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Gee Point

You’ll start by walking the decommissioned road for .25 miles. Plant your feet carefully here, as the road is nearly overgrown with willows and other brush. Keep your eyes peeled as you continue, because after that .25 miles you’ll find a rough trail cutting off to the right through an old timber operation. Scout for cairns as the tread is difficult to follow without them. At just shy of .5 miles, the trail suddenly becomes infinitely better, with solid, followable tread.

This part of the trail is characterized by old forest—stands of ancient fir and hemlock throng the trailside. Before long, you’ll stroll into a perfect, flat and grassy meadowland. Dropping just a bit, you’ll find an old cabin site. Turn left to keep out of the rocks. The trail climbs here, taking you back along the summit crest.

The path here is a bit more scrambly than elsewhere along this trail. Take your time as you contour up to the old lookout site, and you’ll be fine. The former lookout—now entirely gone—is at 4,974 feet, and is a great place to rest after a nice climb.

Driving Directions:

From Burlington, take State Route (SR) 20 (North Cascades Highway) east. Just past Concrete and milepost (MP) 88, turn right on the Concrete-Sauk Road. Cross the Skagit River in one mile and bear left. Go for around 8.8 miles and turn right onto forest road (FR) 17. Go 10.5 miles and turn right on FR 1720. Follow 1720 for 2.1 miles and bear right onto FR 1722. Go 5.4 miles to the road end where the trail starts on a decommissioned road.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 9 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Gee Point — Nov 11, 2011 — Vehementer
Day hike
Issues: Road to trailhead inaccessible
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We tried to beat the weather out to Gee Point this morning with no luck. We had to turn the car arou...
We tried to beat the weather out to Gee Point this morning with no luck. We had to turn the car around about 3 miles short of the trail due to snow on the road. We continued on foot to see if the snow stayed light enough to make the hike. However, about a mile in the wind kicked up with heavy wet snow accompanied by some serious thunder and lightning. Needless to say, we had to turn around and go back. The kids still had fun because they got to play in the snow, and there were some cool looking waterfalls along the drive. You'll need snowshoes and an early start for this one for the rest of the winter.
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Gee Point — Aug 15, 2011 — HikerJim
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Snow on trail | Bugs
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After a beautiful sunny day on Norse Peak the day before, Kim proposed a short scramble for a wet Su...
After a beautiful sunny day on Norse Peak the day before, Kim proposed a short scramble for a wet Sunday. Gee Point is an old lookout site located in the area between Highways 20 and 530. To the south, the Mountain Loop Highway has a number of trails. The area we were visiting used to have a number of trails. Logging has shortened or completely obliterated most of them. The trail to Gee Point is just a fraction of what it once was. It is now only 1.50 miles to the lookout site. The drive is also a long way. It is 31.6 miles from Darrington and about 22 miles from Concrete. The roads are part paved and part gravel. Other than some deep water bars the grade is pretty smooth. Here are driving directions taken from the WTA website:

From Burlington, take State Route (SR) 20 (North Cascades Highway) east. Just past Concrete and milepost (MP) 88, turn right on the Concrete-Sauk Road. Cross the Skagit River in one mile and bear left. Go for around 8.8 miles and turn right onto forest road (FR) 17. Go 10.5 miles and turn right on FR 1720. Follow 1720 for 2.1 miles and bear right onto FR 1722. Go 5.4 miles to the road end where the trail starts on a decommissioned road.

The summit is at 4974' and the trailhead is at 4275'. As we drove higher we entered the clouds. The road passes Little Gee lake about half a mile before the end. At the end there is plenty of room for half a dozen cars. We found a truck with two hunters. I never though about wearing orange but in the thick clouds visibility was minimal. Fortunately, the hunters left soon after we arrived. The route begins on the old road. It has been trenched and is now filled with willow trees. We put on rain gear and it was soaked within 50 feet. There are also some big puddles to slog through. That ends fast. The overgrown foliage also thins before long. Within about a quarter mile the road ends and an obvious boot path heads uphill.

The trail starts out steep but is easy enough to follow. This is an old clear cut and is full of ferns and brush but the trail is not overgrown. Soon the grade eases and enters old growth forest. There are some big trees along here. We found half a dozen large trees recently fallen. None were too hard to get over. Otherwise, the trail is in pretty good shape for one that is not a high priority to maintain. When the snow started it quickly covered all the ground. We had Craig Romano's Hiking the North Cascades book but left it in the truck. We did not recall the directions exactly. That proved to be a bit of a problem. My GPS had a trail on it and we followed that. There were some footprints in the snow too. The meadow described in the book is now a big snow field.

There must be 2-3 feet of snow in the meadow. The trail description mentioned going by the remains of an old cabin. Our route was now on the crest of the ridge. The ridge narrowed and footprints ended. My GPS showed the trail continuing on a moderately wide ridge right to the summit. Our ridge was rapidly getting narrower. We reached a point where the ridge dropped steeply to a saddle. The route down was on wet mossy rocks. This was definitely not the trail to the summit. It might go but it was not the route we had read about. We took a look at the left side but it just dropped steeply a long way. The right side did too. We backtracked along the ridge looking over the right (now left) side. I found a spot that looked like it might be a trail below us.

