Emerald Peak is a striking mountain located at the head of the North Fork Entiat River. The peak is neighbors with two other Top 100 mountains: Saska Peak on the west and Cardinal Peak on the southeast. The three peaks make for a nice weekend destination–especially, perhaps, in fall when the larches will have turned yellow. In the height of summer, it may be possible to climb all three peaks in the same day. Certainly Saska and Emerald can be climbed on the same day. They are only about six-tenths of mile apart.Emerald has a craggy appearance from most vantages. In fact, it is one of the more eroded hulks in the area. Yet, this erosion has allowed for an easy class 3 route to the summit, despite intimations that no easy route exists. The summit itself is cleaved into two halves. The north summit is slightly higher. The south summit, some 100 feet distant, is slightly lower and consists of a more steeply inclined slab. Slip on this slab and it’s off the East Face you go. Actually, the entire summit area (both summits) is quite small and quickly becomes exposed a few paces away from the relative safety of the center. Rock is part of the Cardinal Peak pluton (granodiorite and hornblende quartz diorite).
Nearest Town: Lake Chelan/Entiat
There are a number of ways to get to this peak (see below for more info). One is via the North Fork Entiat River drainage. Within this drainage, there are three trail approaches that could be used. Another way to get to the peak is via Emerald Park Trail No. 1230 to the north side of the peak. This trail starts from Lucerne on the shores of Lake Chelan. Note that there are a myriad of trails in the area. Some of these, such as the Snow Brushy Creek Trail, could be used to access the area from other areas deeper in the wilderness. These trails will be omitted here.
All three N. Fork Entiat River trail approaches begin at the North Fork Entiat River Trail No. 1437. To get to the trailhead, exit Alt.US-97 just south of the town of Entiat on the west side of the Columbia River and take the Entiat River Road northwestward. Keep on the road (paved for most of the way) for 32.5 miles to where North Fork Entiat Road No. 5606 junctions off to the right. (If you come to North Fork Campground, you’ve gone too far.) Take the North Fork road for about three switchbacking miles to its end at ~3,700 ft.
Leave It Better than You Found It. This should be every user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over unwanted spur trails, etc.
Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or not know all the issues affecting a route. You are responsible for yourself, your actions, and your safety. If you won’t accept that responsibility, you are prohibited from using our information.
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