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Trip Report

Granite Creek Trail to Granite Lakes, Bessemer Mountain, Mine Creek & Champion Beach — Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022

Snoqualmie Region
What's left of the last car to drive to Champion Beach

Middle Fork Road Status Update!

The Middle Fork Road is plowed up to the Mine Creek Day Use Area. This is 0.75 miles past the Granite Creek Connector Trailhead (near the Mailbox Trailhead), and 1.5 miles before the main Granite Creek Trailhead. There's at least a foot of firm snow on the road, so you'd need a special vehicle to make it beyond Mine Creek. Lots of folks were snowshoeing, skiing, or just hiking down the road. It's a lovely road for a walk, once you've left the cars! We skied to the Granite Creek Trailhead, determined the trail would not be fun to ski, enjoyed the view from the bridge, and headed back to enjoy the day's sunshine out of the trees. A few snow cats went past, one with the county, the others I'd guess going to Goldmyer.

A note on parking...

We arrived around 8:30 and got one of the last real parking spots, near where the plowing ended. Leaving was a disaster. It took us almost an hour to drive the mile from where we parked to the Mailbox Peak parking lot (where the congestion finally eased). It seems most folks who arrived after us parked on the road. There are No Parking signs for a reason. There was essentially nowhere to pass other cars on the road, since all the plowed wide spots were filled with parked cars. There was also no place for non-high-clearance vehicles to turn around, meaning most cars had to back all the way out to the Mailbox trailhead. What happened when a train of cars backing out arrived at a train of cars driving in? Everyone sits around for 10 minutes while the folks driving in realize that they need to back up (all while more cars arrive behind them). The road was icy, so folks were understandably very hesitant to pass other cars in reverse. If cars kept driving in, this was going to turn into gridlock with tons of folks trapped, so I'm glad we escaped by 11:15. I'd be curious to hear how things turned out in the afternoon.

Side story:

Since the last snow (Friday?), someone managed to drive to the Champion Beach day use area, but all that's left is a burned-out Jeep skeleton. Looks like they got a few donuts in before catching on fire. I'm assuming it happened yesterday, since the tracks were fresh and it was still pungent. Let that be a warning to folks trying to drive the road until it's had a chance to melt out substantially (or be plowed)!

Comments

ricola on Granite Creek Trail to Granite Lakes, Bessemer Mountain, Mine Creek, Champion Beach

Things didn't turn out well unfortunately. Some got out of their cars and a fight started with fists flying, yelling expletives etc.

There is actually a sign at the very start of the Middle Fork stating "Road Closed: No Thru Traffic" but everyone seems to be ignoring it. It's a County Road so wont be getting plowed any time soon since there are higher priority issues.

Posted by:


ricola on Jan 09, 2022 04:09 PM

LostLemonhope on Granite Creek Trail to Granite Lakes, Bessemer Mountain, Mine Creek, Champion Beach

Yikes, well I hope everyone made it out with nothing but egos damaged!

I assumed that sign was meant to keep folks from using Dutch Miller Gap as an I-90 detour haha. Not sure what "no thru traffic" means on a dead-end road...

Didn't realize it was county maintained, thanks for the info. That might explain why the NF road status map says it's open and snow-free!

Posted by:


LostLemonhope on Jan 09, 2022 05:00 PM

kidz won't hike on Granite Creek Trail to Granite Lakes, Bessemer Mountain, Mine Creek, Champion Beach

I am so glad I was able to get out of there at 10:40 am from the Granite Creek Trailhead. I parked legally, and could of been stuck with the illegally parked cars causing havoc

Posted by:


kidz won't hike on Jan 09, 2022 04:16 PM

Ups n Downs on Granite Creek Trail to Granite Lakes, Bessemer Mountain, Mine Creek, Champion Beach

Sounds like you got lucky. I'd hate to have to bail you out of jail for punching a guy!

Posted by:


Ups n Downs on Jan 09, 2022 08:03 PM

Lucy on Granite Creek Trail to Granite Lakes, Bessemer Mountain, Mine Creek, Champion Beach

This behavior along with the car break-ins is going to cause me to stop hiking. So much for promoting hiking in the PNW.

Posted by:


Lucy on Jan 09, 2022 05:24 PM

Ups n Downs on Granite Creek Trail to Granite Lakes, Bessemer Mountain, Mine Creek, Champion Beach

It's a sad day when we lose civility in the mountains too. Covid has driven me to seek out obscure hikes and maybe that's a blessing in disguise. They may not be as glamorous but they've certainly been more tranquil.

Posted by:


Ups n Downs on Jan 09, 2022 08:00 PM

Joel_Grant on Granite Creek Trail to Granite Lakes, Bessemer Mountain, Mine Creek, Champion Beach

I snowshoed on the Olallie Trail today, arriving early and parking at the very snowy Cedar Falls lot. On the way back, cars going in were stopped on the 2-lane road waiting for, I presume, a car going away from the lot, as if that indicated a new space. More likely, it was one of the cars who zoomed past the stopped cars, saw there was no place to park, and slowly turned around. With one lane blocked with stopped cars and the other lane hosting cars going around the stopped cars, it took me quite a while to get out. I do not understand why people who find no parking at a trail head do not accept reality and find something else to do. The situation around Mailbox Peak is so bad that I do not venture down the SE Middle Fork road on the weekend, just because the drive back can be so frustrating.

Seriously, I do not get why people cannot accept that 'no parking' means no parking, and a full lot means the choice you made did not work out.

Posted by:


Joel_Grant on Jan 09, 2022 05:47 PM

Uli on Granite Creek Trail to Granite Lakes, Bessemer Mountain, Mine Creek, Champion Beach

I can tell you EXACTLY why people don't obey the "Park in designated areas only" signs: Because there are no consequences for parking along the road and in "No Parking" areas. We can complain as much as we want here, but until actual tickets are issued on a regular basis NOTHING is going to change. Instead of issuing tickets to those who don't have the correct, or any trailhead pass, issue tickets to those parked in no parking zones first.
I talked to one of the owners of a cabin at the Denny Creek trailhead. He told me people always parked in private cabin access driveways despite "Private property - no parking" signs - back when the gate to the trailhead parking was still open.

Posted by:


Uli on Jan 10, 2022 05:36 PM