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Poe Mountain via Irving Pass

Central Cascades

Location

Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - East
View map below

Length

5.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1800 ft.
Highest Point: 6015 ft.

Rating

3.70 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

One of about six former lookout sites in the Stevens Pass area, Poe Mountain boasts two different trails to the summit; the original steep supply route to the retired fire lookout via a trail rising from the Little Wenatchee campground, and the more moderate trail via the Irving Pass Trail. Irving Pass is the recommended route, since you spend a significant amount of the hike on the ridge with awesome views both north and south. 

Although numerically easier (the Little Wenatchee Trail climbs 3000 feet to this trail's 1800), you'll still get your workout hiking in via Irving Pass; this route hikes harder than it reads. However you reach it, the old lookout site on Poe provides excellent views in all directions.

There are no stream crossings, springs or reliable water on this trail so make sure you are adequately supplied. There can be easily crossed snow drifts until midsummer on this trail, so be sure to check WTA's trip reports (below) for current conditions.

The first tenth of a mile of the hike is in the sunshine of an old clear cut. Then the trail climbs 600 feet in a half mile on a well-maintained, moderately switchbacked trail to Irving Pass. At the pass, look left, past the Wilderness boundary sign for the trail climbing up the ridge. After a brief water and snack break, head take the left onto Trail #1545. Nearby, there is an unmaintained trail used by high country hunters that proceeds straight down into Cockeye Creek. It's not your route, and with a name like that, it's worth avoiding.

The ridge trail quickly delivers its views; you are walking between trees that have somehow found room to root in the 15 foot flat space on the top of the ridge which drops south to the Little Wenatchee River and north into the White River drainage.

Approximately three-quarters of a mile up the ridge is the one challenging point on the trail. Traverse north around a large rock knob. Early in the season this area can be choked with late snow -- if it looks impassible come back another day.

But if the snow is gone, you will be able to proceed 50 yards and do a short, steep climb to rejoin the ridge. Recently an old climbing rope has been left to provide a secure hand up across this section.

Once back on the ridge, the views continue off both sides of the trail. In about a mile, climb to what you thought was the summit only to find the true summit in the distance, another half mile away. This section of the trail passes through a number of dense huckleberry patches. Snow can linger in the low swale before the summit.

You will come upon a Y junction in the trail, where there is the remnant of a sign post, in the middle of the Y. Go up to the right. A left here will hook up with Trail #1520 coming up on the other side of the peak.

There are spectacular views from the top of Poe looking north to Glacier Peak, west up Meander Meadow to Kodak Peak, south to Rock Mountain, and on a clear day Rainier is visible.

 

Poe Mountain via Irving Pass

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.8953, -121.0360 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - East

Irving Pass (#1543), Poe Ridge (#1545)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District

See weather forecast

Getting There

From Seattle: Drive east on Highway 2 to Stevens Pass, then go an additional 3.5 miles and make a left on Forest Road 6700 (signed for Smithbrook), just after the highway divides. Be cautious crossing the westbound lanes of Highway 2. Once on gravelled 6700, proceed 12.75 miles to a junction with 6500. Just before the junction, you cross a bridge over the Little Wenatchee River. Turn left, heading back to the west on paved Road 6500. Proceed 2.3 miles to an unmarked fork bearing up to the right. This is Road 6504. This road traverses up to the trailhead at a steady grade for 6.2 miles.

From Leavenworth: Drive west on Highway 2 to Coles Corner, 15 miles west of Leavenworth. Turn right on the Lake Wenatchee Highway (WA-207), and follow it past Lake Wenatchee until it ends, roughly 12 miles. Here there is a bus turnaround and a gate where the road is closed in the winter. At this point, the road becomes the Little Wenatchee River Road. Continue west for just under five miles, then pass the left turn for FS 6700 and continue 2.3 miles to an unmarked fork bearing up to the right (gravelled FR 6504). This road traverses up to the trailhead on a steady grade for 6.2 miles.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Poe Mountain via Irving Pass

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