Yesterday I headed out to Spider Meadow/Phelps Basin via the Phelps Creek trail. This is a fairly popular trail so I was happily surprised to be the only car at the trailhead when I pulled up. It turned out I didn’t see another human on the trail the entire time, which was pretty awesome. It’s a special place and I felt really lucky to have it all to myself.
At this point, the meadow is completely melted out and the trail is essentially snow-free. This is the biggest patch of snow I came across:
As others have said in previous trip reports, expect to get your feet wet. I pranced across the first few stream crossings, balancing on random rocks and sticks, and then finally gave up and just started trudging right through. Leroy Creek in particular is a definite ford, no way around it.
I recommend wearing mesh trail runners that dry quickly and allow the water to drain between crossings. Speaking of trail running, this entire trail is very well-groomed and entirely runnable. Fun stuff!
In addition to Leroy Creek, there’s also a ford of Phelps Creek that some might find tricky. However, the Phelps Creek ford is located at the north end of the meadow as you head up towards Spider Gap, so it’s easy to avoid if you only go as far as the meadow. That said, I was able to ford Phelps Creek with careful footing. On that day and time (mid-morning in the middle of an early summer heat wave) I found the current to be strong but manageable. The water was knee-high at deepest (I’m 5’6).
The meadow itself is stunning. I had to restrain myself from taking endless photos. There is also a nice little marmot population up there. Not quite as “tame” as the ones at Mount Rainier, but still willing to pose if you ask nicely.