Round Mountain Trail to Nason Ridge and Alpine Lookout

Mileage:  10 miles RT

Elevation Gain/Highest:  2264ft/6234ft

Map: Green Trails Lake Wenatchee No. 145, my GAIA

Favorite Eats After Hike:  Wallace Falls Café

Find out current conditions and as always, practice Leave No Trace.  Pretty Please.

My Hike:

9/30/2017  Like any typical fall hike, it is important to be prepared for any kind of condition.  Even though we started our hike with blue skies and rainbows, we enjoyed wind, rain, sleet and snow by the time we were back to the car.  You have got to love the Pacific Northwest!

You have several choices for accessing Alpine Lookout and we chose to approach from the Round Mountain trailhead. 

 

We had a short climb a little after 10am up some forested switchbacks to a burn area on the side of the mountain that allowed views down into the valley and over at the Chiwaukum Mountains.  The skies were bright but up the trail ahead of us the clouds were low so we knew we would be walking into socked in conditions.  Oh well, it’s all about the journey, right? 

The deciduous trees and brush so far had put on quite a colorful display that distracted slightly from the deeply trenched trail. Despite the sign at the trailhead, it was clear this trail sees bike travel.

It was about 1.4 miles and 1700ft of gain up to the junction with the Nason Ridge Trail and from here we turned left to traverse across towards the lookout.  There really isn’t a trail to Round Mountain and I’m sure it would be a short easy scramble but the views won’t be any better than staying on the ridge like we did (unless you go on a clear day!) do to the summit being forested.

There are several places along the ridge that we could tell would offer spectacular views if you weren’t walking through the clouds.  There was a side trail to a viewpoint 2 miles from the junction but we didn’t take it with the current conditions.  The fog dripped on us and on some spots along the ridge it even began to snow but it never covered the ground. During our walk we were also passed by two motorcyclists out for the day.

At 4.3 miles we dipped down to a small saddle with the knob holding the lookout out in front of us and the valley stretched out below.  The sun was trying really hard to break through the hovering clouds but losing the battle. 

Onward, we continued to the junction for the lookout just .2 miles ahead.  You can continue on to Merritt and Lost Lakes here and another trailhead if looking for a longer hike or loop.

It was just .3 more miles up to the summit and the lookout perch just before 1pm.  A couple of hunters passed us on our way up and we were glad we had our bright orange flair on today. 

There were about 12 other people at the top enjoying the views lookout and shelter from the cold, all bundled up in whatever cold weather gear they had carried up with them.  I walked the length of the summit and caught some peeks at the surrounding scenery but it looked like I would have to return again to see what Alpine had to offer. 

We huddled on the porch of the lookout with the others and after a feeble attempt at lighting a candle to celebrate another turn around the sun, we headed back down to our car (and sunshine) about 3:45pm.

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Directions:

Drive east on HWY 2, about 18 miles past Stevens pass, to the junction of FR 6910. This junction is just around the corner after the large rest stop on the left. It is not signed well, so look carefully for post office boxes. The brown forest sign is just past this but easier seen as you are passing by!

If coming from Leavenworth, proceed west about 15 miles to the intersection of Coles Corner. Continue roughly three-quarters of a mile past to FR 6910 on the right as the road bends to the right.

Once on FS 6910, in 0.2 miles you will cross a bridge over Nason Creek and in another half a mile, you will cross under some power lines. Continue on the main forest road 4.4 miles until the road turns sharply to the right (there is a wooden sign a tree at the bend that points to the right, “Trail”.  Continue about .1 miles to the trailhead, there is room for about 15 cars and a small privy.  Northwest Forest Pass required.

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