Photo: Winter view from the summit of Wedge Mountain
The access for this trail is a dramatic vista-view, contour-hugging Forest Service road which overlooks the Wenatchee River valley from Tumwater Canyon to Sunny Slope, north of Wenatchee. Visible to the east is Burch Mountain, Horse Lake Mountain, and Mission Ridge. To the north are the Entiat Mountains, and to the northwest, the North Cascades. Roadside wildflowers include fields of Fireweed where the forest fires of 1994 burned through, leaving burned snags but also clearing the underbrush. There are stretches where both sides of the road are lined with white alpine Asters with occasional splashes of purple Asters. There is Goldenrod, Teasel, multiple varieties of Penstemons, Indian Paintbrush, Yarrow, Lupines, Balsamroot, Buckwheat, Stonecrop, Jacob’s Ladder, Blue Elderberry, and Snowbrush and Pearly Everlasting. Geological formations include passage through alluvial deposits on the lower slopes of the Stuart range into transitional zones including metamorphic sandstones and fragmented basaltic rock uplifted along with the Stuart range. Much of the rock debris in the vicinity of the 3700 ft. elevation parking area contains serpentine. Toward the upper end of the road approaching the ridgeline of Wedge Mountain the rock formations and debris become predominantly granite of the Stuart range batholith, which is still in the process of uplift. From the flanks of the mountain and from its peak, there are wonderful vistas including the mountain building, glaciation, weathering, and erosion processes which have sculpted this region.
Note: Wedge Mountain is confusing because what the topographic map calls Wedge Mountain (a 5860-foot peaklet visible from Leavenworth) is different than what many skiers and hikers consider Wedge Mountain to be (a 6,885-foot peak on the same ridge system but two miles southwest of the labeled peak). Both peaks offer hiking and skiing options. We have listed the details for hiking either Wedge Mountain below.
Peak 6,885’ (what many hikers and skiers call Wedge Mountain)
This higher peak (Peak 6,885’) is what many hikers and skiers call Wedge Mountain, despite what the map says. There is an unofficial trail that hikers maintain and that starts from the end of Forest Road 7305 above Allen Creek. This trail roughly follows the ascent route (see map below) that skiers use to get to the top of the peak.
Nearest Town: Leavenworth
Skill Level: 2
Fitness Level: 2
Distance: Roundtrip distance of 5 from the end of the road.
Elevation: Vertical gain of 2,400 feet.
Recommended Season: Summer and fall.
Trip Description. From the end of Road 7305, follow the trail that takes off uphill. Walk west staying mainly on a ridge. Near the 6,200-foot level, the trail hooks left and climbs in a southerly direction to the summit. The trail above here follows the north-trending ridge and is quite intermittent as boulders and fallen trees have forced people to follow many different routes to the top. Stay on or just east of the ridge. (Use the map below.)
Note: The route most hikers and skiers use ends on a non-technical peaklet (6,800 feet) and viewpoint immediately NE of the highest point along the ridge. It is strongly recommended that non-climbers stop at this viewpoint as the route to the very highest point along the ridge entails exposed and tricky scrambling with potentially dire consequences if you slip. If you undertake the much more technical scramble, remember that coming down will be twice as hard as going up.
Access. From the Y-Junction off Highway 2 (several miles east of Leavenworth) follow Highway 97 about 4 miles south. At milepost 181.1, turn right (west) at the Mountain Home Road turn off. Follow the paved road for 150 to 200 yards. Mountain Home Road takes off on your right. Follow it 2.5 miles and turn left on Road 7305. Follow this roughly 4 miles until it ends or gets rougher than you want to drive. Park at the end of the road or in pullouts before the end of the road. No permits required.
Condition Update as of 6/22/2012. Ken Trimpe reports “Hiked this yesterday. The road was deeply rutted in a lot of places and had brush that scraped the side of the car, but it’s no worse than last year. There’s a fork in the Road 7305 at 3.8 miles that isn’t obvious about which way to go — veer left. The trail is in good condition and snow free until you get closer to the ridge at the top and break out of the trees. The remaining snow fields are disappearing quickly with warmer weather upon us and they are relatively easy to cross. Hiking poles are a good idea. If you want to scramble to the very top, it’s a little trickier with deeper snow. Lots of wildflowers along the way. The balsamroot are past their prime, but still good. Great little hike that’s steep in places and that has a spectacular view down at Snow Lakes and into the Enchantments.”
