Index Town Wall
Apr 29, 2012
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Index Town Wall
- Region: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
- Avg Rating: 3.33
- Why You Should Go Now
- Wildflowers blooming
First order of business: directions. I found the following directions elsewhere on the web (a rock climbing website?--don't remember) and they worked:
1. Highway 2 east to the Index-Galena Road. The I-G road is not marked as such. After milepost 34 and crossing the South Fork Skykomish River, be on the lookout for a paved turnoff with an arrow indicating "Index".
2. Left on I-G road. Go about one mile.
3. Turn left on Fifth Street and cross the bridge into Index.
4. Turn left at Index Ave and cross the RR tracks.
5. Left onto Crescent Street.
6. Right onto Ave A and go 0.7 mile. Turn into the unmarked gravel parking lot on the right.
We crossed the railroad tracks to the privy and (mistakenly) followed the trail to the Stimson Bullitt climbing reserve. We followed the trail along the base of the wall for a short distance. Rock climbers were out. However, we were badly outnumbered by brown and black slugs. What these small animals lack in size, speed, and agility is compensated by extreme ferocity, and we were forced to turn back. One of us sacrificed herself to a European brown slug to save the rest of us, God rest her soul.
Actually, we realized that we had taken the wrong trail. We went back to the RR tracks, rather than attempt a bushwhack. We followed the tracks east (right from the parking lot) and turned left onto a wide trail/service road to a closed-off tunnel (former UW physics research site) at the base of the Index Town Wall. We followed the trail into the forest. The trail heads upwards steeply. At the first fork in the trail, we went right. At the next fork, we went left. Blue diamond markers on the trees are helpful. The trail then approaches a rock face. We took a fork left and continued our ascent. We reached a brown pipe-and-wire fence with orange ribbons that crosses a creek bed. We climbed over the fence, making a right turn, and headed up the creek. A short distance later we encountered a lookout point (with signs explaining "Falling Can Be Deadly") offering views of Index, Mount Index, and the Skykomish River valley.
As it was cloudy, views were limited. From the lower lookout points we had limited views of Mount Index. We did not encounter any other hikers on the trail. The trail is in excellent condition given the limited traffic, without significant mud or water. Poles are helpful as there are several spots that require hand-holds or assistance with footing. At the top, we had no real view, due to clouds at that elevation. On the way down, I saw my first banana slug of the day as well as nice views of Mount Index. Back in Index, we were treated to glimpses of Mount Index and Baring Mountain, enticing us to return on a day with more open views.