In the pre-gloom season just before fall storms roll in, the "Golden Week" of early October is an unsurpassed time to hike in Washington's Cascades. The supreme experience is to watch Lyall's larch trees, their golden needles reflecting the autumn sunlight, high on the east slopes of the range.
Lyall's larch can be found at elevations of 6,500 feet and higher, usually on north- and east-facing slopes. The trees' range is from Ingalls Pass and Ingalls Lake, off the Teanaway Road out of Cle Elum, north to Cathedral Provincial Park in British Columbia, straddling the U.S.-Canada border.
I want to go see the Golden Larches this year and I may try to do one or two hikes on this weekend and spend the night near the trailheads if I can find a place to stay.
Just fishing to see who else is interested and which hike/day or both work for you.
LocationMaple Pass (#740)North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway
Okanogan National Forest - Methow Valley Ranger District
Roundtrip 7.2 miles
Elevation Gain 2000 ft
Highest Point 6850 ft
Features Lakes Old growth Wildflowers/Meadows Mountain views Ridges/passes
User info Northwest Forest Pass required
- Maple Pass is a 7.2-mile loop hike, starting at the Rainy Pass Picnic Area on the south side of state Route 20. It is a hike filled with wonders. At 1.3 miles, a way trail takes off to little Lake Ann. At 6,200-foot Heather Pass, pause for views of 8,900-foot Black Peak and spot the way trail to Lewis and Wing Lakes. Wing Lake, at 6,900 feet, is an awesome, remote overnight backpack destination.
Maple Pass is at 6,600 feet, but the high point is about 6,800 feet on Frisco Mountain. Enjoy the larches, and views south to 10,541-foot Glacier Peak and 9,000-foot peaks of its namesake wilderness.