Upper Icicle Road Reopens Saturday
With the Upper Icicle Road reopened, hikers can now more easily reach the trail to Lake Edna, complete with its larch-filled basin. Photo by DICE.
Good news, hikers! The Upper Icicle Road near Leavenworth will reopen to motorized use on Saturday, October 8. This popular road has been closed beyond Ida Creek since May 2008 when a landslide and flooding took out a portion of the roadbed.
And in a double-dose of good news, it just may be sunny in the Icicle Valley this weekend - which is more than I can say about the forecast for most of the state!
With the opening of the road, camping will once again be available at Rock Island Campground and Blackpine Horse Camp, though do not expect services this late in the season. Make sure you bring your own water and pack out your trash.
So what have you been missing these past three years? And what should you do if you make a dash for the sun this weekend?
A half-dozen major trails have been all but inaccessible due to the washout and are going to be great fun to rediscover over the next year. This weekend promises to be quite beautiful, with the fall colors coming on and larches beginning their annual electric yellow phase.
For those looking for a non-strenuous jaunt, try the Icicle Gorge Loop trail. This four mile hike starts at Chatter Creek and wanders through a gorge along Icicle Creek. Enjoy the frothy rapids, the red vine maple and interpretive signs along the way.
Another option is to head into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness on what is one of the most popular trails in the area - the Upper Icicle Creek trail. After four consecutive summers of extremely limited use, the wide path is sure to have some surprises up its sleeve - and some solitude. Look for groves of yellow cottonwood, as well as majestic old growth conifers.
And if you're looking for larches - and a challenge - take the Chatter Creek trail to Lake Edna. This may be your last chance to tackle the trail before the snow takes over - and the larches are likely to be at their peak. The views aren't so shabby either! It's certainly not for the faint of heart at 12.5 miles roundtrip and 4,500 feet of elevation gain (to 6,735 feet), but the pay-off is huge.
Well, there you have it. A rewarding Columbus Day weekend in the Icicle Valley. Choose a soft bed in Leavenworth or a hard bed in the Rock Island Campground, then explore the newly reopened wonders of the Upper Icicle Road. In the sun (we hope).