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North Fork Twenty Mile

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There are 5 trip reports for this hike.
North Fork Twenty Mile #560 — Jul 04, 2008 — Bootski
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Washouts | Overgrown
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Though long, this is definitely a great early-summer hike! The trail goes through the Tripod burn f...

Though long, this is definitely a great early-summer hike!

The trail goes through the Tripod burn for its entire length, with some areas more burnt over than others. The resulting changes in scenery are interesting enough to a fire-nerd such as I am but the true beauty is in the wildflower bloom going on right now! Lupine, yarrow, indian paintbrush, arnica, larkspur, etc... Some places the trail is almost obscured by the volume of flowers pouring over the tread. The show will probably last for another week or two, as the highest elevation stuff hasn't come out just yet in the spectacular high alpine meadows surrounding the lookouts at the end of the hike. The lookouts are also pretty cool - both the old style and the new are up there and open to exploration (though not manned).

The problems on the trail are many: seven to eight logs are across the trail (not a big deal), obscured tread in places, and worst of all washed out tread. In the most severly burned areas the trail has predictably become a waterway and is very rocky and deeply incised. The Forest Service is going to have to re-route the trail in some places to fix this. Also, honeymoon creek is not a good water source. The trail only gets very close to it once or twice, and the water is not good. There was a yellow slime on everything under the water and a definite stinkiness like skunk cabbage, except there was no skunk cabbage. Luckily there are a few side streams that you cross that have good water though they will likely be drying up later in the season.

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North Fork Twenty Mile #560 — Jun 12, 2007 — Craig Romano
Day hike
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One of my favorite trails survived the Tripod Fire of 2006. Lots of burnt forest to traverse but sur...

One of my favorite trails survived the Tripod Fire of 2006. Lots of burnt forest to traverse but surprisingly the summit and its two firetowers (one is a 1921 historic structure) escaped the burn. Amazing views! Snowfree. Honeymoon Creek is flowing nicely if you need water on this long 6.5 mile, 4,000 foot plus vertical climb hike.

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North Fork Twenty Mile #560 — Aug 06, 2004 — D. Inscho
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns
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Last year I watched the Farewell Creek fire from Tiffany Mountain and could see the “newer” Twe...

Last year I watched the Farewell Creek fire from Tiffany Mountain and could see the “newer” Twentymile Lookout (L-4 cab), its shutters open, superimposed on the wall of smoke. I wondered how the lookout on duty saw things from what looked like a front row seat.

This weekend I visited the now-shuttered lookout on its 50’ tower. Indeed, it offers a sweeping view of the many ridgelines and valleys scarred by the blaze. I started at the Honeymoon Creek TH- elevation 3300’. The trail climbs steadily, with few switchbacks, through selectively logged and sporadically burned forest. It is a southern exposure climb so sunny weather can be killer. Reliable water crosses the trail at about 5500’. This trail is not used very much; it is brushy in places with some blowdown, but not too troublesome. Nice tread half the time while other sections are rutted and rocky (most noted on the descent).

I was fortunate to climb in clouds and periodic cool showers. Upon attaining the summit ridge, 7437’, it began sleeting. I took refuge in the magnificently derelict cupola style LO built in the 1920s. What a beautiful dump! I shaped it up for the night’s residence, but expected company. Evidence of squirrels, mice, porcupine, and maybe a deer or two was everywhere. The night was spent in the cupola listening to the rain playing on the cedar shingles. A squirrel or rat showed up a few times in the night but departed after being denied munchies; I had all the food hanging from the roof above my head. One advantage to having a dog companion is that they tend to keep pesky critters on their best behavior. The weather cleared by 3a.

The cupola offered a wonderful vantage from which to view the area some friends and I will be exploring in a fortnight. We have schemed an offtrail/abandoned trail weeklong expedition in the mighty mysterious Pasayten. “Here be Dragons” said the maps of yore about the uncharted places. Views to Tiffany, Remmel, Andrews, Gardner, Reynolds, Windy….. The forests toward Tiffany looking brown and sickly; it too will burn within 3 years I think. The Chewuch River is running uncharacteristically muddy; indicative of the fire-damaged acres upstream.

Water may be found, with careful route-finding, at a spring about 500’ below the ridge. Cold clean water, all you can drink, no treatment necessary. Managed to clean up the downstairs enough to stay the second night. Fixed the door as well. Many holes chewed in the floor remain.

No bugs except three gnat bites Sunday morning. Was able to gaze at the Quiet Magnificence of our galaxy before the moon showed up. If you choose to go to this special and historical dump, please be respectful; and be sure to secure it against weather and critters.

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North Fork Twenty Mile #560 — Jun 29, 2002 — Jim Scarborough
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns
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Barry Torbert's August, 2001 trip report for North Twentymile lookout sums up the current condition...

Barry Torbert's August, 2001 trip report for North Twentymile lookout sums up the current conditions well (at least what I saw of them), though I do have one thing to add. Manning & Spring write that there is a campsite approximately two miles up this trail. My plan was to hike later in the day to this site, spend the night, then hop up to the lookout the following morning. If a campsite is actually there, it must be awfully well hidden. With a full pack, I made four or five switchbacks above where the trail finally departs Honeymoon Creek (last water), and began wondering if I'd missed it. I backtracked, went up what appeared to be decades-old tread left over from a subsequent re-route, snooped around, kicked a few rocks, put on my thinking cap, and still saw no sign of the campsite -- nor, for that matter, any piece of flat ground. There literally was no place to appropriately camp that I could find in Honeymoon's gulch, aside from a possible bivouac on slanted turf that would have squished some attractive spring vegetation. Due to the late hour, I eventually gave up, and disappointedly marched back down the mountain, opting to car-camp on the Chewuch River. This was the first time I'd entered the wilds with full provisions and failed to establish a camp since a trip on the Alaska panhandle seven years ago. I'll try it again sometime, perhaps via the South Fork Twentymile Meadows.

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North Fork Twenty Mile #560 — Aug 26, 2001 — Barry Torbert
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Overgrown
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Being a total nut about Fire Lookouts I had to finally break down and try this trail out. The Okano...

Being a total nut about Fire Lookouts I had to finally break down and try this trail out. The Okanogan Forest Service does not maintain this trail anymore as the Lookout is no longer staffed. The first problem presented itself when I discovered that spur road #3014 is closed. This road closure adds another mile to the distance making for a total round trip of 12 miles. 12 hot dusty miles with lots of exposure to the sun and with little change in scenery.

The trail begins at the end of road #3014 and is not in that bad of shape. There are a few spots that could use a little brushing and there are about 10 trees that have blown down accross the trail. The trail is not very steep as it maintains a consistant moderate grade for most of its length. There are two sections of switchbacks but they are not any steeper than the rest of the trail. The last 1 1/2 miles to the two Lookouts is relative flat and easy.

The summit area has two Lookout buildings. The first one that is sighted is on a tower about 30 ft high and has a hip type roof. I think it was built in the 1940's and it is in pretty good shape. I climbed up on the tower and discovered to my disappointment that the cabin is locked, but I found a nice cool breeze that was very welcomed.

The second building on the summit is an old Cupola Style Lookout that was popular in the 1920's. This building was open and I climbed up the ladder inside to the cupola lookout area. This is a pretty neat looking building but the view is not as good as the one from the tower next door, and there are lots of rat droppings.

If you like Fire Lookouts then this trail is worth the effort. The scenery is not that spectactular, even from the summit. Made it to the top in 2hrs 55min and back down in 1hr 58min. 3hrs 45 min driving time is required to reach the trailhead from Seattle.

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Location
North Fork Twenty Mile (#560)
North Cascades

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