Mallardy Ridge, Cutthroat Lakes
Sep 17, 2012
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
The trailhead is reached from Mallardy Road which takes off from the Mountain Loop highway just before the Red Bridge. The road climbs 7 miles, the first of which is paved. At the junction, take FS road 4032 which is in excellent shape. The road ends abruptly at the trailhead with no real parking or facilites.
The first mile of the trail climbs up along the side of a mountain. It is overgrown and sloughing in some places. Then comes the delightful 2 miles of gentle ridge walking intersperced with charming meadows, small rivulets, and well graveled tread. Unfortunately the last mile up a steep ridge to Cutthroat Lakes is a murderous stretch. It begins after crossing the boulder field. The trail is deteriorated in many places, heavily overgrown, steep and rocky, and is interrupted by many blowdowns.
Nevertheless it is doable and the rewards more than make up for the punishment. Cutthroat Lakes are a charming splatter of snow melt water holes surrounded by heather and glacier scraped rocks. It is a sub alpine wonderland to rival Gothic Basin or Rampart Ridge. The area is laced with trails and there are two small campsites. One could spend many hours exploring this charming place.
On the way home, a stop at the Verlot Ranger Station is great for washing up in a heated and lighted restroom facility. The best coffee is at Happy Coffee in Granite Falls just across the street from the high school.