Snow Conditions

Trail Conditions California Section D March 4 – 15, 2015

By: Seaglass
March 31st, 2015

My husband and I just hiked California Section D.

The trail was snow covered and impassable a mile south of Guffy CG to Blue Ridge. We used the jeep road that parallels the trail and had to use the Blue Ridge Trail down off the mountain.

The northern descent off of Mt Baden Powell is snow covered and impassable. Use the bypass route.

We experienced an issue with a road crew who were clearing Highway 2 just above the start of the Baden Powell bypass (Manzanita Trail). They were clearing rock slides off the highway, but they were dumping the rocks over the side and down onto the trail. We gave them warning that we would be hiking the trail just below where they were working. They continued to dump rocks over the side and we were nearly hit by rolling rocks and debris. My husband climbed the hill up to the road and talked with the crew foreman. He said he knew we were down there, but he didn’t seem to know that the trail is only about 50-100 feet below the highway. The problem now is that there are boulders that need to be removed from the trail and more importantly there may be boulders caught up in the trees and brush above the trail that can still come down on people. Use extreme caution when approaching the first/last 1/2 mile of this bypass.

The Endangered Species Bypass is rough, poorly designed, many wash-outs and trees down. I would not take a horse on this trail.

There are lots of trees down in the Station Fire area. The section from Mt Gleason North is in need of tree and brush removal. The drop from Mt Gleason down to Messenger Flats is very poorly maintained. North of Messenger Flats we were literally bush-whacking our way through the trail. Sometimes the terrain was steep and the trail narrow. We were in danger of stepping off the trail and through the bushes covering it. The descent into the Acton KOA was plagued with washouts. Again, I would not take a horse into this area.

Trail clear of snow from Bridge of the Gods to Crest Horse Camp mile2206

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By: John Verburg
March 10th, 2015

I just walked (February 12) from the Bridge of the Gods to Crest Horse Camp (mile 2206) and the entire trail is clear of snow. There were a couple of minor patches (less than 1 foot deep and less than 20 feet long) just north of Big Huckleberry Mt., but with the warm weather even those should be gone by next week.

There are about 3-4 downed trees across the trail per mile but can be easily stepped over or around for walkers. Horses will have difficulty without about half a dozen. So if on a horse bring the appropriate gear to remove the obstacles.

A nice early hike.

Washington Section K

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By: Eeyore
August 12th, 2014

A friend and I walked from Rainy Pass to Stevens Pass from August 2 through the 8th. The trail was generally easy to follow, and snow was not a problem with only a few patches in the high passes. The periodic brushy conditions between Stehekin and Red Pass were much more troublesome, sometimes being shoulder high on 6 foot men. There were also quite a few windfalls, up to 6 feet in diameter, with lots of water on, or crossing, the trail. All in all the wildflowers in full bloom and the amazing vistas made up for the trail conditions.

Snoqualmie Pass to White Pass

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By: The Professor
July 18th, 2014

Just hiked completed Section I (going SOBO) from 7/13/14 – 7/17/14. The trail is in good shape (only the occasional blowdown) from Snoqualmie Pass (I-90) to Chinook Pass (Highway 410). Just a few patches of snow, perhaps 100 yards total out of the 60 miles in this subsection.

South of Chinook Pass (Highway 410) down to White Pass (Highway 12) there is more snow. Still the trail is actually about 98% clear, but those 2% are a bit irksome and might take as much as 10 seconds for you to relocate the trail from time to time. Also occasional blow downs, but nothing serious.

I heard rumors from NOBO hikers that the Goat Rocks are still really deep in snow as of mid-July, so hikers beware.

