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Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin

Central Cascades > Stevens Pass - East
48.0829, -120.8350 Map & Directions
Length
13.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
1900 feet
Highest Point
5400 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
Phelps Basin. Photo by Bev.
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Old growth
  • Wildlife
  • Established campsites

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

This long but easy valley romp follows boisterous Phelps Creek to a mile-long broad flower-bursting meadow and a giant cirque beneath a formidable wall of towering peaks. But don't expect solitude, for Spider Meadow crawls with backpackers-brigades of them! The valley is large enough to disperse in, though, and Phelps Basin offers a quiet retreat from the meadow's loungers and shutterbugs and their tent cities. Continue reading

Rating
4.19 out of 5

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Hiking Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin

Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin are popular overnight destinations but are also great as long day hikes. Multiday hikers use Spider Meadow as a first stop on backpacking trips into the beautiful areas to the east of Glacier Peak, and incorporate the trail in thru-hikes to Holden Village above Lake Chelan.

As you head up the old mining road that makes up the first couple of miles of this hike, you will quickly come upon the first of approximately 16 seasonal creek crossings, most unnamed and not noted on most maps. This crossing gives you a good idea of conditions to come. Early in the season these crossings can make getting up to Spider Meadow a wet boot challenge, but take it slow and use your trekking poles. If you feel uncomfortable, there's nothing wrong with saving the trail for another day.

Immediately past the creek crossing, the trail goes around a tight corner, opening up to fabulous views back on the glaciers that hang on Chiwawa ridge.

Within a quarter mile, pass the Carne Mountain trail junction bearing up and to the right. Carne provides great views, beautiful larches in the fall and a very good workout--3500 feet in four exposed, south-facing miles.

As the trail climbs in shaded second-growth, you cross Box and Chipmunk creeks before arriving at Leroy Creek, the largest tributary of Phelps Creek. Just before Leroy Creek, the trail crosses a small unnamed creek. At this crossing, look for a large cement block and rusted piping that looks like it held a pelton wheel, a part for an old water turbine. This relic, in addition to distinct rock piles visible across Phelps Creek, are leftovers from the mining in this area in the 1920s.

Leroy Creek can be the most challenging stream crossing of the hike into Spider Gap. Once across, there is a signed, but unmaintained trail up Leroy Creek; this trail leads up to popular climbing routes to Mount Maude, Seven Finger Jack, and the Carne High Route.

From Leroy Creek the trail frequently crosses meadows hollowed out of the forest by winter avalanches coming down from Phelps ridge to the west or off the Entiat Ridge to the east. These meadows provide bright splashes of sunlight and wildflowers to break up the forested trail.

At 5.5 miles the trail breaks out at the base of Spider Meadow. Marmots whistle a welcome, wildflowers bob their heads in the meadow, and beautiful views roll out in front of you in all directions.

The trail continues on to the head of the meadow. In normal snow years, there are sometimes lingering slabs of avalanche snow well into August on the meadow floor. It is well worth the effort to hike up across the meadow and climb 300 feet to the junction of the Spider Gap trail.

There is a fisherman’s trail that leads to the right, roughly 300 yards to Phelps Basin, a perfect place to have lunch.

Hike Description Written by
Rob Shurtleff, WTA Correspondent

Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 48.0829, -120.8350 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None

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

20 miles east of Stevens Pass or 15 miles west of Leavenworth, arrive at the junction of Highway 207, the Lake Wenatchee Highway, on Highway 2 at Coles Corner. Turn north on 207, and proceed 10 miles.

Just past the bridge over the Wenatchee River, turn right onto Chiwawa Loop Road. On this stretch you will pass the Midway Market on your right, (a great place for ice cream on the way back).

After two miles, on the loop road, turn left on Chiwawa River Road. Follow Chiwawa River Road for 22 miles, though it turns to dirt 10 miles in, and there will be a sign for Phelps Creek trailhead and a right turn uphill.

At this point the road is often quite rough; check recent trip reports for road conditions. Follow Phelps Creek Trail Head Road two miles to parking area at the end of the road.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Central Cascades > Stevens Pass - East

Phelps Creek (#1511), Phelps Basin (#1511A)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee River Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Central Cascades (Romano - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Holden No. 113 map

Download a map to plan your hike

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin

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