Information about this hike provided in partnership with Mountaineers Books.
Copyright © Craig Romano/The Mountaineers Books
Cougar Mountain (Entiat)
While the Jimmy Creek Trail is one of the least traveled paths in the Mad River country, it is nevertheless still legally open to motorcycles. The Forest Service has yet to "upgrade" it to a motorway. Good. However, since it is still open to dirt bikes, the few that do venture on it tear it up-and travel through fragile meadows to bypass windfall. Bad! How about demanding that the Forest Service at least close this trail to motorbikes-while we keep up the fight to get the southern Entiat Mountains into wilderness, where they rightfully belong.
Start by following the well-traveled Mad River Trail. At 1.2 miles pass a junction with the Hi Yu Trail. Continue straight another 0.1 mile, crossing the Mad River. Just before reaching an open talus area, turn right onto the unsigned and easy-to-miss Jimmy Creek Trail.
On good but lightly trampled tread, steadily climb, following Jimmy Creek through pine and fir forest that's fragrantly scented with wild blossoms by early summer. After about a mile or so, pocket meadows add to the blooming mix. Continue climbing through thinning forest and emerging lush meadows, crossing Jimmy Creek at 3.5 miles. The trail now turns steep, transforming into a deep rocky gully thanks to motorcycle use (still any doubts about what kind of impact this form of recreation has on fragile pumice soils?).
At 3.9 miles reach a junction (elev. 6150 ft). The trail left is officially abandoned, but has been "reopened" by dirt bikes. It terminates on the Mad River Trail near the Lost Lake Trail junction. Head right, traversing fields of blooms and reaching another junction after 0.3 mile (elev. 6250 ft). Turn left to follow the Cougar Ridge Trail through more meadows and along the demarcation between burned and unburned forest from the Tyee conflagration of 1994. In no time, reach yet another junction. Head left on this spur trail to Cougar's summit.
Reconstructed for motorcycles, this path is twice as long (thanks to the banked-for-bikes switchbacks), twice as dusty, and not nearly as nice as the old summit path (which can still be followed if you snoop around for it).
At 5 miles reach the open summit of Cougar Mountain and behold the beauty of the Entiat Mountains before you. Emerald Cougar Meadow lies directly below, and Kelly and Klone mountains rise gently behind it. Amazing beauty-and a crying shame the Forest Service allows it to be disturbed by throttles. This area was one of Ira Spring's favorites in the Cascades. Mine too. An Ira Spring Wilderness would protect it and would be a fitting tribute to the late conservationist and guidebook author.
From Everett head east on US 2 for 85 miles to Coles Corner. (From Leavenworth travel west on US 2 for 15 miles.) Turn left (north) onto State Route 207 (signed for Lake Wenatchee), and proceed 4.2 miles to a Y intersection after crossing the Wenatchee River. Bear right onto the Chiwawa Loop Road and continue for 5 miles, turning left onto Forest Road 61, signed "Lower Chiwawa River Road" (the turnoff is just past a river crossing and the Thousand Trails Lodge). Proceed for 1.6 miles to a T junction at Deep Creek Campground. Turn right onto FR 6101, and after 0.6 mile bear right at an unsigned junction. Continue on FR 6101 for 2.5 miles, coming to a junction at Deer Camp Campground. Make a sharp left, continuing on FR 6101 for 2.5 extremely steep and rough miles (four-wheel drive recommended) to Maverick Saddle and a junction. Park here, or continue left on a rough spur 0.3 mile to the trailhead (elev. 4350 ft). Note: It's also possible to reach this trailhead by following directions for Miners Ridge and continuing north on FR 52 for 3.4 equally rough miles to Maverick Saddle.
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There are 1 trip reports for this hike.
Cougar Mountain, Jimmy Creek — Sep 01, 2009 — Marcus
Issues: Blowdowns | Overgrown | Mudholes | Bugs
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Pleasant stream and meadows along the way, with nice views at the top. However, trail is in poor co...
Pleasant stream and meadows along the way, with nice views at the top. However, trail is in poor condition. Heavily rutted, very dusty, and many, many, (MANY!) blowdowns blocking the trail.
Warning: Access road is very rough. Only vehicles with high clearance should attempt.