7 miles per day), so ended up staying on the trail two nights.

The trail from Rainy Pass to Bridge Creek Camp itself is great - well-maintained, few bugs, water easy to get to. Our first camp was at South Fork Camp, which is right next to a river. Mosquitoes and flies in camp a little bothersome, but not bad. Camp site has a bear line, fire ring and metal fire pit as well, plus lots of room to spread out.

We spent the second night at Bridge Creek, which until 10 years ago was a camp one could drive to. Now it is only accessible by foot / horse, but it is still well-maintained, with picnic tables, bear boxes, and even an outhouse!

There are two choices for the final leg from Bridge Creek to High Bridge; the PCT (one some maps labeled the Old Wagon Road), or the old dirt road that was washed out 10 years ago. The Green Trails map still shows the old dirt road as a viable option. Because we had done the PCT section 2 years ago, we decided to try the washed out road. There are signs on either end warning that the trail is not maintained, and the signs are not lying! If you like to scramble around blowdown, climb along a rock face over the river, and even wade a small section of river at one point, go ahead and take the old road! There is really hardly a trail left at all; the PCT is a much better route!
 
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Olympics -- North
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When the driving directions say to turn just before the park entrance, they aren't kidding; less tha...
When the driving directions say to turn just before the park entrance, they aren't kidding; less that 50ft I would say. If there is a lineup at the entrance, you might have to wait to turn up the trailhead road. The trail is a steady uphill but the shade kept us reasonably cool. The trail is in great shape and not at all crowded on a Monday afternoon. There was a great picture of the lake in a recent WTA magazine article and it really looks just like that. Three young hikers took the opportunity to swim out to the island and they seemed to enjoy themselves. I did not test the water temperature myself but there was still some snow on the surrounding mountainsides so I doubt it was comfortably warm.
 
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - East
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Left Phelps Creek/Spider Meadow trail parking lot on Monday with perfect weather. Spent the first n...
Left Phelps Creek/Spider Meadow trail parking lot on Monday with perfect weather. Spent the first night camped on top of Spider Gap looking down into the Spider Meadow valley. The breeze on top of the Gap kept the bugs at bay. Left early the next morning with crampons/ice axes and climbed up the Spider snow field/glacier and down the snow field next to the Lyman Glacier to join the trail to Lyman Lake. The bugs were out in force at Lyman but not a problem if you kept moving. We continued on to Cloudy Pass, Suiattle Pass, Middle Ridge and set up camp for night #2 at Buck Creek Pass. A long day but worth it for the amazing views of Glacier Peak and the surrounding wilderness. While camping at Buck Creek Pass we had several curious deer visit our camp throughout the night. Bugs were not too bad. The next morning we packed up and headed down the Buck Creek River trail to Trinity where we parked our second car. This was 30 miles of dramatic and constantly changing scenery - well worth it!
 
Central Cascades
Wildflowers blooming
Snow on trail, Bugs
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The Bald Eagle Trail is one I had not hiked before. The NF Sauk Trail, just 3 miles down the road, i...
The Bald Eagle Trail is one I had not hiked before. The NF Sauk Trail, just 3 miles down the road, is very popular. It leads to White Pass or Pilot Ridge. The Bald Mountain Trail gets a lot less visitor. Many folks hike it as part of several possible loop trips. We did it as an in and out overnighter. My full report on my website gets into all the details of our backpacking trip. Here, I'll provide a much shorter and concise version.

The road is open to the trailhead. The route starts on an old logging road. 2.5 miles of long ago shut down road. Some of it is open and some has brush narrowing the route. Fast and easy hiking gaining only 550'. The real trail starts in an old clear cut that is reforested. Soon older and much larger trees predominate. A nice forest walk. Openings in the forest provide views of Sloan Peak and the Monte Cristo Peaks. Lots of columbine and some other wildflowers in bloom.

Near Curry Gap the forest gives way to meadows. Very lush this time of year. Curry Gap is at 4 miles with 1550' gained. The Quartz Creek Trail drops down the other side of the gap. We headed higher on the Bald Eagle Trail. Only a few small logs down on our entire route. The trail climbs to the ridge top and become very dry. Last good creek was 350' below the ridge. We continued on through forests and meadows as the trail hugs the steep slope. The route is all on the sunny west side of the ridge until reaching Bald Eagle Mountain. The trail switches to the north side and we reached a gully still full of hard snow. We did not bring ice axes and the run out is far below into boulders. We chose hot to chance it. It will be another few weeks before the snow is all gone. At 7 miles in and 5200' it was the first snow on the trail.

