Water resources from four rivers, the Little Wenatchee, White, Napeequa, and Chiwawa Rivers, collect near Lake Wenatchee and combine to form the the Wenatchee River. A short 24 miles separates the urban-sprawl areas surrounding Lake Wenatchee from the edges of unspoiled Glacier Peak Wilderness. But thanks to a century of exploitation, roads tracing north along the Chiwawa River are for the most part immaculate. Most of the present day spoils lie behind fences and no tresspassing signs near the Trinity trailhead area, leaving plenty of possibilities beyond.

Trails in this area run generally south-to-north, leading away from the central spine of the Chiwawa River Road like fish bones. Geographic challenges tend to drive most of the traffic into just a few localities. Destinations to the west usually involve a river crossing, which can be dangerous when early summer snow melt rushes down. Destinations to the east tend to feature bone-dry conditions and serious elevation gains. The area was once wide open to low-grade mining exploitation and sheep herders, and nature is doing its best to cover over the damage.

 


 

Access


Take Highway 2 east from Stevens Pass, or west from Leavenworth Washington. At the Coles Corner junction with road 207, well marked, turn north toward Lake Wenatchee. At another well-marked junction at 4 miles, take the right fork, passing Fish Lake. At 8 miles, cross a low bridge to reach the junction with the Chiwawa River Road. Go left, roughly northwest.

  • At 13 miles from Highway 2, pass the Chikamin Ridge forest road heading up the hill to the right, toward Basalt Ridge access sites. At 17.5 miles, there is another small trailhead site for Basalt Ridge.

  • At 18 miles, pass the tiny trailhead lot for Schaefer Lake, clearly marked, on the left side.

  • At 20 miles, find the minimal but sufficient trailhead lot for Rock Creek on the right. A spacious and overbuilt horse/RV camp is located 1/2 mile further, just past Rock Creek. The Estes Butte trailhead lies just past the camp entrance.

  • At 24 miles, reach the tiny trailhead lot for Little Giant Pass, clearly marked, on the left side.

  • At 27 miles, the Phelps Creek road branches off to the right and up the hill for access to Spider Meadows and Carne Mountain.

  • At the end of the road, 27.5 miles, there is good parking with an access trail heading west across Phelps Creek to bypass the private Trinity industrial site.

 


 

Trails in this area

Name Miles Obscurity Appeal
Schaefer Lake 4.4 low very high
Rock Creek 8.1 to 11.7 very high medium
Little Giant Pass 5.0 medium high
Chiwawa River Basin 6.3 medium high medium
Red Mountain (5.3 +) 1.6 very high high

 

Other trails not covered here

Name Miles Obscurity Appeal
Basalt Ridge 7.6 high medium high
Estes Butte 10.7 max medium
Spider Meadows 5.7 to 8.5 low high
Carne Mtn High Route 5.7 to 8.5 low high
Buck Creek (1.7 +) 8.0 medium medium high
Massie Lake (3.0 +) 1.4 sky high high, disregarding awful trail