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Middle Fork to Salmon La Sac Traverse

Snoqualmie Region > North Bend Area
47.5480, -121.5372 Map & Directions
Length
31.0 miles, one-way
Elevation Gain
3200 feet
Highest Point
5000 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
Lake Ivanhoe on the traverse between Waptus Lake and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trailhead. Photo by Anna Roth. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Ridges/passes
  • Wildlife
  • Mountain views
  • Old growth
  • Dogs allowed on leash
  • Rivers

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

Miles of riverside rambling, alpine wandering, a beautiful lonely lake, and high desert hiking, as well as all the planning and logistics that goes into a long-distance hike – this will satisfy your thruhiking cravings (at least for a month or so). Continue reading

Rating
3.00 out of 5

Hiking Middle Fork to Salmon La Sac Traverse

Miles of riverside rambling, alpine wandering, a beautiful lonely lake, and dry side hiking, as well as all the planning and logistics that goes into a long-distance hike – this will satisfy your thru-hiking cravings.

Whichever way you decide to hike, you’ll want to have a car (or a pickup arranged) on the other end. Or you could consider doing a key swap. 

From the parking area, equestrians, cyclists, and hikers cross the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and hike on the Middle Fork trail on the south side of the river. This option is more scenic than the road walk, though walking the road is about a mile and a quarter shorter.

After 8 miles of riverside walking, arrive at crossing of Burntboot Creek and Goldmyer Hot Springs (reservations required to visit). Past Goldmyer, the route climbs for 3.4 miles to Hardscrabble Horse Camp, crossing the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River on a high bridge. This camp is 7.7 miles from the trailhead; set up camp for the night unless you want to press on another 5+ miles to Pedro Camp. Also note bicycles are not allowed beyond this point; the trail goes into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness after crossing Hardscrabble Creek.

From Hardscrabble, the trail begins to climb gently through the Middle Fork Valley, winding through forests and traversing open avalanche slopes with wildflowers or wading through deep bracken fern, depending on the season. You'll enjoy beautiful views of rockslides, waterfalls and jagged central Cascades peaks.

The avalanche slopes provide excellent views of Burntboot Peak, Overcoat Peak and Iron Cap Mountain. A short, steep stretch of trail takes you into to the upper valley where the forest thins to park-like stands with many large open areas and lots of huckleberries in August and September.

13 miles in, you'll cross a steel bridge over the Middle Fork at Pedro Camp. Here, Reflections of Bear’s Breast and Summit Chief Mountains grace a quiet pool of the Middle Fork River. Pedro Camp is a lovely place to stop for the night or to use as a basecamp. Or you can press on; there are lots of nice camping options in this section. Past it, it’s a steep 0.8 miles to the junction with Williams Lake. This is a worthy side trip if you have the extra time (and you can camp here, too). Continue on through Dutch Miller Gap to Lake Ivanhoe. Camping at Ivanhoe (near the high point of your hike) is definitely worth it, just be sure to find a spot that won’t be impacted by your stay.

It’s all downhill from here. Day three, head 3.4 miles and 1600 feet of elevation downhill to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. Continue a further mile to the junction with Trail 1310, and make a left. You’ll traverse along the north side of Waptus Lake, staying on Trail 1310.

From the east end of the lake, it’s another 9 miles down to the trailhead at Salmon La Sac. Whether you want to pack it all into one day, or break it up into two days and camp along the Waptus River trail is your choice.

Toilet Information

  • Toilet at trailhead

More information about toilets

Hike Description Written by
Anna Roth, WTA Staff

Middle Fork to Salmon La Sac Traverse

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.5480, -121.5372 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Northwest Forest Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Middle Fork Trailhead

From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 34 (Edgewick Road). Turn left (north) onto 468th Street and follow it to the junction with the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road (Forest Road 56). Turn right and continue up the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road for 11.8 miles to the Middle Fork trailhead parking area on the right. Cross the river on the impressively large metal and wood footbridge, and turn upstream.

To begin from Salmon La Sac

Drive I-90 to exit 80 signed for Roslyn/Salmon la Sac. Turn north onto State Route 903. You’ll drive for nearly 15 miles, skirting Cle Elum Lake before arriving at a Y-junction in the road near the Salmon La Sac Campground. Veer left onto Road 111, crossing the bridge over the Cle Elum River and following the sign for the Cooper River Trail. Arrive at the large trailhead in another half mile.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Snoqualmie Region > North Bend Area

Middle Fork Snoqualmie River (#1003)

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District

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Middle Fork to Salmon La Sac Traverse

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