The saddle before Bald Eagle Mountain did provide the only flat ground we had seen for several miles. Having seen only one group all day we chose to camp on the trail. A first for me. Great evening views of Glacier Peak and a nice sunset.

Day two we hiked out. This trail provided great views of Sloan Peak, the Monte Cristo Peaks, Glacier Peak, many peaks along the Cascade Crest, and local views of Pilot Ridge and nearby peaks. The trail is never steep and though narrowing in places is in good shape overall. A good place for solitude near some very crowded trails.

My full report with all 39 annotated photos has been posted on my website at: http://www.hikingnorthwest.com. Go to "Trips - 2013" on the left margin.
 
Olympics -- SW Washington
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Weather was in the mid 60's, Fog. Some clearing by afternoon. Windy. Nice trails. Very well marked...
Weather was in the mid 60's, Fog. Some clearing by afternoon. Windy. Nice trails. Very well marked and maintained. Several Trails at the park. Many things to see and do.
 
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
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Looking for a close in hike with some bang for the buck or two that gasoline costs. A friend has in...
Looking for a close in hike with some bang for the buck or two that gasoline costs. A friend has initially suggested it but I was not inclined to do Humpback's rather ample incline or rather steep trail. But on hot days, its almost fully shady aspect makes it a winner even if brutally steep.

It has not changed, maybe a bit more defined, than from when I first did it in 2006 and again in 2009. Hike the road for maybe a mile from the yellow gate and find the trail ascending a short sandy slope into the forest on the right(do not take an earlier similar trail early in the road excursion).

Then it just goes UP and UP with more and more up. There might be relief in a few horizontals. You pass along the upper edge of two or three short boulder fields and more forest and then hit the boulder field which is the summit ridge.

Enjoy the views to the north, east and west recalling the view of Rainier a bit lower down. The valleys were still filled with fog when we hit the summit around 11.

Down is a thigh-pounder.

Good day for a hike. This north side forest slope does not seem to support many flowers.

And I must say, reading about bugs, bugs everywhere - NONE. Very nice.
 
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
Wildflowers blooming
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The 9 mile gravel road to the trailhead is very well maintained. Any vehicle can get there. The '...
The 9 mile gravel road to the trailhead is very well maintained. Any vehicle can get there. The 'road closed' signs at the turnoff worried me, but the closure does not prevent you from getting to the trailhead from the Money Creek Campground. At the trailhead you can pay a $5 use fee if you do not have a NW Forest Pass, and you'll need to fill out a permit card. Photos from my hike are shared publicly on Google+ (Brent Ponto)
The trail itself is in fantastic condition. Very well maintained - no washouts. The trail was dry with only a couple very small muddy spots. Bugs were a problem if I wasn't moving, but not too bad. When I was on the lakeshore the bugs were not a problem at all. My dog and I went in the lake to cool off. The water was much warmer than I'd expected. Going on a Monday was a good idea - I only saw five other people; two parties of 2, and one person who was starting a 2-3 day trek to North Bend. That would be very cool to do someday.
 
