Mileage: 2.4 miles RT (plus a short walk from the parking lot)
Elevation Gain: 1253 ft
Map: Green Trails Index No. 142
Favorite Eats After Hike: Wallace Falls Cafe
This is one of those hikes that I do regularly, especially when I don’t have a lot of time of the weather is questionable. Short but steep, originally a climbers route, it gets the job done in a small amount of time. Just be careful headed up, there are plenty of boot paths off the main trail. New signage last year has made it easier to follow. Watch your step at the top, it’s a sharp drop down from the viewpoint. Here are just a few of my trip reports.
1/7/2017 With a long list of chores and the Wild Card game at 5pm, I opted for a quick hike up HWY 2 today. As soon as you turn off HWY 2, the road is covered with compact now and ice but any car should be able to make it. There was snow from the parking lot so I had my spikes on as I headed up from the TH. About 98% of the trail had ice and compact snow but enough folks hiking it that this was the easiest trip I’ve had as far as following the trail. I would not have hiked it without spikes, there was so much ice I would have spent a lot of time going around on the ice. Or falling on my behind (pretty proud, only one gash on my leg). As per usual, I didn’t see anyone else today, love it. The trees were blowing with the wind and I although I brought hot cocoa and a down quilt, I only enjoyed the view for a bit before my eyes began to freeze shut. I explored a little bit past the main lookout area, I wish that tree hanging over the ledge wouldn’t obscure my view. Perfect way to start the day. I am trying my hand at the GAIA thing, you can check out my track HERE. Not sure how my descent was more than my ascent!
3/22/2016 After heading up Beckler Peak Rd. to retrieve my hiking poles I left on Saturday by my car (oops!), I had time to show a friend my favorite after work training hike. It has been a month or so since I was here and someone has clearly been busy taking care of the trail. Not only were all the downed trees cleared but there are new signs directing folks most of the way up the trail, in addition to new blaze on the trees. The uprooted tree ball stills makes that one spot on the trail a bit “sporty”.
Locating the correct trail to the top takes observation even with the signs because of the climber’s routes (my friend said she would have made several wrong turns if I hadn’t know the way) but just keep looking for markings on the trees. The DNR clearing (destruction) up at the top increases with the timber sale going on.
Our first views at the top were obscured but by the time we left we had had some lovely glimpse of both the town and peak of Index. My friend vows to come back on a nicer day.
2/5/2016 I wasn’t going to do a trip report because I’ve been up here a few times lately, only to say the trail was snow free and there is no need to go all the way around the trail damage near the top where the tree uprooted a good section of it. Someone put branches down to encourage folks to start a boot path (damage) around but enough people have gone straight through that you can make it over the root ball and rock face. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! Also, it was a little (actually a lot) disappointing to see the logging that is happening at the top. There is a road coming up from the other side and trees have been cleared, destroying the forest feel that used to be up there. At least the view from the ledge is still untouched.
1/8/2016 I decided to end my day and check out the Index Town Wall. You can see the last trip report for it, most of that still applies. The snow started in earnest after the 3rd Y in the trail, but I didn’t need to switch to spikes as my poles were enough. There was not much ice, and the snow was crunchy but soft enough to posthole in places. If the trail could be hard to find before, the snow does not help. Others have hiked it so it is possible to follow the impressions, but there were no current boot prints to follow because the snow has started to melt. I left you some, but I can’t say I always took the most direct route.
11/20/2015 This is my favorite after work hike, just a quick jaunt up HWY 2 for some burn. The storm really brought down quite a few trees on the trail and one really good tree uprooted taking away part of the trail. The views from the top never cease to amaze. This trail is littered with climber’s routes so just remember “Right, right, left, left” when you come to each fork in the trail. There is no signage for the parking lot, it is just a break in the bushes and a little gravel lot next to the train tracks.
Directions: Take HWY 2 and turn north onto Index- Galena Road. Make another left over the bridge into town and go to the second stop sign. Turn left on Index St. and follow the road until it turns left again and stops at another stop sign. Turn right on Avenue A and the unmarked trailhead is on your right about a mile up the road. From the parking lot, go up over the railroad tracks and follow them a short distance to the right until you see a “road” to the left. You will see a picnic table and a large cement barrier in the cliff face where they practiced drilling for an underground tunnel. The TH is on your right.