Golden Larch Hike - Maple Pass

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

Statistics

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

http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/maple-pass

- 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. 

 

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  • Kathy L.

    I didn't realize this when I planned this weekend, but October 5 is the second anniversary of me stepping in as organizer for this group. So Happy Anniversary to us and what a way to celebrate. Thanks for coming to the party. We will have to do something equally as awesome next year.
    Absolutely spectacular hiking even if the snow got in the way a little. Only makes me want to go back again even sooner. Look for this hike again next year, a little earlier in the year perhaps.
    PS the three hour drive only makes this spectacularer. Worth the drive through the North Cascades Park.

    1 · October 6, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      On the way back I pulled over 4 times to take pictures. Even from the highway, the views are spectacular.

      October 6, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks for organizing Kathy! It was awesome. Great to meet you Nancy and Gretchen. Here is a link to some photos. I thought they turned out great! https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B0bIX2zsU7ZaQWZwWmNWSXl5eWc&usp=sharing

    October 5, 2013

    • Kathy L.

      Nice meeting you, too, Neil. Hope you can come out to more. Great waterfall shot.

      October 6, 2013

  • Vanessa

    I decided I can't face a four hour (apparently) drive at 5:30AM after a brutal week. We will be up there as we have a cabin reserved (we'll be up by early afternoon) and see if we can jump into a hike Sunday. Hate to miss Maple Pass, but like others, I didn't realize until the last day or so quite how far away it was. See some of you at the Skagit Valley resort tomorrow evening.

    October 4, 2013

  • Michele B

    I hate to do it, but just too far to go for a day hike so I declined. I think it's gonna be absolutely gorgeous. DARNIT!

    October 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    If anyone needs a ride let me know. I'm driving from Woodinville. Was planning to bring my son but he is having some knee problems

    October 4, 2013

  • Brigitte

    Is anyone driving over the morning of this hike? If we are starting at 9:30 that's entirely doable. I can take a person and a dog in my vehicle. I live in Seattle and can meet at most P&Rs.

    October 2, 2013

    • Kathy L.

      Do not use the directions on meetup. I had to plug an address. Go to the WTA link provided and use those directions. It is a 3 plus hr drive

      October 4, 2013

    • Brigitte

      Thanks for the heads-up, Kathy. That's exactly what I did. 3 hrs one way is too far for me. Michele, I am taking myself off the RSVP list for this trip. So sorry to miss what sounded like an awesome adventure.

      October 4, 2013

  • Gretchen

    The TH is a solid 3.5 hour drive from Seattle

    October 4, 2013

  • Kathy L.

    Trails should still be open, northwest forest pass is still needed. Trailheads are not being serviced so you may want to pack toilet paper and you will need to pack all your trash out. Recent trail report from rainy pass area is that there is snow on the trail. Doesn't look like a whole bunch but come prepared. Traction devices, for all hikes going forward, are a good thing to pack in your back pack. Better safe than sorry. It will be cold. Freezing level is about 6500 feet so dress in layers and warmly. See you Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed, weather is looking decent.

    October 3, 2013

  • Cindy A.

    Forgot that I need to take my son to do the SAT. Sorry that I won't be able to make it.

    October 2, 2013

  • Kathy L.

    A couple of us have made reservations at the Skagit River Resort for Saturday night. It is about an hour from both trailheads. They still have some openings if you are interested.
    They do have some pet friendly cabins for an extra fee.
    http://northcascades.com/

    September 5, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi all, do they have camping spots at this resort, or are there some nearby? I am on a tight budget these days..... alternatively, if anyone wants to share a cabin, let me know.

      October 1, 2013

    • Kathy L.

      Check the web site and call them . I thought they have rv space not sure about tent space

      October 2, 2013

  • Kathy L.

    Plan on meeting at the trailhead at 9:30 am. Ignore the marblemount boat launch that is in the address. Meet up makes you put an address but they don't give you options for every where you want to go.

    October 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Just to be clear are we meeting at the Rainy Pass Picnic Area at 8:30 AM? If so I think I will drive out the night before too. Really looking forward to it.

    September 29, 2013

  • Michele B

    Hi Kathy! I am interested if a spot opens up. Don't see a wait list.

    September 23, 2013

    • Kathy L.

      You are in :)

      September 24, 2013

    • Michele B

      Thanks! I may have to bring my real camera for this one! I may have to be in La Conner at 3PM so I right now I am thinking I will drive solo. Look forward to hearing about the cabins too!

      September 24, 2013

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