Mt. Rainier -- SE - Longmire / Paradise
Snow on trail, Bugs
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I had a feeling this wouldn't be as easy as many had made it out to be. I was just hoping, that I wo...
I had a feeling this wouldn't be as easy as many had made it out to be. I was just hoping, that I would be able to get to Camp Muir.
We started the day early as possible, around 6:30 am at the Climbing Station at Paradise. The ranger on duty said we could get a free permit to camp, as two were issued per day there. Our camping was to be somewhere in the vicinity of Moon Rocks.
Our assent was slow as we were not in the best fitness as to our sedentary jobs and minimal time to keep active. I had pushed myself two weeks prior on my bike everyday to work (around 30 miles RT) and it made a big difference in my abilities on our ascent.
Once we reached the snow, it had warmed up considerably and it was a glorious day on the mountain.
As we hiked the glacier we encountered attack bees and they did not relent until the sun went down.
We had pasted Moon Rocks and were close, but my hiking partner was feeling ill. We decided to camp for the night just to the west of Cathedral Rocks. We set up our tent on the snow as the rocks nearby did not provide any surface suitable to a tent. My partner promptly when to sleep at 6pm. I joined him at 8.
I woke around midnight to a full moon. It was very cold and I had needed to pee. My socks had been soaked and I left them in the tent next to me and still they were freezing cold, my spares hidden somewhere in my pack. I did not want to wake Tony so I stuck my bare feet in my boots and dealt with it. I reached for my poles and found them frozen solid in the ground. The slushy snow was gone and I would have to wait until morning before I got my poles out. Great. Now I get to do a balancing act among the rocks to find a place to go.
I went back to the tent and tried to sleep, finding out I needed a better sleeping bag and pad for our next try at this.
6 AM: I ventured out of my tent again. The sun started to peak out from behind Cathedral Rocks. I was cold, but my feet felt worse. I took my shoes off and stood on a rock to watch the sunrise. (Tony was still sleeping.)
I finally roused Tony and he made me some espresso in his tiny machine (he just had to bring it). As we woofed down our breakfast and drank our coffee we decided not to continue. It was not an easy decision but he just didn't feel very good and my miserable feet were agreeing with him.
So we headed down. The trip down was tiring also, but we had a few breaks with where we could glissade with a few trash bags I had on me. The one disadvantage being a frozen butt. But it was worth it!
We hope to re-do this hike in the coming year. Hopefully more prepared than last time.
 
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Mt. Rainier -- NE - Sunrise / White River
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Great hike with lots of wildflowers.....not much wildlife though. I took my girls (13 & 9) and it wa...
Great hike with lots of wildflowers.....not much wildlife though. I took my girls (13 & 9) and it was a little tougher hike than I had thought. 2 hours each way for us with a couple breaks. The hike back out has some pretty steep hills to hike back up after packing in. Lots of bugs the whole way in. We stayed at site #1 at Upper Palisades lake which is the better site of the two. It's close to water and bear pole.....long trek to the toilet though. Will do this hike again next year! Trail was in great shape
 
Olympics -- East
Wildflowers blooming
Water on trail, Bugs
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For our all-girls backpacking trip, we opted to head over to the Olympics early on a Saturday. We di...
For our all-girls backpacking trip, we opted to head over to the Olympics early on a Saturday. We did the plane crash, Tubal Cain, camped overnight above Buckhorn Lake, and then hiked up a little ways on the pass the next morning. We anticipated bad traffic due to the Lavender festival, but it really wasn't bad. We mostly avoided it by taking the Bremerton ferry from Seattle and using the extra time to drink beer and play cards on the ferry. (Win!)

Gorgeous weather for the trip. The road in is long, pot-holed, windy, and a little treacherous as you must anticipate drivers coming around the other direction (the road is just wide enough for two cars to creep by at a slow pace.) However, it wasn't anything my Subaru couldn't handle, and I saw a few 2WD cars at the trailhead.

I love the pace of this trail. There are no steep, overwhelming switchbacks--just a long and slow incline. Much of the trail is shaded, offering relief from the sun. The rhododendrons are done--just a few crusehd blooms on the trail. The Tull Canyon sign marking the site to the plane crash is easy to miss from this direction--keep an eye out for it. That part is a little steep, but worth it. The plane site crash is pretty incredible, I can't believe how much plane there is.

From there we checked out the artifacts farther down the trail at Tubal Cain, and noted a lot of people dayhiking and overnighting there. We pushed on to Buckhorn Lakes. The mild switchbacks on the way up are dotted with at least ten different species of gorgeous wildflowers. Definitely don't just stop at Tubal Cain, the wildflowers alone are worth it! Only two other groups were overnighting at the lake. Word to the wise: for the best camp site, go right up the river when the trail turns left for the lake. The best camp sites are upriver, where the moving water is. The area is flat, and the moving water means less mosquitos. There's hardly any good camping on the lake.

It was pretty buggy, but honestly--really good for July. It wasn't enough to worry about as long as you weren't staying by the water in the daytime and came prepared with bug spray.

We camped beneath the stars and headed out the next day. We ditched our backpacks at the junction between the pass and the lake, then hiked about 40 minutes up the pass til we got to a level area with a gorgeous overlook. I wanted to keep going all the way up the pass, but my smart friends reminded me that we had a ferry to catch :)

An excellent hike overall. This hike has a little of everything. Highly recommended.
 
