Icicle Ridge

Leavenworth, Washington

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A long backpack along the crest of Icicle Ridge. Icicle Ridge is one of the longest, highest hikes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The ridge forms the divide between Tumwater and Icicle Canyons, two of the deepest gorges in the Cascade Range. The relief is incredible; the trail begins from only about 1,600 feet elevation on the outskirts of the town of Leavenworth, then climbs up to and traverses along and beside a 7,000-foot-high ridge for over 20 miles. It goes without saying that the views from the ridge are far and wide. Although steep in places, especially in the first several miles, the majority of the trail is relatively gentle ridge hiking with the usual ups and downs one might expect, sometimes steep. Wildflowers bloom in abundance in the spring and early summer on the lower ridge and stay late higher up. Because of its length, this hike is more popular with horse packers than backpackers. Few hike the entire trail in one push; most hike segments of the trail as part of other hikes.
Backpacking Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Backpacking Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness

by Jeff Smoot (Falcon Guides)

A long backpack along the crest of Icicle Ridge. Icicle Ridge is one of the longest, highest hikes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The ridge forms the divide between Tumwater and Icicle Canyons, two of the deepest gorges in the Cascade Range. The relief is incredible; the trail begins from only about 1,600 feet elevation on the outskirts of the town of Leavenworth, then climbs up to and traverses along and beside a 7,000-foot-high ridge for over 20 miles.

It goes without saying that the views from the ridge are far and wide. Although steep in places, especially in the first several miles, the majority of the trail is relatively gentle ridge hiking with the usual ups and downs one might expect, sometimes steep. Wildflowers bloom in abundance in the spring and early summer on the lower ridge and stay late higher up. Because of its length, this hike is more popular with horse packers than backpackers. Few hike the entire trail in one push; most hike segments of the trail as part of other hikes.

©  Jeff Smoot/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Backpacking, Hiking
Nearby City: Leavenworth
Distance: 37.3
Elevation Gain: 5,600 feet
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: Overnight backpacking trip
Season: Best late spring for first few miles, midsummer and fall for upper ridge
Trailhead Elevation: 1,200 feet
Top Elevation: 7,100 feet
Local Contacts: Wenatchee National Forest, Leavenworth Ranger District
Local Maps: USGS Leavenworth, Cashmere Mountain, Big Jim Mountain, Chiwaukum Mountain; Green Trails 178 (Leavenworth), 177 (Chiwaukum Mountains)
Driving Directions: Directions to Icicle Ridge

Recent Trail Reviews

4/21/2007
1

If you're not into hardcore climbing, but you look for trails with great gains in elevation while staying on a trail. This is your trail! If you're looking for a good spring trail to escape the rainy weather this is your trail! One of the deepest valleys in the state, you climb nearly 6,000 feet. You have two options on this ridge - I've hiked both in March/April. The Icicle creek trailhead overlooks the town of Leavenworth and it's cool to see people...cars... and eventually two-story homes be reduced to the size of ants in your landscape! However the trail is necessary yet hard to see in the snow, you can't safely just hike straight up the side, the snow slips out from under you even with snow shoes. The mountian side is so steep you'll have one foot a foot higher that the other and it's quite tiring to hike, plus there are about 20 huge downed trees that are difficult to climb under or over, you'd have to go around. About 13yrs ago the mountain caught fire and most of the trees are burnt or gone, so it's really not that attractive. The conditions were so bad after 9 miles the trail completely disappeared and i had to hike back down to the snowline and ended up hiking all the way out the same day! A much better option is around the same road to the south side of the ridge at the 4th of July Creek trailhead. You climb almost immediately and for less miles, but it is much more beautiful and wooded, the trees you climb over are quite small and few, there's wildlife here, and flowers and a beautiful snow-capped ridge across the valley to view. This time of year on the south side you won't hit snow till you're almost to the top where the steepness rounds off. Then you can stand pround amoung a gigantic boulder outcrop at the summit and look out over ridges and Mt. Baker on a clear day. It's awsome!



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Apr 2018