Springtime on the Suiattle

Quick trip report for several trails in the Suiattle River area. On Monday I took the Suiattle River trail to the PCT junction, and then headed north on the PCT.  I traveled on the PCT north for 2.5 miles until reaching the Image Lake/Miner’s Ridge junction, where I took a left and started climbing. I was nearing my turn-around time, but I figured I’d hit snow soon and that would be that. I was pleasantly surprised to make it all the way to 4000 ft on the Miner’s Ridge trail with minimal snow.  At 4000 ft and 12 miles from the Suiattle River trailhead, I hit a big patch of snow as the trail curved towards the north. I wallowed around postholing for a couple steps and then turned back. I’d already gone farther than planned and was potentially going to be late for dinner.

That said, I couldn’t see around the corner, so I’m not sure if consistent snow coverage starts at 4000 ft… or if that was just an intermittent patch on the north side! Either way, I was pleasantly surprised to make it so far on the Miner’s Ridge trail. It was a cold and wet winter, for sure, but spring does seem to be making an appearance in some parts of the mountains.
My Suunto (GPS) reported approx 24 miles and 3400 ft of gain for the day.

Trail conditions:
Suiattle River trail: As has been recently reported by others, the Suiattle River trail is clear of snow from start to finish, and good for 14 miles round-trip of smooth sailing. There were just a couple blowdowns that were very easy to get around.  There were also a few mud pits and multiple stream crossings, but nothing significant. I managed to keep my feet clean and dry all day.

PCT northbound: The short section of the PCT  that I traveled (from Suiattle River junction to Image Lake junction) was in good shape and snow-free. A few blowdowns and some more debris on the trail, but nothing major. My guess is that you could continue northbound on the PCT for at least another mile or two without encountering snow.

Image Lake/Miner’s Ridge: From the Image Lake/PCT junction to 4000′ (my turnaround point), the trail is in great shape: no blowdowns, minimal mud, and as mentioned above, minimal snow up to 4000 ft (and possibly beyond).

I should mention that most of these trails are south-ish facing. As I climbed up towards Miner’s Ridge, I looked across the valley and could see snow on north-facing slopes below me.

Suiattle River-2483

Happy place

Suiattle River-2485

Suiattle River trail in excellent condition

Suiattle River-2492-better

Unexpected mountain views (Fortress?)

Suiattle River-2495

My turnaround point. This was the most snow I encountered all day (i.e., not a lot)

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One Response to Springtime on the Suiattle

  1. Martin Bravenboer says:

    Thanks for sharing! That snow level is surprising indeed, even for a south-facing slope! Very useful.

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