Best Hikes with Dogs: Western Washington
by Dan A. Nelson (The Mountaineers Books)
© 2010 Dan A. Nelson/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
This trail guide says to start on the spur road off 4312, but a new trail has been built that starts at the end of road 4312. The elevation there is higher and you don't have to cross Thorp Creek. There is no sign but you'll find the trail at the end of the road in the middle of the parking area. Keep going up the hill on the trail and it will eventually become flatter and less vegetated (not overgrown after a while). I saw families with babies and dogs hiking this trail. It goes right by Thorp Lake and on up to Thorp Mountain fire lookout tower. Stunning views of Lake Kachess and the French Cabin Mountains along with many other mountains up the Lake Cle Elum valley.
Trail from Thorp Lake is brushy low but then clears about 3/4 mile from top. Terrific views north make the hike well worth the effort.
My first real day hike in a lot of years. I had planned on taking the other trail but the spur off 4312was closed at the gate due to the "bridge" being washed away. I took the "new" trail but didn't see it right away. My brother and I took off to the north, bushwhacking our way to the other trail. After a few minutes, we decided to start over. That's when we saw little red ties on the trees and followed them up to the lake.
The day was not too hot and hazy but we could see everything to be seen. Lots of wild flowers were blowing. There were still some snow fields on and next to the trail. The fire lookout was manned and the ranger was fixing the fire finder. Found a geocache near the lookout as well. For me, it was a great hike.
Trail is in great shape and has had some recent work done. Fall colors are in full strength. We took the Kachess ridge trail from the top and dropped down the Knox Creek trail to a second car we had planted. Awesome views and colors. Timing is everything.
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