If you’re the kind of hiker who thrives on pain and suffering, then the walk into Scatter Lake is your kind of misery. Most trails rising out of the Twisp Valley are hot, steep, and dry; but the Scatter Lake Trail distinguishes itself by being the hottest, steepest, and driest of them all. If gaining a grueling 4000 feet in 4.5 miles does not satisfy your machismo, Abernathy Peak beckons from above, rewarding peak baggers with a tasty 360-degree view and a delectable extra 1300 vertical feet of talus to climb.
Skill: 3 (hiking), 1 (mountaineering).
Fitness: 3 (advanced)
Map. See this topo map.
Roundtrip Distance: 9 miles (Scatter Lake), 11 miles (Abernathy Peak).
Elevation Gain: 4000 feet (Scatter Lake), 5300 feet (Abernathy Peak).
Best Seasons. May – October. The entire route to the summit of Abernathy Peak has southern exposure and is generally snow-free by early July. Some parties equipped with crampons or ice axes may prefer a late-spring trip when sn ow covers and anchors the loose talus leading to the summit.
Access. From Twisp, turn left on the Twisp River Road and drive for 22 miles, turning right on an unpaved sideroad immediately after crossing Scatter Creek. A short drive brings you to the trailhead. The road is initiall signed “Twisp River Recreation Area”, becomes Forest Road 44 after 10.8 miles, and at the 18 mile-mark becomes FR 4440. NW Forest Pass required for parking.
Trip Instructions. Walk just a few feet and immediately reach a junction with the Twisp River Trail. Turn left (west). Continue for ¼ mile and then turn right (north) onto the signed Scatter Creek trail.
The trail initially entices you with gentle switchbacks that gradually gain steepness as the miles pass. About 2.5 miles in, any regard for switchbacks is thrown to the wind. Not wasting any time, the
trail climbs and climbs, past a level meadow complete with a waterfall – a great place for a rest break. Now on the home stretch, the trail winds steeply past the waterfall before leveling out again as it reaches the shores of Scatter Lake (elevation 7030 feet). Trout are plentiful in the shallow waters, and Abernathy Peak watches over as the highest point in the cirque wall (the first peak to the left of the point with the red cap).
If it’s views you seek, proceed around the lake and follow a direct route through the scree up toward the summit. Cliff bands are minimal, and experienced hikers and climbers will see the route to the top is obvious. Upon reaching the summit, soak up the head-spinning panorama: Wolf Creek, the Gardner Massif, and Silverstar to the north; the Sawtooths, Bonanza, and Glacier Peak to the south; and Mt. Goode, Buckner, and Baker to the west.
Allowed. Hikers, horses and dogs. The trail is in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness and is closed to mechanized travel.
Fees/Permits. A Northwest Forest Pass is needed for parking at the trailhead.
Trip Reporter and Date: Matthew Tangeman, 8/11/2014.
Leave It Better than You Found It. This should be every user’s goal. Do no damage and pick up trash left by others.
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.