Thorp Mountain

Kim was free and we headed east for a hike up to the Thorp Mountain Lookout. We met in North Seattle at 6:45 am and headed east. Through Roslyn and up past Cle Elum Road. We turned on French Cabin Creek Road for 3.5 miles and then right for 1.5 miles to the trailhead. There were already 4 cars there at 8:50 am when we arrived. A deer was standing at the trailhead. That is an interesting start. By 9:05 am we were on our way. Kim noticed that the lookout was in sight from the trailhead. It was easy to rock hop Thorp Creek at the start. On the far side we turned left and headed up the old logging road. It looked like it was a big creek in the spring. Lots of rocks with a smoother path on one side. In short order we reached the spot where the trail heads off the road. The route is very gently graded at first.

With our long drive and later than usual starting time it was already warming up. Much of the trail is in shade which helped. As the trail began to climb the forest became much bigger. Some very large trees ares seen along this trail. We were confounded by seeing a number of large stumps near the trail. There does not seem to be a logging road nearby. Many of the largest trees are still there. Helicopter logging? It remains a mystery. Kim noticed a stump cut to be a chair with seat back and arm rests.  She also picked out several types of saprophytes. They were near peak.

As we continued up the grade steepened and small meadows appeared. The meadows had a good display of wildflowers in bloom. A better display than I was expecting. A little lupine and Indian paintbrush plus money flower and Valerian, and pearly everlasting, and penstemon and columbine and asters and cow parsnip and more monkshood than I have ever seen on one hike. And a few more types as well. All in all, a very good wildflower show. There are some switchbacks and there are also straight up the fall line sections. The trail has a bit of a split personality. One big tree down across the trail was recently sawed out. There has been a bit of maintenance this year.

We took a break at the junction with the Thorp Lake Trail. Thus far we had seen only a couple groups. Not as crowded as expected on a sunny Sunday in the summer. The section from the lake junction to the Kachess Ridge Trail is not long but it is rocky, brushy, and steep. Not my favorite part of the trail. The brush was shoulder high is places but not crowding the trail. From the Kachess Ridge Trail to the summit spur is nice hiking. Forested and cool with a running creek. The last climb to the summit is steep but the trail is in fine shape. Higher up near the top we saw a lot of desert parsley, stonecrop, penstemon, and Indian paintbrush. We arrived at the 5854' summit at 1:00 pm. Three or four groups were going down while we ascended the summit spur leaving just two others on the summit when we arrived.

The views are really pretty spectacular. Mt. Stuart to the northeast and a whole line up of peaks around Snoqualmie Pass. I could see Silver Peak, Granite Mountain to Alta, Hibox, Three Queens, and up to Hinman and Daniel. This is a little different perspective than I'm used to. Right below is Kachess Lake and we could see boats motoring across the water. On the other side we had s small view down to Thorp Lake. We planned to see that on our way down. Kim had visited it once and I had never been there. It was toasty on top and with the sun directly overhead there was not much shade. There was a little breeze that helped. We stayed on top for a full hour. We packed up and started down at 2:00 pm.

We dropped to the junction and retraced our steps around the summit to the Thorp Creek Trail we ascended. Down the crappy section to the Thorp Lake junction where we turned right and followed the trail to the lake. It took less than ten minutes for us to reach the lake. There were a few folks fishing over on the peninsula and that was it. Everyone else had already left. One end of the lake is steep cliffs that added to the appearance. A much nicer lake than I was expecting. A quick look at the lake turned into 50 minutes sitting by the shore. A little shade and a cool breeze made for a great break. We did have mosquitoes on the trip. Enough to be annoying but not terrible. The breeze helped on the summit and at the lake.

Heading back we saw a lot more butterflies. I don't recall seeing so many on one trip. The upper half of the hike had a number of varieties and many in total. I managed to photograph several varieties. The last mile seemed drag on and on. The total trip was 8 miles round trip. The return seemed to be longer. We finally reached the crossing of Thorp Creek and used the water to clean up a bit. Back at the car just after 5:30 pm. There was only one other car in sight. The drive home had what is now looking to be usual summer traffic that added over half an hour to the drive home. Stop and go from the on ramp near Roslyn to the animal overpass even though we did not get a third lane. Summer road work.

This was a fun trip. Only 8 miles but with a steep climb the second half. Lots of wildflowers and butterflies. Great summit views. Not very crowded. My first visit to Thorp Lake. Kim is getting back into backpacking shape and the climb was good for conditioning. After a four day backpacking trip earlier in the week this was plenty of hiking for me. I have been to Thorp Mountain more than half a dozen times and I'm sure I will be back before long.

Lookout From Trailhead
Yes Deer
Turning Leaves
Best Leaf
Gnome Plant
Kim On Chair
Butterfly On Flower
Monkey Flower
Shoulder High
Looking Down Valley
Another Butterfly
Granite Mountain
Stuart Range
Thorp Lake
Lookout Above
Cascade Crest Peaks
Hinman & Daniel
Mt. Daniel
Bears Breast & Hinman
Three Queens
Huckleberry Mountain
Hibox Mountain
Chikamin Peak
Chimney Rock
The Cradle
Indian Paintbrush
Kim & The Lookout
Kachess Lake
Desert Parsley
Columbia Lewisia
More Butterflies
False Hellebore
At Thorp Lake
Two Butterflies
Crossing Thorp Creek
Thorp Lake Panorama
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2019