 
Mt. Rainier -- SE - Longmire / Paradise
Wildflowers blooming
Water on trail, Snow on trail, Bugs
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I started off, I think on Alta Vista then got on skyline. For a first timer, it was a little confus...
I started off, I think on Alta Vista then got on skyline. For a first timer, it was a little confusing (signage I mean). I just kept going up, was just wearing trail shoes, shorts, t-shirt and camera gear in backpack. I past several snow fields on my trek up and the trail was wet but manageable with my gear. I even saw people trekking it in flip flops and sandals, don't know what they were thinking. The weather was great! Don't forget your shades, water, snacks, walking stick and good shoes.
 
Mt. Rainier -- NE - Sunrise / White River
Wildflowers blooming
Snow on trail, Bugs
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There are two short but very manageable snowfields after the turn-off at Frozen Lake. The wildflower...
There are two short but very manageable snowfields after the turn-off at Frozen Lake. The wildflowers on the trail to Skyscraper are awesome. Very few people on the trail today. We saw Marmots, but no bears or goats. The bugs are out, and the flies are particularly aggressive.
 
North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Bugs
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The beauty of this hike was somewhat marred by the MESS we found inside the lookout. We picked up an...
The beauty of this hike was somewhat marred by the MESS we found inside the lookout. We picked up and hauled out a garbage bag of beer bottles, used napkins, trail snack bags, and other trash. If you can pack it in FULL, you can pack it out EMPTY! Now about the hike: This hike is very popular for a reason, the views are great, and it's fun to see the old lookout. BUT this report is for inexperienced hikers and out of staters. (Regular hikers have usually done this hike) Although short, 6 mi RT, it is not a walk in the park. There are several ankle turning, toe stubbing rocky slopes. Hike in what's comfortable, but leave the flip flops in the car. There is 2200' of elevation gain, that is almost 1000'/mile! The trail can be hard to follow, if you are not paying attention. Look for the orange markers, they have arrows showing you where to go. The short scramble at the top is easy. If the lookout gets a little too social, just go back to the saddle and take a short path to some good lunch rocks with nice views. The bugs were bad today. If you don't dress accordingly, be prepared the a large portion of bug juice. No snow on the trail at all.
 
South Cascades -- Chinook Pass - Enumclaw or Hwy 410 area
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Crow Lake Way is now deep in dust, but well shaded until the ridge top, where a brisk wind at least ...
Crow Lake Way is now deep in dust, but well shaded until the ridge top, where a brisk wind at least blows away the biting insects.

Louseworts, lupine and luinas are in bloom now, as are buckwheat and pyrolas, stonecrop, paintbrush and monkey flower. There were two other people all day long, though we turned around not far into the basin. Besides chipmunks, there were Clark's nutcrackers, a Western tanager, a young gopher snake, and fritillaries, checkerspots, a Pale swallowtail, a Parnassian and some other butterflies too fast to ID.

But, the absolute most exciting sighting of the day was my first-ever encounter with our rare mycotrophic (formerly called saprophitic) Gnome Plant, right on the lower trail. Beautiful!
 
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
Ripe berries
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My friend and i went yesterday (monday) at about 530 or so, there wasnt too much traffic at the time...
My friend and i went yesterday (monday) at about 530 or so, there wasnt too much traffic at the time but you could tell it was a very popular place, i wouldnt try to do it on a weekend. the weather was great, never had a problem with bugs at all! Lots of wild berries growing.

the first little stretch is just walking on a gravel path underneath powerlines, you could just hear them buzzzzzing. as you cross over on a small bridge overpass, you can get amazing pictures of the flowing water, as mentioned in the description. as you continue on to the middle falls it doesnt seam to get much more difficult. spectacular views, we saw a few people down in the water, jumping in and having a great time. also some picnic tables here to rest and eat if you'd like, underneath a shelter.

continue on to the middle falls, which gets slightly more difficult. This is where you get the best view of the amazing wallace falls, the tallest waterfall. very beautiful. i had trouble pulling myself away from this part to head to the upper falls but im glad i did. although this was the most difficult stretch in my opinion it was the best part, you had sweeping views to the south that seam to go on forever.

overall great hike, i saw lots of kids able to do it no problem. you get the peacful sounds of flowing water the whole time with lots of greenery and plenty of shade.
 
