There are so many fantastic trips in Washington that the biggest problem is deciding where to go! Glacier Peak Wilderness offers almost endless opportunities to find both beauty and solitude.

The Entiat Mountains, on the eastern side of the wilderness, generally have warmer weather and earlier snow melt than western slopes. Often these trails are open by mid-July. In 2011 the snow stayed on the trail deep into the summer on most west facing trails so having east-side routes on your radar is always a good thing! The longish drive from Seattle means that you’ll likely have less company on the trail. And there are no permits required in the wilderness or national forest.

And the scenery! Entiat Meadows and Ice Lakes are both well worth the drive and hike!

Entiat Meadows and Glacier Peak Wilderness ©Andy Porter

Getting there is easy, starting from Wenatchee drive north on Highway 97-Alt (on the west side of the Columbia River) to the town of Entiat. Turn left on the Entiat River Road and follow to its end, 37 miles. The road ends at the Cottonwood Campground and the trail head is easy to find.

If your goal is Entiat Meadows, just stay on the trail, it follows the Entiat River all the way (14 miles) to Entiat Meadows, right at the base of Mount Maude and Seven Fingered Jack.

Crossing the Creek to Ice Lake ©Andy Porter

The trail network is pretty extensive. Many loops, both long and short are possible. No matter what make sure to get yourself up to Ice Lakes. Upper Ice Lake is a great starting point for anyone wanting to summit Mt Maude.

Lower Ice Lake ©Andy Porter

While traversing a slope in that area we had a close encounter with a wolverine!  Sorry, no photos!

The Ice Creek Trail branches off from the Entiat River Trail about half way to the Entiat Meadows and ends at Upper Ice Lake, a 7 mile trip.

The Entiat Ranger Station can provide you with current information about trails.

There are many options for long or short hikes. The book: Backpacking Washington (Douglas Lorain, Wilderness Press) details several wonderful hikes in this area.

Lower Ice Lake and Mt Maude ©Andy Porter

My trip through the area was one year after the Tinpan fire of 2006. That was a lesson I won’t soon forget, don’t go hike in a forest that just burned! In some areas there were hundreds of downed trees on a half mile of the trail.

Lots of flowers and lots of bugs!

A wide angle lens is also needed.

Have a great trip!

Sunset on Entiat Mountains ©Andy Porter

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