Area: Chiwawa River

Length: (5.3+) 2.4

Elevation: 4750 +1500 -0

Condition: mostly good, occasional nightmare

Solitude: moderately high to high

Appeal: high

Features: high views, historic, landforms, classic camp

Difficulty: moderately hard

Administered: USFS, Wenatchee River R.D.

Trailhead: Trinity

Connects to:
   Chiwawa River Trail
   Phelps Ridge
   Spider Glacier

Guides: 100GP

   Green Trails 113 Holden
   USGS Trinity
   USGS Suitattle Pass




Yes, you have to gain some elevation. But this is part of an old mining road network, so the grade is smooth and moderate. Perhaps the best season is later in the summer, so that you can explore high slopes that are relatively free of snow. As Harvey Manning described it, "For excellent alpine camping, descend the [mining] rubble to open benches amid the all-around splash of waterfalls."



Follow the Chiwawa River Trail for 5.3 miles, until you reach the obvious junction where the road grade splits off and uphill to the right.

In the first 300 yards, you will have a number of serious large logs to climb over. Do not be dismayed, be thankful. No horses shall pass.

In about 0.3 miles, reach a dense creek thicket. It seriously looks like the trail has ended at a wall of vegetables that no animals shall pass. Do not be dissuaded, however. The water flows along multiple channels never deeper than a couple of inches. Remember that you are on a road grade, so even if you can't see the ground, or where you are going, just maintain your direction straight ahead and level. You will soon emerge from the other side, exactly where you wanted to be.

red camp

Beyond this point, the road/trail conditions are excellent. There are 6 gentle switchback turns. As you pass them, notice how your view expands dramatically.

At 1.6 miles, just beyond the last corner, find a comfortable camp slightly up the slope on the right.

red camp

There is a more primitive camp in the meadows on the far side of the first camp, to the right. This is a view of the high meadows to the left.

red camp

You can set up a base camp here, or take Harvey Manning's advice, to continue about 3/4 mile to the end of the road/trail, and from there as far as you want to go to find a high camp among the waterfalls and prospect pits.

red camp trail damage

Not enough? Primitive travel enthusiasts might be able to find traces of historical routes looping down into the Chiwawa River Basin, or over Red Mountain to the Spider Glacier above Phelps Creek, or over Phelps Ridge to reach the Spider Meadows trail near Leroy Creek.