Ault Field, WA
Explorer | 20 pts
We chose this trail for an overnight backpacking trip after consulting our copy of "Best Hikes with Dogs in Western Washington" by Dan Nelson. We picked up the Green Trails map to amplify Nelson's narrative, a must we learned on a previous hike in the Olympics.
The trailhead is about 25 miles in from the town of Roslyn (the set for "Northern Exposure"), and only half is paved. Also, get your Northwest Forest Pass before you go...this will save you time as you transit in. The drive is pretty, with meadows and streams lining it.
Since we had a late start, we climbed 2.5 miles/1000' to Squaw Lake and set up camp. We had a view of Cathedral Rock, but if you walk further south/left around the lake, there is a great campsite tucked in the trees providing beautiful views of the mountain range. (We didn't discover this until the next day!)
The trail was very dusty and dry, so bring lots of water. The next morning we left our site and hiked another 2 miles/1200' up to Cathedral Rock. It was a modest climb, and we encountered many vistas, tarns, and meadows along the way. We were trying to find Peggy's Pond, but ended up scaling Cathedral Rock as far as we could climb. It turns out that you should head down toward Deep Lake and then traverse. But from our vantage point, we had glacier views as well as Mt. Rainier in the far distance.
This trail is open to and used by horses, but our dog had a wonderful time exploring the forest. There were lots of bees, but the only other critters we encountered were gray jays and a field mouse. Also along the shores of Squaw Lake, we picked huckleberries for our oatmeal. I highly recommend this trail for an overnight...we're looking forward to doing it again!