Kachess Ridge #1315
Jul 24, 1999
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Kachess Ridge / Kachess Beacon
- Region: Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
- Agency: Cle Elum Ranger District
- Trails: Kachess Ridge (#1315), Kachess Beacon (#1315.3)
- Avg Rating: 3.25
- Be Aware Of
- Water on trail
- Snow on trail
Headed up this trail from the southern end (near Easton) on a cool, cloudy and windy day. The 1st mile is pretty steep - I passed 2 mountain bikers who were having to walk their bikes up. The grade settles down somewhat in the 2nd mile and then flattens out in the basin of Silver Creek. In this area there were numerous streams to be crossed. There's no sign of any ""formal"" bridges in here, but there were lots of downed trees on which you could walk (carefully). Also started running into small patches of snow in this area, but nothing of any real consequence. In the next mile the trail climbs gently again, finally coming out (at the 5-mile mark) into an open meadow where the Silver Creek Tie Trail (#1308.1) comes in from the east. This is as far as I went, as the rain was starting to blow in. Note: The junction with trail 1308.1 is unsigned, but marked with a small cairn. On my way up this 5th mile I met a group of 3 mountain bikers heading down. They'd come in from some logging road near Lake Cle Elum and told me that the upper reaches of the trail were still under snow.
On the way back down, about 2 miles from the trailhead, I attempted to go up the marked Beacon site trail (#1315.3), which the Mountaineers' book recommends. Unfortunately, after about 200 meters the trail (faint at best) was totally obscured by a huge amount of downed trees. I tried to bushwhack around this mess but was never able to pickup the trail again. On a clear day it might be worth a bushwhack up to the top of the ridge.
Saw no other hikers on this trail - a rarity on a summer Saturday. Maybe everybody already knows what I found out - that there's just not many reasons to recommend the southern end of this trail. Lack of views is the main detriment, as the first 5 miles is basically all in the woods. If you could do a one-way trip, starting from the Cooper Pass end (or from some of the feeder trails west of Lake Cle Elum) you'd be getting into the high (view) country more quickly. As for the trail's good points - at the upper end, Silver Creek flows through a ""mini"" gorge and there's a small photogenic waterfall in the area. There were some nice displays of woods flowers scattered around (Yellow Violets, Queens Cup, Trillium, Bleeding Heart, Vanilla Leaf, Foamflower, Star-flower, etc.). On days when the popular areas are teeming with bodies, you'll probably be pretty lonesome on this trail - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Considering all of the water in the basin area there were surprisingly few bugs. I got buzzed by a few mosquitoes here and there, but they were never bad enough to break out the DEET.