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Icicle Gorge

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A delightful loop along a tight gorge carved by the Icicle River, this hike makes for a perfect early and late-season leg stretcher. Its good tread and gentle terrain also make it ideal for children, first-time hikers, and those trying to get back into the groove. Leisurely stroll along this major tributary of the Wenatchee River, watching for darting dippers and admiring raucous rapids and swirling pools.

From the trailhead kiosk, veer right. The trail left leads to the Icicle Gorge View Trail. In 0.1 mile you'll come to the Icicle Gorge River Trail. Left or right, it's your choice. I prefer heading downstream first.

Turning left, follow the good trail through a diverse forest of conifers. Undulate between open pine and cool, dark fir stands. Take time to read the interpretive signs. After crossing Chatter Creek come to a junction with the Gorge View Trail. Continue straight, coming to nice viewing spots of the gorge below. Take a short diversion to check out the old Chatter Creek Guard Station, but respect the privacy of anyone who may be spending the evening there.

The trail drops down to cross the creek (elev. 2650 ft) on a well-photographed bridge at a well-photographed section of the water-sculptured gorge. Now heading upriver, pass great viewpoints of rapids and cascades. Cross a cedar swamp, Trout Creek, and various outwashes and channels and tempting huckleberry patches.

The creek mellows as the trail travels alongside it through open pine and fir forest. Cross Jack Creek and soon after come to FR 76 at the Rock Island Campground at 2.5 miles. Turn right, crossing Icicle Creek (elev. 2800 ft) on the road bridge, picking up the trail once again at the edge of the campground. Then travel downriver to more excellent gorge views.

Pass the junction with the western terminus of the Gorge View Trail. Continue downstream through cedar groves and along scenic bluffs, occasionally brushing up against FR 76. At 3.9 miles arrive back to the spur trail leading to the trailhead. Not a bad little loop, huh?
Driving Directions:

From milepost 99 on US 2, at the western edge of Leavenworth, follow the Icicle Creek Road (Forest Road 76) for 15.3 miles (the pavement ends at 12.3 miles), passing the Chatter Creek Guard Station and reaching the trailhead on the left (south) side of the road (elev. 2700 ft). Privy available.

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Recent Trip Reports

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There are 37 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Icicle Gorge — Nov 28, 2013 — George & Sally
Day hike
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Since we were over to Leavenworth for the Thanksgiving holiday, we figured we would get in a hike. D...
Since we were over to Leavenworth for the Thanksgiving holiday, we figured we would get in a hike. Drove up the Icicle Creek Road to the Icicle Gorge Trail trailhead under sunny skies. We did the loop hike counter clockwise with the temp at 27 as we began the trip. The trail follows along the north side of Icicle Creek as it goes up stream to Rock Island Campground. There is a lot of ice along the creek as well as on rocks and fallen trees in the creek. We had some nice views of the creek and mountains along the way. When we got to the campground, it was lunch time, so we used one of the picnic tables for our sandwiches, hot soup and cocoa. The campground is open for camping and the restroom was open too. Then we continued on across the concrete Rock Island bridge and took the trail back down stream. Along the way we came to a rock area at the creeks edge where there were many rock cairns, which will stay until the creek rises with the spring snow melt. The trail heads away from Icicle Creek and crosses some smaller streams on some well built bridges. Further we came to a nice rock overlook before getting to the big foot bridge across the Icicle Gorge. Right before the bridge there a couple of areas with ice across the trail from water seeping out of the hillside with icicles hanging down. After crossing the bridge, the trail heads back up stream to the parking lot. When we got back, the temp had warmed up to 32.

We met several other hikes out on this trail, couples and families with kids. No snow on the Icicle Creek Road and only a couple of small areas on the trail, otherwise a snow free hike on a good trail.
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Icicle Gorge — Oct 26, 2013 — MmeMazama
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
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The road to the trailhead was a bit rough but the lovley colors of the gorge made it worth the drive...
The road to the trailhead was a bit rough but the lovley colors of the gorge made it worth the drive. The trail was in good condition and easy enough for my companion who is recovering from a knee injury.
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Icicle Gorge — Sep 05, 2013 — Bob and Barb
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns
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After setting up camp at Rock Island CG, we hiked a section of the Icicle Gorge Loop trail starting ...
After setting up camp at Rock Island CG, we hiked a section of the Icicle Gorge Loop trail starting from the Chatter Creek Guard Station and walking towards Rock Island CG. We had time for only a short hike so this was a good choice. There were several trees across the trail. Most were easily stepped over, but one I had to crawl under; however those with long legs can climb over this one, too! The highlight today was the many variety of fungi along the trail!
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Icicle Gorge — Sep 01, 2013 — Amber
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Fall foliage | Ripe berries
Issues: Blowdowns | Overgrown | Mudholes | No water source
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This is a very fun hike with scenery, butterflies, and water to enjoy look at along the way. The tr...
This is a very fun hike with scenery, butterflies, and water to enjoy look at along the way. The trail is a huge loop with no side trails to cut across - bring plenty of water and good walking shoes as there is no water source along the trail except at one camp site 2/3 of the way around the loop (very salty water) and sometime very little shade as you're exposed to the sun/heat most of the hike. There is a little overgrowth is some areas but most of the trail is wide and cleared of brush. No biting flies on my trek!

A pass is required or pay $5 for the day.

NOTE: Google maps on my cell did not have the correct directions. Going East on Hwy 2 turn left on Icicle Road for about 16 miles - around 12 miles the pavement will turn into gravel and you will pass a cabin/station on your right around 15.5 miles. The trail head is on the left 0.5 miles after the cabin.
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Icicle Gorge — Jul 05, 2013 — Al Bundy
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming | Fall foliage
Issues: Mudholes
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What a great hike. We Started at the Trailhead. There is good parking even room for rv's. Use tve re...
What a great hike. We Started at the Trailhead. There is good parking even room for rv's. Use tve restroom at the trailhead aand take off. If you go downstream first (left at the y) you will reach the RockIsland campground in 2.5 miles. If you look around you will find waterwater spigots, drinking fountains and bathrooms. Then cross the bridge and pick up the marked trail on your right. Its 1.5 miles back to the trailhead. was a very good hike for my children and the mosquitoes were not bad at all. A If you do not have a forest pass don't worry they have a pay station or It's $5 for the day.
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Icicle Gorge by Bob and Barb.jpg
Icicle Creek at end of the loop near bridge near Rock Island campground. Photo by Bob and Barb.
Location
Icicle Gorge Loop (#1596)
Central Cascades -- Leavenworth Area
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain 150 ft
Highest Point 2800 ft
Features
Rivers
Waterfalls
Fall foliage
Wildflowers/Meadows
Wildlife
User info
Good for kids
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes (Spring / Manning)
Hiking Guide to Washington Geology (Carson / Babcock - Keokee) p. 127-130
Green Trails Chiwaukum Mtns No. 177

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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