We dropped down through wet brush and found bare trail above what I had seen. Now we were back on track. Unfortunately, the snow began almost immediately. We looked high and low and chose a level traverse. Kim noticed some boards that identified the old cabin spot. We recalled talk about going around a talus field. Talus was there but under snow. We traversed farther until snow gave way to talus. Now under the summit of Gee Point we looked for any signs of a trail. After a while it was clear there was no trail. The best option now was to head back to the cabin and go up to the saddle above. A short climb to the ridge brought us to... a trail. Son of a gun. From here the climbers path leads to the summit. It is not a trail. It is a climbers path. There is deadly exposure in several places. Being wet it was a little tougher too.

The first part is easy and safe to a viewpoint on the ridge. Of course we had no views through the clouds. We turned onto the left side of the ridge traversing with some steep climbing around the summit. The climb ends at the back of the peak. As usual it was easier to get up than down. I'm no fan of exposure. I was okay but this is not a route for trial hikers. The summit is a small flat area blasted off the top of the point. Photos show that the views are outstanding. From Olympics to Puget Sound to Mt. Baker to Glacier Peak. Mt. Higgins is also pretty close by. Our views were varying shades of gray. A short break did give us a view of Gee Point Lake, still surrounded by snow.

I was not looking forward to the descent but it proved easier than I expected. Our trip back was easy as we now knew the route. When we climbed back up to the ridge we found we missed the route down by 20 feet as it was not at all obvious under snow. Wed did see bits of wire cable for the old lookout communications system and a few insulators too. Back at the meadow I suggested we build a snowman. It just seemed crazy to be building a snowman at 4400' west of Darrington in mid August. There should be no snow let alone 3 feet of it. From a distance he looked like a hiker sitting in the meadow. Might be a surprise for the next person going by.

It was much brighter when we returned to the start though not close to sunny. The route is 3 miles round trip with about 800' of gain. We added some distance and nearly doubled the elevation gain with our off route wanderings. We did get to see some additional neat terrain though. For those who do not mind a little exposure the route to the summit is short and easy to follow, at least once the snow is gone. I believe the views would be excellent. The forest is worth the trip alone. Kim and I need to return on a clear day to see what we missed. A new trip for both of us and a fun little scramble.

I have posted 28 fully annotated photos on my website located at: http://www.hikingnorthwest.com. Go to "Trips - 2011" on the left margin.
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Gee Point — Aug 14, 2011 — Kim Brown
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail | Bugs
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Viewless summits on a foggy day don’t bother me, and Jim’s an idiot – so we’re perfectly sui...
Viewless summits on a foggy day don’t bother me, and Jim’s an idiot – so we’re perfectly suited for a trip to Gee Point in Sunday’s conditions.

I’ve been curious about Gee Point and Finney Peak, located in what’s known as the Finney Block (south side of the Skagit 8 miles east of Concrete) in the Mt Baker District of Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest for a long time. In a stroke of genius and to resurrect interest in the Finney Block, Craig Romano included Gee Point in his Day Hiking North Cascades guidebook (The Mountaineers Books). Craig reports summit views of Baker, Whitehorse, the Illabot Peaks, Cascade Pass, and Glacier Peak. Jim’s summit view was me, and my summit view was Jim. No matter; we were thrilled to be there.

Finney Creek Rd (FS 17) is in excellent condition. FS 1720 and FS 1722 are both in very good to excellent condition as well. I didn’t find FS 1720 and 1722 brushy at all (Craig reports it as brushy in 2007). Note that there are relatively deep engineered dips in FS 1722 which may inhibit low clearance, long wheel-base vehicles such as station wagons, Honda Elements, and the Scion -- but perhaps with care, even these vehicles may successfully negotiate the dips. Potholes are minimal. The parking area for this hike is a large area; there is plenty of parking and turn-around space. The area is popular with hunters, so I suggest wearing bright colored jackets or an orange vest. It is bear-hunting season now.

FS 17 is a lovely drive. There are deep canyons, and lots of waterfalls to enjoy.
The trail begins as a 15 minute road-walk/brush-bash (willows). When dry, as it was at the end of our day, this would not be a problem. But for us in the morning, it was a shower of water because a massive fog-bank had parked its fat ass atop the Finney Block for several hours prior to and including the time of our arrival, drenching said willows. We were prepared for a wet day, however, and had donned our full-on rain-gear at the trailhead.

After a short road-walk, keep your eye on the slope, for an obvious trail that shoots upward toward the ridge. Since Craig’s book was written, the trail has become more trail-like, and we had no brush issues. There is a view of Gee Point from this spot – it’s an obvious prominent bump with a flat top – clearly once very pointy. Make note of the exposure – you’ll be on it soon (unless you choose to stop at the place Jim and I recommend [read on]).

