Little Joe Lake – Thorp Mtn Loop – 07-04-2014

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Mountaineers hike to the Thorp Mountain Lookout via Little Joe Lake. I did this last year on Independence Day and the trip was so memorable that I scheduled the same this year. This hike may well become a tradition with me – there is no better place I’d like to be on Independence Day than in the mountains with my friends. The Thorp Mountain Lookout is a great destination for the 4th of July. I had a rather large group of participants this year. We all stopped for a BBQ dinner in Easton after the hike.

Participants include Nicole Hansen (leader), Henry Adolfi, Kari Durr, Katy Killory, Candy Kreger, Nancy Musgrove, Lisa Ni, Carla Reynolds, Shae Rothwell, Joy Selm, Jennifer Shaw, Barbara Vane, Reisha Mathews, Aurel Perianu and Leslie Seeche.

Little Joe Lake – Thorp Mtn Loop – 07-04-2014 (Fullscreen Slideshow)

References:

  • Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Region, by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer, Thorp Mountain
  • Best Loop Hikes Washington, by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer, Thorp Mountain
  • Green Trails Kachess Lake No. 208

This loop offers outstanding rewards but demands serious effort in payment. The trail has suffered years of neglect, leaving the route rough. Add the strenuous climbs and you have a hike that taxes even the toughest hikers. In return, though, hikers will find views that are unmatched in this part of the state. From the fire-lookout cabin atop the heather-carpeted peak you can scan the horizon in every direction, picking out peaks and valleys throughout the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and south all the way to Mount Rainier (on clear days). The ridges rolling away from Thorp Mountain sport colorful flower meadows, and the blue pool of Kachess Lake sparkles in the deep valley at its foot.

Driving Directions
From Seattle drive east on I-90 to take exit 80 (signed “Roslyn/Salmon la Sac”). Head north on Salmon la Sac Road (State Route 903) about 15 miles, passing through Roslyn and past Cle Elum Lake. Just past the upper end of the lake, turn left onto French Cabin Road (Forest Road 4308). Drive 3.25 miles up FR 4308 to FR 4312 on the right. Go right and drive 1.5 miles to another road junction, with FR 4312-121. This road is typically gated, so park here (don’t block the gate).
Trailhead GPS coordinates (47.3733,-121.1578)
NW Forest Pass required.

Hiking Stats:
10.50 miles, 3050 ft. gain, 8 hrs 45 min.

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