Photo by Matthew Tangeman. Scenery from Graham Mountain in early October.
Attractions. The guidebook Day Hiking in the Central Cascades (Mountaineers Books) says this of the 2.5-mile hike up Crow Hill, “From one of the highest trailheads in the Central Cascades, set out on a delightful sky-walking, horizon-spanning, flower-lined frolic into the cloud-piercing Chelan Mountains.”
English majors and writers will cringe under the weight of all those cursed, compound adjectives but, truth be told, those made-up words nail this hike. It’s a good one, so get it on the list and get it done. It delivers great summer flowers and fall colors.
Recommended Seasons. Late June through October. Because the trailhead is so high (6,600 feet) it takes time for the road to melt out, Once it does, the hike is a great one for starting high and staying high.
Other Attractions. Besides the easy access to the high country and the long views, you’ll be impressed by the huge drop from the summit of these peaks down to Lake Chelan, sitting just below. For those with young children, consider safeguarding them with a cord around the waist if you’re going to let them near the edge of these summits — it’s over 6,000 vertical feet from the top of these summits down to the lake.
Trip Options. This high trail offers trips of various difficulty (see our topographic map below):
- Take a short hike to the top of Crow Hill (4.8 miles round trip, 750 vertical feet of gain).
- Take an intermediate-length trip farther out the same trail and climb to the top of Graham Mountain (11 miles round trip on undulating terrain with a total of 2,100 vertical feet of gain).
- Hike farther still and climb Pyramid Peak (19.5 miles round trip, with about 3,700 vertical feet of gain).
- Take an overnight backpacking trip, camp high in the alpine zone (see map for recommended camps), and walk up some (or all) of these peaks. Water is an issue for a backpacking trip and this option is best done before late summer when you’ll still find snowfields for water.
Skill: 1+ to 2 (advanced beginner to intermediate). Mountain bikers also ride the trail connecting all these peaks — skill level 3 (advanced) with a number hike-a-bike sections.
Fitness: 1 to 3 (easy to advanced), depending on the option chosen.
Access. Drive highway 97A to Entiat then follow the Entiat River Road for about 28.4 miles to Forest Road 5900. Turn right and drive about 8.4 miles to Shady Pass. At the pass turn left on spur 112 and drive about 2 miles ( this can be bumpy) to Trail #1443 (trailhead at 6,600 feet). No permits are needed to park or hike.
Map. Use the topographic map below for all of the walks mentioned above.
Authors and Updates: Initial reporting by Matthew Tangeman and Andy Dappen (November 2010). Updates June 2017 and June 2020.
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.