We entered the old growth forest and immediately slowed down in awe. Absolutely stunning forest up here! Old growth silver fir, and lots of old snags for birds and other critters. There are a few trees across the trail, but none too difficult to clamber over or around. We enjoyed finding old blazes that had been hacked into the trees.

We hit a wall of snow at the “Grand Park” meadow Craig mentions. We picked up the trail again to the right of the snowfield and from there to the cabin site, we traveled across intermittent snowfields and trail-tread. We had to hack around a bit when we lost the trail, but we always eventually found tread again. Local boots have kept this tread alive (and now mine will – I’ll be back).

From the cabin site, we turned left and walked up the (easy) slope to the ridge. (IMPORTANT NOTE: if you’re not comfortable side-hilling on a steep slope with not a lot to stop you if you fall, make the cabin site your stopping point! You can go a bit farther on the ridge for a nice open viewpoint about 10 minutes up, but please don’t go farther if you’re not comfy with exposure. For a nice place to relax for lunch before turning back, continue straight a very short distance from the cabin site, to the talus slope where there are views of surrounding peaks and meadows – very pretty!).

The trail goes up, up, up. Here we noted wire for the old lookout telephone system, old metal clips pounded into snags, as well as more blazes.

The trail narrows as it winds up to the summit. Airy sections of very narrow, out-sloping tread are here. Handholds are simply huckleberry bushes and an occasional mountain ash. A slip would likely result in more than bruises, so we recommend good boots, not tennis shoes. Surely it’s better in dry conditions. We’re both experience hikers (Jim more than me) and we don’t think this portion of the trip is suitable for families or someone who isn’t used to challenging situations – but we enjoyed the challenge, and Craig’s intent with his books is to include challenges as well as non-challenging hikes.

You’ll have to believe what your maps tell you about the surrounding summits. Craig provides an impressive list of mountain views. For us it was fog, fog, fog. For about 8.37 seconds, we got a nice view of the basin we had visited near the cabin, and wow! Beautiful!

Going down the challenging section was less of a hassle than we thought it would be (there is no shame in butt-scooting).

Jim built a snowman at the giant meadow – a novelty to do such a thing in mid-August at 4300’ on the Finney Block.

Gee Point is a beautiful place, and we’ll be back for sure; perhaps in October when the snow has finally melted and before the new snow arrives….
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Gee Point — Nov 15, 2008 — Logbear
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Clogged drainage | Mudholes | Water on trail
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The road to the trailhead is fine now. The landslides have been cleared. The first 1/4 mile is wet...
The road to the trailhead is fine now. The landslides have been cleared. The first 1/4 mile is wet with a few inches of standing water along the old road bed. After that the trail climbs quickly and isn't too hard to find. Then it's just like a walk in a park until the last part that circles around Gee Point right past the old cabin remains. It's pretty steep in places there, but only about 10 minutes worth. Views of Mt Baker, Glacier Peak, Skagit River, Puget Sound and a whole bunch of North Cascade peaks.
There was one blowdown that had a bunch of branches that were in the way. Those branches are gone now.
And a beautiful sunset to finish the trip.
More pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45257111@N00/
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Gee Point #612 — Jul 19, 2007 — Craig Romano
Day hike
Issues: Overgrown
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Finally- I ventured into this part of the elusive Finney Block. FR 17 and the spurs leading to the "...

Finally- I ventured into this part of the elusive Finney Block. FR 17 and the spurs leading to the ""trailhead"" are fine-just a little brushy in spots. Now, about the trailhead-it doesn't exist. From the end of FR 1722 walk .25 mile on a decommissioned road that is choked with willows. Fight this entanglement and locate tread taking off steeply to the right. Follow it-occasional cairns helping out. Once on the ridge-follow excellent tread through old-growth. Lots of bear activity. Half way to Gee Point cross a mini ""Grand Park;"" its quite spectacular. At the ruins of an old cabin, turn left climbing steeply and attain ridge once more. It is then a steep climb, with a little scrambling to the old lookout site. The views are amazing-down to Gee Point Lake-out to Puget Sound and out to Sauk Mountain and the Skagit Valley. Good views too of other Finney Block peaks-Finney, Round, and Higgins-and of old-growth tracts like the Pressentin Creek Valley that survived five decades of high intensity logging. This area has so much recreation potential and this trail must not be allowed to fade from the maps. Bring some loppers for the first .25 mile and enjoy this special corner of the Cascades.

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Gee Point 2.JPG
Gee Point packs a lot of scenery into a very short hike. Photo by Craig Romano
Location
Gee Point (#612)
North Cascades -- West Slope
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Mount Baker Ranger District, (360) 856-5700
Statistics
Roundtrip 3.0 miles
Elevation Gain 700 ft
Highest Point 4974 ft
Features
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
Summits
Ridges/passes
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: North Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails #77 Oso

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