Area: Chiwawa River

Length: 5.0

Elevation: 2590 +3980 -170

Condition: moderately good

Solitude: medium high

Appeal: high

Features: high views, access

Difficulty: moderately high

Administered: USFS, Wenatchee River R.D.

Trailhead: Little Giant

Connects to:
    Napeequa River Trail

Guides: 100GP , CRcc

   Green Trails 113 Holden




You might see a few brave souls using this trail to access the scary remote areas of the Upper Napeequa River. But much of the time, this is a trail that you can expect to have all to yourself. While there is so much of everything packed into just a few miles, there are plenty of challenges:

If that is just the kind of thing you want, you will love this trail. Better visit soon. As with most of the trails in this that are worth your time, this one is on the USFS schedule to be "retired" (that is, they are going to stop maintaining it and let the brush take over).



Start at the clearly marked Little Giant trailhead, directly at the side of the Chiwawa River Road. Though there is only room for a half dozen cars, but that is plenty.

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The trail wastes no time, heading straight down the slope from the parking are to the bank of the Chiwawa River. One toe dipped into the water is enough to turn casual hikers around and send them elsewhere. In early summer, the crossing is seriously dangerous and should not be attempted; but in later summer, it is only knee deep. Careful footing among the rounded toe-breaker rocks will give a safe crossing.

The next 0.6 miles pass gently along Maple Creek, moving directly away from the river. Then, take an abrupt right turn and begin ascending a sequence of switchbacks. They are quite well done, and the grade uptick is really not that much, but the extra intimidation makes it seem more tedious. At 2.2 miles, pass rounded lumps at the top of the rib. Swing left, with the trail straightening but still ascending at a lesser rate. At 2.7 miles begin a slight descent, and reach Giant Creek at 2.9 miles. Little Giant Creek is pretty much a little midget here. The crossing is one hop with help from a small log. There is a satisfactory but not particularly attractive camp just before the crossing, better primitive camping under little pines just past the next tiny tributary creek (a good water source), or 100 yards further there is a somewhat larger and acceptable trail-side camp.

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The trail becomes brushy. This fast-growing brush, with ample moisture and plenty of sunshine, will be the eventual undoing of this trail after maintenance is abandoned. Weave and climb to gain about 600 feet elevation. The trail swings gradually right to come to the edge of a large outcropping of rock.


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If you are familiar with scrambling on low-class rock, you will find this a gentle and quite pleasant walk, though inexperience hikers will feel some intimidation. There are plenty of cairns to provide hints, but if you look up and ask, "Where is this trail trying to go? And what is the easiest way for me to get up there?" your natural instincts take you to the top with no particular difficulty.

Encounter a bit more brush above the rocks, but this thins as you continue. Break out of the thicket near a small melt creek and continue to ascend. At about 4.2 miles, reach a dusty and well-used camp to the right of the trail.

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Pass the camp. Just beyond, drop and cross the snow-melt gully, then climb back up the other side. At about 4.4 miles, there is a good but less-used camp, also on the right, with its only disadvantage being the distance back to the gully for water.

From here, a few small switchbacks and a couple of long meadow traverses rapidly gain elevation and bring you to Little Giant Pass at 5.0 miles.

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At the pass, you can get just a peek into the mysterious and seriously remote Napeequa River Valley. The trail gets worse... the adventures more serious.

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