Snow report from a southbounder 6/31-7/8

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By: Jes Shap
July 11th, 2014

7/8/14 Stevens Pass
Everything within about 8 miles of the pass is snow free. Mosquitoes abound. Lake Janus thawed, trout are biting. Peach and Pear Lakes still snowed in. Trail easier to follow here.
7/7/14 Grizzly Peak area
Mostly snow, some sections very steep and difficult to cross in slick afternoon slush. Would recommend crossing in the morning with traction devices. That applies to most of this section. GPS required for navigation. Experienced my first fall-through since leaving Canada: fell six feet into a cavern made by a stream running under the snowfield that could not be seen from the surface. Not fun. I was not injured and none of my gear got wet, but that was just luck.
7/6 Red Pass to Pear Lake
Almost entirely under snow, steep and rocky. GPS and ice ax very helpful.
7/5/14 Kennedy Ridge to Red Pass
Snow free trail below 4,000′.
The climb up is long and all on snow. Tricky stream crossings where steep snow banks give way to wide streams. Staying on the trail is not really necessary once you’re above treeline if you can understand where the trail is taking you but otherwise will require good map reading skills or just GPS to follow.
The camp, toilet and bridge at Kennedy Hot Spring has been decimated. I was told today that it was wiped out by an avalanche. Additionally, the hot spring is small, mucky, and just lukewarm (maybe 90°F) so in essence it is unsoakable. Don’t go down here for a soak. The White Chuck Road is the better of the two routes if you do go, although the switchbacks at the bottom have fallen into the river. Look for the new route marked with pink flagging tape. The Kennedy Ridge Trail, north of here, also leads down to the Spring, but it’s rife with down trees.
7/4/14 Mica Lake/Kennedy Ridge Area. Fully on snow. Trail difficult to follow through sparse trees, GPS will greatly speed vegetation here.
7/3/14 Suiattle River to Dolly Vista Camp. Dry and well maintained trail until the last few miles before Dolly Vista. Stream crossings high, expect wet feet multiple times. Up to three miles between water sources
7/2/14 Sitting Bull to Suiattle River
Almost all snow. Keep your ice ax in hand. Traction devices helpful in the morning, gaiters in the afternoon when your steps will occasionally punch through the thinning snow or slush may fly up into your boots if you like to slide down the steeps like me.
7/2/14 Suiattle River
Vista Creek bridge is out, log crossing upstream. Watch out for rusty cable running through the bushes at waist height on the east side of Vista Creek if you cross the log to take the Old PCT shortcut.
The “Old PCT” near the Suiattle River is in decent condition with quite a few down trees. Will be passable for a couple more years at least. Log over Suiattle River is there but no trail for half a mile on either side.
7/1/14 High Bridge to Sitting Bull Basin
Snow starts at 4,000 before reaching the Basin. Basin snow is thinning and provides a fall-through hazard. GPS required when crossing broad open areas like these in order to find the trail on the other side.
6/31/14 Stehekin River and Agnes Creek
These river valleys are deep, low, drier and filled with mosquitoes. Up to three miles between water sources. Good trail, no snow, more people. Eat Koochen at the Stehekin Bakery, you will not regret it, and Friday is all you can eat bbq at The Ranch.

Snow report from a southbounder 6/26-6/14

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By: Jes Shap
July 11th, 2014

6/26/14 Rainy Pass to Castle Pass
Trail is 90% buried in snow, mostly too soft for crampons. Western aspects above treeline are usually the snow free part, good dry camping on the trail itself. Saw no one on this section until Rainy Pass.
6/14/14 East Bank TH to Castle Pass
North Cascades National Park
Boundary Trail: mostly under snow still, lots of down trees and slide debris. The switchbacks climbing out of Little Fish are largely covered with down trees and grown back in so don’t expect to follow them all the way to the ridge.
Three Fools Trail: a good way to practice following a faint trail. It took me 2 hours to walk the 3 miles from Deerlick to Little Fish on a sunny afternoon. The first mile (up to the wilderness boundary) is a normal trail, then it became severely overgrown in numerous places, with the last quarter mile being barely identifiable. Where it is not obscured by deadfall and overgrowth the tread is flat and makes for easy walking. No severe washouts. With the trees removed this would make an amazing trail into some amazing wilderness. The Little Fish shelter is gone but there is a sign to tell you when you’re there. Best to do this in the afternoon when as much dew as possible has dried from the trees, but expect to get wet anyway. Its only about 600′ of net elevation gain but some sections are steep and it feels like more.
Desolation Trail: 4 small blowdowns, water available at 3 creek crossings, patchy snow for the last quarter mile, lookout closed.
East Bank: Clear between East Bank TH and Desolation. 3 big blowdowns between the Desolation Trail junction and Deerlick Cabin.