Area: Middle Fork Snoqualmie

Length: (0.5 +) 4.8

Elevation: 1220 +2000 -20

Condition: rough, damaged, brush-jammed

Solitude: very high

Appeal: medium low

Features: modest views, wild lake

Difficulty: moderately high

Administered: North Bend RD

Trailhead: Taylor River

Connects to: Taylor River Trail

Guides: none

Maps: Green Trails Mt Si
USGS Lake Phillipa



What starts as a dull and seemingly pointless road walk in a damaged area quickly degenerates into something much more dangerous. Once the savage clearcutting on the north Quartz Creek Valley slopes was done, the road system was left to rot, and that is exactly what is happening today. (In the lexicon of the Forest Service, this sort of "use once and discard" policy to support logging is termed a capital improvement... so that your taxes cover the losses.) Beyond some mining and private land inholdings of no relevance along the lower part, things deteriorate into total neglect very quickly. Be glad you have the damaged goods entirely to yourself. At the end is a small lake and total solitude.




Start from the Taylor River lot. Walk the first 0.5 miles to the Taylor River trailhead, but instead of taking the trail to the NE, follow the road turning to the left and gradually uphill. Travel distances are given from this point.

At 0.5 miles, pass clearcuts on private and inholding land. The road seems normal here, but soon deteriorates.

At 1.3 miles reach the first place where sub-road culverts were dug up with a backhoe and left to rust. I can understand the desire to remove them, for water quality purposes, but aren't they still rusting, and sending the fouled water down to the creek? What good did this do?

There were once some very clear side routes down to two logging landings and to some historical mines in this area, but they are becoming harder to find, more dangerous, and probably not worth your time.


At 1.5 miles reach a log-loader landing. There was once an excellent view up and down the valley from here, but scruffy trees are now tall enough to hide most of it. Go sharp right at the steeper grade, as seen in this image. Then shortly after, take a similarly sharp left and continue along the road grade.

At 2.3 miles and 2.5 miles, cross remains of rotting bridges, being careful not to impale yourself on spikes. If you are sane, you can bypass both of these bridges and thrash your way across the creeks below.

At 3.4 and 3.6 miles, you will need to scramble through water hazards where creeks have washed out the road bed. At 3.8 miles, sharp eyes may be able to detect another major side road that once led to higher slopes.

Brush really closes in here, but the way remains visible. Reach an open landing area at road end, 4.3 miles. Go to the end, on the left side, and look for a barely visible foot tread descending southwest roughly in the direction of the creek, angling toward the stand of timber to the west. At 4.4 miles, you reach the Wilderness boundary, and follow the timber line south a short distance. Then cut abruptly into the old growth trees on what is clearly a foot trail. The trail is reasonably easy to follow, but often cluttered by berry brush.

When you reach the lake at 4.8 miles, there is a small camp below a large hemlock, with log access to a pleasant sloping rock in the lake outlet. The elevation is not particularly high, so the snow melt tends to be early. Bring your dissolving swimwear. Bessemer Mountain also presents an attractive face. No fish observed.

Forget the cross-country scramble to the upper lake. It is completely destroyed by logging.