Deception Creek #1059,Marmot Lake #1066,No-Name Lake
Aug 10, 2008
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Deception Creek
- Region: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West
- Agency: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest - Skykomish Ranger District
- Trails: Deception Creek (#1059)
- Avg Rating: 3.80
- Be Aware Of
Deception Creek #1059
Marmot Lake #1066
No-Name Lake, Jade Lake
About 10 hrs. 16 mi. to No-Name Lake.
6 hrs., 10.3 mi. to Deception Pass (the long way).
Deception Creek #1059 is in such good condition that we got to Deception Pass (10.5 mi.) in 6 hours. Major effort is being put into this trail. All windfalls are gone – dozens, many over 2’ diameter. Many rough trail sections have turned into brand-new puncheon and turnpike, and the crews aren’t finished. The footlog over Sawyer Creek is being replaced. Your Forest Pass dollars at work? Salute to MBSNF, the contractors, and WTA trail crews! This made my trip possible. It’s much easier than last time. Only one monster windfall remains to remind us of what we owe them.
I’d say the 2nd & 3rd miles are the roughest sections of this trail, steeper and rockier, leading up to and past Sawyer Creek. I didn’t notice this so much on the way in, when I was fresh, but it definitely seemed slower and tougher coming out, tired, in the dark. Other than this, it’s a cruise. Past mile 3 or so, it gets a bit brushy, might be wet after a rain.
Ever wonder how they build those great footlog bridges? I got to see it. At Sawyer Creek, they have a huge footlog all set to slide into position with big cable hoists. Amazing (see photo).
This trail starts low (2000’) and climbs gradually, without any relentlessly punishing steep sections, through deep forest up into the upper forest zone to 4500’ at the pass. It is a good choice for cloudy weather when you’re not going to have sweeping views even if you do go up high, a long forest walk with all the little wonders of a Cascade valley. It’s for when the journey is as important as the destination.
Perhaps a mile past Sawyer Ck, there’s a good campsite where the trail rejoins the river, and perhaps another further on. A river campsite at the Tonga Ridge jctn., Tr #1059.1; this is a mile from Rd 6830, but why would anyone want to drive that long horrid road when you can do this pleasant hike instead? There’s a log crossing there (Fisher Creek). The footlog across Deception Ck at 5 mi. is very solid, probably slippery when wet, apparently flood-resistant. Fast trail from there to the junction with Deception Lakes #1059.2 at about milepost 7, nice campsite there where the trail crosses the lakes’ outfall, maybe another in between somewhere. Past this junction, #1059 is much less well-traveled but free of windfall and downhill, losing 500’, to the first crossing (campsite). Indecisive, the trail crosses the river at least 3 times (I recall doing an easy ford here once in early season). The final mile or two might be hard to follow when there’s snow. There are a couple more campsites in here, including a nice one just below the pass, awfully buggy I’d expect. PCTers could drop down into here for a break from the traffic.
The PCT crosses the pass, so you start seeing people up there. Marmot Lake #1066 has some campsites right on the trail, near the PCT jct. There’s another in there somewhere where a WTA party was camped, but I didn’t notice it. Tr #1066 traverses NW, crossing some marvelously lush, scenic meadows and losing almost 500’ before climbing back up to the big, well-hidden Marmot Lake at about 4 miles. Nice campsites (please, don’t even think of a fire above 4000’). I did not check out Lake Clarice.
If you want to continue to No-Name and Jade Lakes, you can study the approach from the spot where you first get to the lake. The way-trail around Marmot’s SE side is sketchy, rocky, rough, and slow, sometimes hard to follow, but it’s there. The route up to the little divide is partly cairned. Where a huge talus fan comes down to the lake, you go up, basically hugging its left edge. There is a track, find it. At No-Name, about 5600’, there is a pristine and very fragile campsite, so if you choose to camp there, take your boots off and tiptoe and treat this place very carefully; there aren’t even any social trails, and one could argue about whether it’s an established campsite or not. [I hesitate to mention such places, but OTOH I want people to know about them for when They decide to strip-mine them.]
I did not reconnoiter Jade Lake due to time and weather, but if you circumvent the lake and ascend the remnant Jade Glacier or Diptop(?) Pk 7291, you’ll have a view of Daniel you won’t forget. Scrambling skills likely required.
I can’t leave a place like that until 2 hours past the last minute, so I left at noon and got back to Deception Pass until 4:30 next day. The brushy trail was extremely wet. I wrung my socks 3 times. For variety, I took the PCT highway north to Deception Lakes. I’d met the WTA crew that’s done a lot of heavy re-treading on it, nice job guys. This route back may not save you any time – it gains 500’, but so does #1059 down in the valley – but it’s worth it for some expansive views of the huge Deception Ck valley and the places you’ve just been. Then you drop down the steep #1059.2 back to the junction at milepost 7.
Trailhead to Deception Pass via Deception Creek #1059:
10.3 mi. 3200’ est. total gain 2500’ net gain 6 hrs.
Trailhead to No-Name Lake:
~16 mi. 4800’ est. total gain 3600’ net gain 10 hrs.
No-Name Lake to Deception Pass: 4.5 hrs.
Deception Pass to Trailhead via PCT & #1059.2:
11.6 mi. 5.5 hrs.