Monthly Archives: June 2015

Backcountry Prelude

This morning, Eli and I took our last preparatory hike before next week’s backcountry trip to the Wonderland Trail (which circumnavigates Mt. Rainier). It was fun father-son 1:1 time on a trail we’ve never explored, even though combined, we’ve visited Lake Chelan over 30 times!

We were attracted to this hike, because the guidebook promised a good challenge:

A real workout! It’s only four miles to the top of Pot Peak from Snowberry Bowl campground, but it’s steep enough to make you feel it. Take plenty of water and a hiking stick.

The drive along the south side of Lake Chelan is spectacular! A lot of people stick to the main highway and never experience this gem of a road. I’d recommend it for hikers, bikers or anyone touring the area. You’ll get great views of the lake and mountains, and if you squint, you’ll almost feel like you’re in Hawaii or Big Sur!

The Pot Peak climb – as advertised – is pretty solid. The trail is narrow – quite overgrown in sections, and almost constantly up, though never super steep. We hiked up for about 2 hours and 10 minutes, and then back to the bottom in about 2 hours. We took our time on the way down and enjoyed a peaceful – passed only two other hikers all day – and picturesque descent.

Contemplation

Waiting for us not 30 steps from our car, was an incredible payoff! You gotta see it to believe it:

Rushing Waters

All in all, a great morning – door to door in under 6 hours. The highlights: The views, shade (60% or more), the drive out and back, and the ice-cold foot bath at the end! The lowlights: Over-growth (should be cut) and the pitch.

One more word, I thought I would scout the trail for future mountain-bike opportunities – I got an MTB this year, and I’m loving it. This trail was way too difficult for beginners and probably intermediates. Very long, narrow, and steep, and not a lot of flow. However, there are easier rides nearby, including Devils Backbone, which is on my list for next summer.

The trailhead was easy to find, just 18 miles west of Chelan, hug the shoreline all the way. Just before the dead-end, turn left up Shady Pass Road. About 3 miles up Shady Pass, you’ll see a sign for the Pot Peak trailhead on your left. Half a mile down a gravel road and you’re there.