Nason Ridge to Alpine Lookout

Quick update on Nason Ridge conditions:

Yesterday I took the Round Mountain trail to Nason Ridge, and then took the Nason Ridge trail west to the Alpine Lookout. Road 6910 up to the Round Mountain trailhead is 100% snow-free and in reasonable condition. A sedan could likely make it, although you’d have to steer carefully around a few bumps and holes, and one washout on a curve. As previous trip reports have mentioned, FS 6910 is very easy to miss as you’re driving on Highway 2.

The Round Mountain trail is completely snow-free all the way from the trailhead to the junction with Nason Ridge at 1.5 miles and approx 5300 ft.
I’m pretty sure there is a kitty who lives in this first section, as there were fresh tracks the last time I was there, and several piles of fresh scat this time. Unsurprisingly, I’ve never seen the actual animal… I’m sure they steer clear as soon as they hear me crashing up the trail.
The most noticeable and troublesome wildlife by far were the bugs. They were particularly bad on the Round Mountain trail.  Even after I applied bug spray, the mosquitoes were voracious. I also got stung/bit by either a bee or a horsefly. Not the end of the world, but just be prepared to serve yourself as breakfast. 🙂

I noticed that the bugs got better once I reached the Nason Ridge trail, partly because there was a bit more of a breeze. In addition to fewer bugs, there’s more snow once you start along the Nason Ridge trail. As of Monday, there were longish (0.5 – 1 mile) sections of trail completely covered by snow in the trees, which required some route-finding. The snow was mostly consolidated so it was fairly easy going with only the occasional posthole. I used poles but not spikes. And for every section of snow-covered trail, there were long snow-free stretches with sunshine and views.

It’s worth mentioning that the Nason Ridge trail isn’t exactly wilderness. Motor bikes are allowed for the first few miles, and they’ve already torn up the trail in a couple spots. You can also hear Highway 2 traffic and the occasional train. It’s no worse than I90, but it was noticeable.

The good news is that the ridgeline wandering and the views from the lookout make up for all that.  On a clear day, you can see from Stuart to the Chiwaukums to Glacier Peak and beyond. Pics below.

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Completely snow-free to this point.

 

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View from Nine Mile Saddle. Glacier Peak is hiding in the clouds at the very far end of the valley.
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Snow still lingers in the trees, which necessitates a little route-finding.
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Sunshine, ridgelines, and wildflowers
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In addition to bugs and cat scat, this grouse came out to say hi. My dog about lost her mind, and definitely would’ve grabbed a mouthful of feathers if she hadn’t been on leash.
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File this under “Creepy $hit you see in the woods.”
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Yeah…. No.
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Chiwaukums, with Daniel and Hinman in the distance on the right
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From left to right: Mount Howard, Mount Mastiff, and the White River valley

 

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