It might seem like I’ve been all bike bike boat bike bike lately, but I do still adventure on foot! Unfortunately my ankle (broken last fall) still isn’t 100%, so my pedestrian routes have been fairly, well, pedestrian. 😉 But last week I made a little loop connecting Heybrook Ridge and Heybrook Lookout, without ever setting foot on Highway 2, and I figured this route might be interesting to others. There is still some road-walking and a very short stretch of off-trail travel, but overall it’s totally manageable. At just under 7 miles, it’s perfect for an after-work jaunt now that the days are longer, and a great way to get some views of the high alpine without venturing into avalanche terrain.
Heybrook Loop – just under 7 miles and 2k of elev gain.
Route description: Park at the Heybrook Ridge trailhead, except instead of heading up the trail, start walking east on Index-Galena Rd. Actually, before you do that, walk along the bridge leading into Index for some pretty views:
Now begin heading east on Index Galena Rd. It’s a paved road, but you spend less than 2 miles on it, and it’s currently a dead end, so there isn’t much traffic. You can always jog to make it go faster. As you walk along Index-Galena Rd you will cross over Lewis Creek not once, not twice, but three times. After the third signed crossing of Lewis Creek, at approximately 1.8 miles into your hike, take a right onto an old forest service road.
After crossing Lewis Creek three times, take a right and walk through a large clearing, at which point you should see this gate and sign. My understanding is that the road is closed to vehicles but not foot traffic.
Follow this gravel access road up for just over 1.5 miles, until you reach a T-junction. At this junction, go right. Approx 1/3 mile after turning right at the T-junction, you will reach Heybrook Lookout. Fun fact: there is a pit toilet on the ground near Heybrook Lookout! I don’t know if it’s always been there or if they just built it to accommodate people spending the night in the Lookout, but either way, it’s good to know it’s there, especially if you hike with small children.
After enjoying the views from the Lookout, head down the Heybrook Lookout trail, which should be easy to spot as it’s a well-used trail that descends directly south from the lookout. Follow the Heybrook Lookout trail for approximately 1/4 mile. Somewhere around here, you want to leave the trail and travel cross-country towards the power lines. Note that the off-trail section in the map I provide is approximate, and not my actual route.
As you can tell from the map, the off-trail section is very short, and within just a couple minutes you should reach the powerline right-of-way. Take a left and start walking west along the powerlines, where there is already a fairly well-established footpath. Don’t forget to look behind you at the views of the Gunn Range! If it weren’t for those powerlines in the way, the views would be amazing. Of course, if it weren’t for those powerlines, there wouldn’t be any views at all…
Keep following the footpath under the powerlines for approximately 1 mile, until you intersect with the Heybrook Ridge trail. If you take a right, the well-established Heybrook Ridge trail will lead you down to the bottom of the ridge, where your car awaits. However, before you do that, take a left and walk 100 ft to a clearing where you can get fantastic, unobstructed views of the Skykomish Valley, including Mt Index, Persis, and Bridal Veil Falls (better than the views from the lookout!). After enjoying the scenery, head back to your car via the Heybrook Ridge trail.