10.1 miles rt
gain: 4800 ft
max: 6242 ft
me and my dog
gpx track, use at your own risk: Sulphur
The Suiattle River Road washed out more than a decade ago. They finally…FINALLY reopened it this fall. I have been out it a few times while it was closed both walking an on bike. But at 23 miles, it is a long road to travel by foot or bike to get to a trailhead so usually the trip was the bike or walk and the trails were left un-hiked. I knew there would be snow so I came prepared. Miranda also came prepared…to have fun! Seriously, I gave her an anti-inflammatory before we headed up to help with her aches and pains. She always gets one at the end of each hike now. And this hike is one that gains about 5000 ft in 5 miles. That is one heck of a lot of up!
We parked at the end of the road where the trail begins, N48 14.709 W121 11.433 The trail is flat for about ooooohhh, 300 ft. then it shoots straight up and stays that way. There are a few spots where you actually get to walk pretty flat but there are also spots that you are walking pretty not flat (: The WTA website tells me you gain 4200, they are wrong.
Most of the trail passes through impressive virgin forests, it is quiet and soft. I didn’t see another soul all day so it was really quiet. Since the road had been closed for 11 years the trail had not seen any maintenance. It had held up pretty well, there are some of those big, big trees down across the trail that you must go over, under, or around but there were not so many to really impede travel. The trail could use a good brushing out in some areas but I was able to follow it the whole way. We hit consistant snow at 3 miles, about 4000 ft ele. It was beautiful and I loved it. Miranda gets really bad snow balls on her legs and paws but this snow was sweet, sweet, dry powder so they didn’t get bad. The final mile had about 8 – 10 inches of snow, deeper in the drifts but not too bad.
The views from the top were outstanding with Glacier right there. The day was clear and sunny and I could see forever. I could not have asked for a better day nor a better companion, it was great.