Mileage: 4.2 RT
Elevation Gain/Highest: 1200/5500ft
Map: Green Trails Lake Shannon No. 46
Favorite Eats After Hike: 5Bs Bakery
11/8/2016 I ended up taking the day off to help my son with something and what do you know? The weather was amazing and I had some time for a hike. The road up is one of the better ones I have driven this year and all of its twists set you up for the switchbacks you have on the trail to come. Even though I read the description before going, there is just that moment on the road where the view opens up and you can see one big hill etched with zigzagging lines you will soon be on. Even if all you did was drive up to the parking lot and walk around, you would have views to talk about.
But the bragging rights come from making it to the top. It was warm enough for sandals and t-shirt; hard to believe winter is on it’s way. This time last year I was hiking as the snow came down! The valleys with their snaking rivers and the sunbeams shining through the rolling clouds made for an great getaway to today’s election.
There were quite a few folks out for a Tuesday and I can see why the hike is popular. And despite the signs, I did see one yahoo (who was looking at a screen most of the time) cutting switchbacks. Grrr….
I explored the summit and scrambled my way over to the west to find a little quiet and privacy. All the major players were on display: Baker, Rainier, Pickets, etc.
I remember reading about this hike last winter and I can see how it would be a No-Go in high avy season. The road would be a fun snowshoe, though, and had a few pullouts at the bends as you go up depending on the snow level this year. There were a few nice views from the road alone.
Directions: From I-5 take exit 208 for HWY 530, signed for Arlington/Darrington. Follow 530 through Darrington, where it Ts with the Mountain Loop Highway. Take a left at the T to stay on 530. Follow 530 north until it ends at Hwy 20, the North Cascades Highway. Make a left (west) onto Hwy 20 toward Burlington, then turn right on the Sauk Mountain Road (FS 1030) at 1.7 miles, just past Rockport State Park. Stay on this windy and steep road (you climb 3700ft) for 7.9 miles to the TH at the end.