Area: Middle Fork Snoqualmie

Length: (7.4 +) 6.9 (to Gap)

Elevation: 2790 + 2460 - 250

Condition: moderate with rough spots

Solitude: very high

Appeal: medium high

Features: history, falls

Difficulty: moderate

Administered: North Bend RD

Trailhead: Dingford TH

Connects to:
Williams Lake
Ivanhoe Lake
Upper Middle Fork trail

Guides: 100Alp, JSbpa

Maps: Green Trails Skykomish, Green Trails Stevens Pass



The gnarly miners who carved out this route had no intention of making it more difficult than they had to. Consequently, the single hardest part of this trail is reaching the trailhead, either by the 7.4 mile downgraded Road 54 (Craig Romano report the distance as 7.7, though I can't account for why), or by the Upper Middle Fork trail at 9.3 (Craig Romano report the distance 8.7, and I can't account for that either). The trail itself is no-nonsense, relatively good for now though it will be abandoned at some time in the future. It feels very isolated and adventurous, but that is only the beginning. Pity the fools who bypass the adventures available to either side. Because if you get this far, you really need to continue on to some really good stuff.


Starting at the trailhead/camp on the Snoqualmie River, as you proceed up the north side of the river, you reach the foot bridge across Hardscrabble Creek at just 1/8 mile. At 0.5 miles, if you are observant, you might notice the old Dutch Miller trail route joining from back-left. The forest cover gradually begins to thin, as the brush begins to thicken.

At about 1.1 miles, pass a horse-era riverside camp that is oft noted, oft seen, rarely used. You remain in a zone of relatively thin cover as the pace of elevation gain increases. At about 1.2 miles, dip down and then crawl steeply back up to cross a stony wash; elevation gain resumes at the previous even pace. The river wanders away to the south in a densely brushy flood plain, as you work your way up and across the brush slopes a few large trees.


You might notice a Wilderness boundary sign here as the trail temporarily climbs out of the brush to these prominent trees; it's totally the wrong place, but there was no tree to mount it at the correct location.

The trail bends to the north here, in less hostile patches of forest and brush. At 2.3 miles, experience an unusual feature, a slight downgrade as the trail bends to the east. At 2.6 miles, notice the slopes that once crowded you from the north are receding; very shortly, cross Crawford Creek with a hop and jump. There is a minor camp near the creek at 2.8 miles. This crossing is your landmark for departing on off-trail trips up to spectacular but challenging Crawford Lake.

After tracking the river at a rather even pace, at about mile 4.8, the trail and river diverge. Here you might want to take a short off-trail side trail to visit the falls where the river pours over shaped slabs.

Back to business. There are now several pitches with short switchbacks, lots of truncheon, and irregular elevation gain. At about 5.3 miles, reach a sturdy footbridge where broad ponds drain down to the river; after crossing to the east side, you can follow the creek downstream a short way to abundant camp sites. You have found Pedro Camp. Relics of an old mining cabin are supposed to be here, though I didn't find them. A side valley with conditions like the glaciers just disappeared can be located off-trail on the other side of the river.

Returning to the bridge and continuing on the main trail, the tread becomes more persistently uphill, until at 6.0 miles you level out and reach and obvious (though unmarked) trail branching squarely off to the left: the Williams Lake trail. You won't miss this one.

But you are continuing on to Dutch Miller Gap — aren't you? The trail very shortly crosses the river — now just a trickle of a creeklet — and continues at a steeper grade on open slopes to reach the Dutch Miller meadows at 6.5 miles. Don't camp there. Too fragile, and besides you have distinctly better options.


At 6.8 miles, reach the narrow pass and stare down in awe at Ivanhoe Lake. Don't be intimidated, this was once the PCT, so the grade is good down to either of two lake-side camp options, 0.5 more miles.

But there are other less obvious options. From the notch, take a 90 degree right turn and bushwack through mild berry brush, on a level course, about 1/10 mile to a flat with a creek and one of the Dutch Miller mine sites. Plenty to explore, and views.

A starkly secluded option, if you still have fuel in the tank, is to turn abruptly from the gap to the left, directly to a rocky fold. Scramble up a few feet to the top of the rock. Follow left along the rounded top, to the north, gaining a minor amount of elevation over about 0.2 miles. When you see that the bottom of the notch to your right has come up almost to your elevation, look for a place where it is easy to cross. When you find the right place, you will see a steep but mercifully short scratch on the other side where you can scramble up. After this obstacle, the gain of about 150 feet gets easier with each step. Just over the top, reach a tiny glacier-cut valley; pay attention to where you are so you can find your way back to this location for the return trip!

Follow the rocky crease leftward and slightly uphill to a small melt pond. Pass this, and shortly after find a deeper pond, 0.6 miles from the gap. The pond is fresh and swimmable, if you adore hypothermia, and there are plenty of options to set up camp. For some great views, continue about 0.2 more miles up to the ridge, to peer over the cliffs and down to Williams Lake about 1000 feet below.