This is one of the best early hikes of the season for both day hiking and backpacking. This trail is rarely crowded and quickly leads up into the Alpine Wilderness. As with any outdoor adventure this time of year, dress in layers and be prepared for the possibility of sudden weather changes.
Access: Heading up Blewett Pass on Highway 97, turn right at Valley Hi (about 7 miles from the Big “Y” intersection). Take the left hand fork, and drive about a mile to the trailhead.
Fees: A Northwest Forest Pass ($5.00 daily, $30 annual pass) is required.
Length: It is 5 miles to Falls Creek or a total of 16 miles to Stuart Pass; however, visitors can choose to hike any portion of this length, depending on weather, creek crossing access and individual desire. Early in the season, due to snow runoff and fast running creeks, it is advisable to go no further than Falls Creek.
Allowed: Hiking, horseback riding
Not allowed: Motorized, mountain bike
Elevation gain: Not significant; a fairly gentle grade.
What you will see: This is both a good early season and late season hike within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The trail follows Ingalls Creek where the forest visitor will see raging water and cascading pools that grace this narrow valley. Spring wildflowers are abundant with pockets of trillium, brightly colored paintbrush, currant, balsamroot, a few calypso orchids, lupine and many others in bloom ready to enhance your hike.
Although this trail is cleared of downed logs for 5 miles, there is just one large log across the trail at about the 3.5 mile point (horses will not be able to step over the tree). There are approximately 20 small “step over” stream crossings beyond mile point 3. Avalanche debris covers the trail for about 70 feet a quarter mile below the junction of Ingalls Trail and Falls Trail.
Campfires are prohibited above 5,000 feet elevation in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.
Caution: Currently, there is a “High Water Warning” advisement in effect. Streams and rivers are near flood stage because of the heavy spring precipitation and deep snowpack that is quickly melting. Things to keep in mind when recreating near high water: 1) Supervise children near all water bodies, 2) Stay off overhanging stream banks due to instability and a chance of sloughing off into fast moving frigid water, 3) Be aware trees with saturated roots in saturated soils may suddenly fall, 4) watch water levels to avoid being trapped if flooding or landslides wash out access roads.
Information Contact: Leavenworth Ranger District, 509-548-6977
—U.S. Forest Service