South Cascades -- Chinook Pass - Enumclaw or Hwy 410 area
Wildflowers blooming
Bugs
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Wow! What a beautiful spot. I've hiked in the Mt. Rainier area quite a bit but never up in Chinook P...
Wow! What a beautiful spot. I've hiked in the Mt. Rainier area quite a bit but never up in Chinook Pass. Such a beautiful spot. World class views, no crowds, no park fee. The wildflowers are awesome right now. The variety is amazing! Just a few tiny spots of snow for the doggies to cool off in. Dewey Lake was perfect for a swim; do not miss out on that! Killer mosquitos though, so get your boots back on and get moving fast! Otherwise, no bugs whatsoever.
Here's my big complaint... We parked at Tipsoo Lake, walked across the road, and the only trail we could find was the Naches Peak Loop. There was also a sign right there pointing the way to the PCT and saying Dewey Lake was 3 miles out, so we thought we were in the right place. Unfortunately, there were several signs saying no dogs. We couldn't really leave the dogs in the car, so we decided to just make sure to keep them close, on leash, and on the trail. We actually ran in to two other parties that expressed the same confusion. Another dog-less couple mentioned that if you drive up the highway another 2 miles or so, you can just get straight on the PCT, which is dog-friendly of course. Oops. Anyway, Naches Peak is NOT DOG FRIENDLY.
We were surprised by the crowds. It was like a weekend! They thinned out after about a mile though.
Trail in excellent shape.
Also, I think there's much more that 600 ft of total elevation gain. You gradually climb up to the top of a hill (see photo#4), then drop down and down to the lake. Not hard though!
 
North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway
Wildflowers blooming, Ripe berries
Snow on trail, Bugs
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The Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm North trail is by far my favorite hike. The trail begins at the par...
The Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm North trail is by far my favorite hike. The trail begins at the parking lot next to the Johannesburg Camp. The views from the trail are simply amazing and worth the trek up to the split. There is a snow field before the split but it was easy to cross with the help of hiking poles. At the split you will find a few rock benches to take a short break and enjoy the view. We continued our hike on the Sahale Arm trail and made our way to Doubtful Lake. From this point we enjoyed watching a couple of hikers make their way up to the Sahale Glacier and also enjoyed the views of Doubtful Lake. Overall, the hike was a perfect way to enjoy the wild flowers and the amazing views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Be sure to take a decent amount of bug spray as we encountered an unpleasant swarm of biting black flies. Thankfully we were prepared. FYI, my kids (12 & 13) enjoyed the trail too!
 
Olympics -- East
Wildflowers blooming
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Hiking to the summit of a mountain sounded fun. Turned out to be a lot more difficult! I think it to...
Hiking to the summit of a mountain sounded fun. Turned out to be a lot more difficult! I think it took around 2.5 to 3 hours! I am slow and short so my little legs have a hard time carrying me upward.
  Beautiful trail! Trees line the entire hike. Breath taking views. Old growth trees are amazing.
 
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North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
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We wanted a short, easy hike to try with our two toddlers so we chose the Big Four Ice Caves. The pa...
We wanted a short, easy hike to try with our two toddlers so we chose the Big Four Ice Caves. The parking lot is huge, so clearly this is a busy trail. Knowing this, we arrived at 8am and were the first ones there! The trail starts out very wide and paved, then narrows and turns to dirt/gravel as you go. Several bridges and water features along the way keep it interesting. The toddlers made it about 3/4 of the way on their own! This is an easy hike, not much elevation gain. At the end of the trail, the cliffs, the waterfalls and the ice caves come into view. Amazing! Arrive early for maximum enjoyment. By the time we had eaten our snack and taken a few pictures there were several other groups arriving. We passed many groups on the hike out, and the parking lot was getting full as we we're leaving (around 9:30am)...
 
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North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
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We arrived around noon to a pretty quiet parking lot. 4 or 5 cars had arrived before us. We walked t...
We arrived around noon to a pretty quiet parking lot. 4 or 5 cars had arrived before us. We walked through the dense forest and the trails were well marked. We also enjoyed the moderate workout on the many up and downs. We had hoped for more scenery but the kiln itself was unique and interesting. On our way out at about 2 p.m. the trail was getting more busy and we came across quite a few kids. We were most disappointed that we didn't get close to the water. At the end, we could have stopped for a moment but there were already 3 or 4 hikers stopped to take a break. Overall, this was a relatively boring hike for scenery but a moderate work out. My dog enjoyed it.
 