The Other Wedge Mountain (Peak 5,860’ –what the topographic map calls Wedge Mountain)
Nearest Town: Leavenworth
Skill Level: 2+
Fitness Level: 2
Distance: Roundtrip: 3-5 miles depending on where you park
Elevation: Lower Parking: 3640 ft; Upper Parking: 4088 ft; Summit: 5842 ft
Recommended Season: Summer
Maps: USGS 7.5 Minute Series: Leavenworth, WA. View our topo map below. Note: use ‘Print Preview’ before printing to properly scale this map to a full sheet of paper.
Access. From Highway 2 just east of Leavenworth, take East Leavenworth road 0.1 mile south to Mountain Home Road. Turn left and follow Mt. Home Rd. about 6 miles south. This road is gravel for about 5.6 miles as it ascends from Leavenworth into the foothills east of the Stuart Range. It becomes Forest Service Road 7300, and is marked. After about 6 miles, there is a four-way intersection marked only with a sign pointing in the direction of Boundary Butte to the east. Turn right (west or opposite the road to Boundary Butte). This is spur road 400 although it is not marked. Follow this spur up multiple switchbacks. Approximately 3.5 mi. from the intersection with Road 7300, there is a flat gravel parking area in a saddle of the ridge (elevation 3700 ft.). Park here. Note: The road is often rough once you get off Mountain Home Road. Some years the next several miles can be driven with a normal car, some years a four-wheel drive vehicle will be needed.
- From the parking area, the trail starts off on the right (toward Leavenworth) on an old road bed that formerly could be driven for another mile but now has only a trail penetrating the brush. Walk this old road bed (Road 400). The road initially heads north toward Leavenworth climbing moderately for about ½ to ¾ mile, then switches back toward the south for another ½ mile. This grown-over road ends approximately 400 feet above the large parking area.
- At this point, there is the appearance of a small foot trail starting up the slope. Unfortunately, this is all the trail that can be identified. There is no improved or even well beaten path to the top of the ridge. The remainder of this hike and the ascent to the top of Wedge Mountain will involve bushwhacking and path finding skills.
- By following a switchback path of rock outcrop, bare earth, and the evidence of prior footsteps, you can find your own path approximately 400 feet up the steep slope to the ridge. As this area was burned over in 1994, there is considerable deadfall and much evidence of the fire present on standing live and dead trees. It also offers the opportunity to view the progress of natural fire recovery.
- Once atop the ridge, the going is slightly easier as there are limited indicators of a footpath running along the ridge top on its east side. The west side of the ridge is a steep precipice. –Follow the ridgeline south toward a rocky peak to cover another ½ mile distance and gain an additional 100 ft.
- From this rocky peak overlooking the Snow Creek canyon, to the south, Nada Lake is visible nestled between the eastern ridge of the Stuart Range and the central massif including the Temple and Prusik Peak formations. To the far south is Mt. McClellan complete with permanent snow pack. To the west is the Icicle River canyon with Mt. Cashmere beyond. To the north is Icicle Ridge which runs northwest into the Chiwaukum Mountains. To the east, on a clear day, several prominent features are visible including the Entiat Mountains, Burch Mountain, Horse Lake Mountain, and Mission Ridge. In the valleys, Dryden and Cashmere can be identified, and the Sunny Slope developments north of Wenatchee can be spotted.
Condition Update: June 18, 2008. Reported by Tina Rieman. The road up was fine. No better or worse than usual, with just one tree to drive under that may come down on the road eventually. There were a couple patches of snow near the saddle (the dogs loved that), and lots of snow looking over toward the Enchantments. The main attraction was a friendly billy goat that hung around for the whole time we were having lunch. The Balsam Root is past it’s prime but there are tons of other flowers. The weather was cool, sunny, and breezy. Wedge Mt. is such a great hike. I never get tired of it, although it seems to me they’ve tilted the trail a little more since last time.
Leave It Better Than You Found It. This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull some noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over unwanted spur trails, don’t ride or walk wet trails when you’re leaving ruts/footprints deeper than ¼ inch…
Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change, and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or may not know all the issues affecting a route. You are still completely responsible for your decisions, your actions, and your safety. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.