Want a taste of what the scenery along the Hog Loppet route is like without actually cross-country skiing or snowshoeing that 19-mile route? Then ski or snowshoe the Wenatchee Crest west of Blewett Pass along Spur Road 800 of Forest Road 7324. This high, snowed-over road follows a ridge system forming the Chelan-Kittitas county border.
Besides the novelty of being two places at once (in both Kittitas and Chelan counties), on a nice day you’ll get airy views out toward Mt. Rainier to the south, Glacier Peak to the north, the Enchantments to the west while all around you are the complex folds and drainages of the Wenatchee Mountains. It’s as beautiful as (or maybe even better than) skiing the Hog Loppet.
Details, Details: Following the Wenatchee Crest from Blewett Pass
Activities. Nordic/cross-country skiing, snowshoeing.
Distance. You can follow the road along the crest for 4 miles (one way) before the road ends.
Skill. Skiers: 1+ (2 in icy snow conditions). Snowshoers: 1
Fitness: 1 to 2 depending on distance traveled.
Access. From the Y-Junction, follow Highway 97 south to Blewett Pass. Just beyond (west of) the high point of the pass park on the north side of the highway. A SnoPark is required to park here and there is no means of buying such a permit on site. People who find themselves at the pass without a SnoPark permit and who want to avoid getting ticketed could drop people and gear off at the trailhead, park for free in a plowed pullout 0.35 miles east of the pass, and walk back up the highway to the summit.
- Follow Road 7324 leaving from the north side of Highway 97 at Blewett Pass. The first segment of road is a shared-use route with snowmobiles. Arrive early in the morning and motorized traffic will be far lighter than mid or late morning.
- At an intersection after 0.6 miles, follow Spur road 800 to the left into the voluntary non-motorized area. There can still be some snowmobile tracks along the road placed by those who reject the notion of a voluntary closure, but the large majority of snowmobilers honor the status. Usually pedestrians have this route to themselves.
- The road carries on for another 3.75 until it ends on the slopes below peak 4,885’. There are a few forks in the road as you follow the Wenatchee Crest but we recommend that you keep taking the left fork whenever given an option.
- When you’ve had enough, turn around and retrace. The road undulates but overall you gain elevation on the out trip and as you head west and the return trip will be considerably faster. Roundtrip travel to road’s end is about 9 miles.
More information: This road system is not groomed although it’s not uncommon to find the tracks of other Nordic skiers and/or snowshoers. See this link for more information for additional guidebook information. Additionally, Ellensburg XC Ski Club have directions and another topo map of their own here.
Other Activities. Backcountry skiers can find a variety of good north-facing and south-facing descents off the road. Our map shows some of these.
Map. See our topographic map. The route starts at Blewett Pass and the beginning portion is north of the highway and noted as a red line. After 0.6 miles, the remainder of the route (the part in the voluntary non-motorized area) is shown as a green line. This schematic is also helpful for understanding the different Nordic skiing and snowshoeing options around Blewett Pass.
Reporter and Date: This information was first posted February 16, 2012 by Andy Dappen.
Updates: This post was reviewed and updated on January 7, 2020.
Leave It Better Than You found It: This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash others have left behind, pull noxious weeds along your route, disperse fire rings found at campsites (they encourage more fires), throw logs and branches over spur trails and spurs between switchbacks (make it harder to do the wrong thing than the right thing).
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Things change and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes, fail to give complete information, or may not know all the issues affecting a route. So forget about finger pointing: If things go wrong, you are completely responsible for yourself and your actions. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.