On the Trail of the Golden Larch Fall Color at Harts Pass, North Cascades

Mazama, Washington

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Go in search of the colorful larch—a magnificent deciduous conifer with bundles of long needles that turn a brilliant gold before they drop in the winds of late October. Follow the directions above to Harts Pass and the Slate Peak parking lot. At 6,800 feet elevation it is the highest place you can drive to in Washington. A short, steep walk takes you to the top of the 7,440-foot peak, a large flat area with a radar station in the middle. From the top of Slate Peak you can see mountain peaks and ridges for miles in every direction—a splendid place to be at sunrise or sunset (brrrr!—bring your insulated boots for standing in the cold). The larches, which grow in thick patches all over the hillsides, glow in the morning light. Washington’s autumn does not have the magnificent reds and oranges of the northeastern states, but we do have lots of yellows and golds—accented with reds, oranges, and rusts.And Washington is home to large expanses of evergreens, which provide a dark green backdrop for the golden larches, aspen, and cottonwoods in our beautiful mountains. Larches are the only conifer in Washington that changes color in the fall.
Washington Nature Weekends

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Washington Nature Weekends

by Sunny Walter & Janet O'Mara (Falcon Guides)

Go in search of the colorful larch—a magnificent deciduous conifer with bundles of long needles that turn a brilliant gold before they drop in the winds of late October. Follow the directions above to Harts Pass and the Slate Peak parking lot. At 6,800 feet elevation it is the highest place you can drive to in Washington. A short, steep walk takes you to the top of the 7,440-foot peak, a large flat area with a radar station in the middle. From the top of Slate Peak you can see mountain peaks and ridges for miles in every direction—a splendid place to be at sunrise or sunset (brrrr!—bring your insulated boots for standing in the cold). The larches, which grow in thick patches all over the hillsides, glow in the morning light.

Washington’s autumn does not have the magnificent reds and oranges of the northeastern states, but we do have lots of yellows and golds—accented with reds, oranges, and rusts.And Washington is home to large expanses of evergreens, which provide a dark green backdrop for the golden larches, aspen, and cottonwoods in our beautiful mountains. Larches are the only conifer in Washington that changes color in the fall.

©  Sunny Walter & Janet O'Mara/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Nature Trips
Nearby City: Mazama
Duration: A day or a weekend
Season: Best early to mid-October
Local Contacts: Okanogan National Forest; Methow Valley Visitor Center
Driving Directions: Directions to On the Trail of the Golden Larch: Fall Color at Harts Pass, North Cascades

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Apr 2018