A ridge outing that starts high and stays high. The trail follows a high forested ridge until about 6700 feet and then breaks out into open country with fabulous views of the Entiat River Valley, Seven Finger Jack, Mt. Maude, Mt. Daniel and more. Update: The area burned during the Duncan Fire in 2014 and can still be hiked or mountain biked but is much changed (see the condition report below).
Maps: USGS 7.5 minute Series: 1) Saska Peak 2) Pyramid Mt. View our topo map. Note: use ‘Print Preview’ before printing to properly scale this map to a full sheet of paper.
Activity: Hiking, Trail Running, Mountain Biking
Nearest Town: Entiat
Skill Level: HIKING/RUNNING: 2; MTN BIKING: 3
Fitness Level: HIKING: 2; RUNNING/BIKING: 2+/ 3-
Distance: 14 miles round trip
Elevation: 5160 to 7820 feet (2660 feet gain)
Recommended Season: Late spring to mid fall
Access: From Highway 97A near the southern end of Entiat, drive the Entiat River Road 34 miles (33 miles are paved). Turn right onto the signed forest road 5608 and follow it 6 miles uphill to the trailhead.
–Follow the trail along the forested ridge in a northwesterly direction. The walking is pleasant and climbs steadily (but not rapidly)uphill. The trail hits a small meadow (3.5 miles from the start, 6,050 feet) with a small stream crossing on the far side. Even in the fall of 2005, a very dry year, there was a little water in this stream.
–Soon (3.9 miles 6,200 feet) the trail hits another meadow with better water flows. Fill up the water bottles here. If camping, stay in the general vicinity of this stream—the route is dry from this point on.
–At 7,380 feet the route leaves the southern ridge of the peak and traverses around the peak to the NW side of the mountain. Note: This is a scenic contour with great views of the surrounding peaks but if time is short, experienced hikers can scramble, cross-country, up the south ridge of the peak.
–At 6.3 miles, turn right at the trail intersection and continue 0.5 miles to the summit (7,820 feet).
Cons/Hazards: While motorcycles are allowed, their use of this trail is not heavy. Furthermore, the riders I’ve encountered on other trails around the Entiat district have almost always been polite and considerate of hikers.
Uses Allowed: hiking, mountain biking, motorcycles, horses
Land Ownership: Forest Service
Reporter: Andy Dappen 9/4/05
Condition Update – September 25, 2017: Almost the entire hike burned during the Duncan Fire of 2014. This is now a scorched landscape studded by the whiskers of burn trees. If you want to get up-close-and-personal to see how wildfires can turn formerly lovely places into Mordor, hike this route. We actually highly recommend hiking or biking the route because: 1) it graphically demonstrates how forests that are fuels heavy (because fire was suppressed over the past century) burn too big and/or too too hot for their own good 2) it will help you imagine how many other places throughout the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest will turn into megafires unless we empower land managers to treat their land at the right time of year (spring and fall) with a dramatic increase in the amount of prescribed burning conducted. The destruction of many other cherished places is imminent if we allow wildfires to burn these places at the wrong time of year (the hottest months of summer). For more information view this article Visit to Mordor.
Dirt bikers, are the heaviest users of trails throughout the Entiat River drainage and they have done an excellent job of opening up this trail by cutting hundreds of logs that covered the path in the aftermath of the fire. Without dirt bikers working on the trail, it would be a nightmare to hike this trail, so be appreciative if a few dirt bikers pass you while you hike this route. Unfortunately the deadfall of burnt trees will be a monthly and a seasonal problem for decades to come — every windstorm and winter snowstorm is going to bring down new snags across the trail. The same applies to the access road: Even though the road was in good shape when we wrote this condition report, windstorms and winter snows will keep a steady supply of burnt snags falling across the road for a generation to come. We recommend carrying a saw capable of cutting a 12-inch log in the car if you ‘re going to hike this trail — new logs coming down across the road is nearly a weekly event. Seriously.
Leave It Better Than You Found It: This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull noxious weeds along your route, disperse old fire rings (they encourage more fires), throw 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, conditions 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.
This guide is sponsored by Andy Dappen, one of the founders of WenatcheeOutdoors.org . “I hope this hike (or ride) will help visitors appreciate the devastating affects of large fires on the landscape and rethink how better forest management might prevent the forest-destroying megafires we’ve seen here.” Read the article at the link above ‘Visit To Mordor’ for more insight.