Mt. Rainier -- NE - Sunrise / White River
Bugs
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Upper Palisades Lake, Brown Peak, Peak 6505 There are 54 trip reports to Upper Palisades Lake on th...
Upper Palisades Lake, Brown Peak, Peak 6505
There are 54 trip reports to Upper Palisades Lake on the WTA web site, and several combined this hike with a visit to Hidden Lake, but only few explored the backcountry in the other direction toward Brown Peak and Peak 6505. Most trip reports for Upper Palisades Lake are remarkably similar. This is a popular trail, at least the first three miles of it. For something new, once I could see Upper Palisades Lake below me, I tried the unmarked trail up Brown Peak which leaves the Palisades Lake trail in NE direction at a junction just above Upper Palisades Lake. A short 360-ft. ascent takes one to a slope below Brown Peak (6332 ft.) where one gets the first glimpse of Bear Park on the other side. The summit of Brown Peak is forested and does not offer any views. For panoramic views, it is better to proceed along the ridge to Peak 6505 to the north which has less tree coverage. Instead of dropping directly down from the place where one first sees Bear Park, it is easier to follow the wooded ridge to the east (to the right) down a short distance where a better trail traverses the steep slope toward the saddle between Brown Peak and Peak 6505. Another faint trail descends down into Bear Park (no bears to be seen this time of the day). The entire ridge is prime elk habitat. The area reeks of elk urine and it is difficult to find a place to sit down without stepping into elk droppings. From the saddle one can ascend the ridge to Peak 6505 until one gets a good view of Peak 6620 further north, an unstable geologic feature that on its east side continues to drop rocks into the valley below, similar to Slide Mountain (further north) that once buried Lost Creek (the creek draining Lower Palisades Lake is lost under the rock slide). There does not seem to be a trail around this steep rock face of Peak 6620. On the way up to Brown Peak, shortly after departing from the Upper Palisades Lake trail, instead of going up to Brown Peak, a faint trail (unexplored on this trip) contours through tall timber around the west side of Brown Peak toward the saddle between Brown Peak and Peak 6505. This contour trail might save some elevation gain, but not much else (no views). My altimeter which works in 10-ft. increments, cumulatively recorded 720 ft. up and 910 ft. down from the parking lot to the junction above Upper Palisades Lake and 910 ft. up and 700 ft. down from the junction back to the parking lot. From the junction to Peak 6505 it is about 680 ft. up and 150 ft. down.
 
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Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
Blowdowns, Water on trail, Snow on trail
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Trail is steep but clear, the Henry M Jackson wilderness is beautiful, then dropped down to Blanca i...
Trail is steep but clear, the Henry M Jackson wilderness is beautiful, then dropped down to Blanca it is breathtaking. bring river shoes if you plan to cross the log jam there were not enough logs to keep our feet dry. we camped in cove just beyond log jam in an established site. our tent was on snow. it was awesome and secluded. glad we stayed over 24 hrs to see all the colors of the lake from sunset to sunrise.
 
Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
Wildflowers blooming
Water on trail, Snow on trail, Bugs
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East Fork Foss trail is in great shape all the way to the crossing. At 2200 ft the climbing begins...
  East Fork Foss trail is in great shape all the way to the crossing. At 2200 ft the climbing begins and only eases once on your way up to Jade Lake. Hearing the warning from other backpackers about the mosquitoes in the valley, I wasn't too concerned. After getting there, my level of concern rose quickly. They are ferocious bloodsuckers. Beware if you intend to camp in the valley. No problems in the lower elevations.
  The trails up valley are clear of snow. Scrambled up to Tank Lakes and enjoyed the amazing alpine scenery. The views here are incredible. The approach to the pass crossed a couple of minor snowfields, but relatively easy going after scrambling up the talus slope. The mosquitoes at this elevation were not as big of a problem. Camp high or low or plan to stay in your tent in the valley
 
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Diablo Lake Trail (Apr 17)

Diablo Lake

North Cascades

Follow the Diablo Lake Trail up and across talus slopes on the flanks of Sourdough Mountain to impressive cascading waterfalls and stunning views. This hike in the North Cascades Institute's backyard makes a great option for an early season hike in stunning North Cascades National Park, much of which is inaccessible during the winter and spring.

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