Backpack - Esmeralda Basin/Gallagher Head Lake Loop

Esmeralda Basin/Gallagher Head Lake Loop

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  • Strenuous
  • Mileage: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft
8:30 AM at trailhead
Although open to all club members over age 18, this trip is also part of the B3 backpacking Building Blocks series and eligible for B3 course graduation credit. In addition, this backpack will have a practical instructional/learning focus and offer experience in proper gear use and camp set-up techniques.

Expect to see spectacular displays of wildflowers on this trip, as well as dramatic views of the surrounding country and high peaks. We will hike at a pace comfortable for all party members, taking occasional rest stops as needed to replenish our energy and enjoy the beautiful views the trail affords. Our hoped-for camp will be in open forest with prime views just off the Country Line Trail.

After establishing camp, we’ll take an optional hike to a high ridgecrest for views, then drop down to beautiful little Lake Ann, where a quick swim or dip will be an option, weather permitting (expect cold water!). This area is typically warm and sunny in July.

Be fit to backpack 7 – 8 miles per day, over sometimes rough trails, with substantial elevation gains and losses each day, up to elevations above 6,000 ft. We will take care to Leave No Trace (

I will contact all participants about a week in advance of the trip with gear requirements, planning assistance, and potential for gear sharing. I also will facilitate carpools and send out driving directions. The road to the trailhead is dusty with a few potholes, but is suitable for passenger cars.

A Friday-evening option for those who can leave town a little early is car camping at a nearby first-come, first-served established campsite such as 29 Pines, Beverly Creek, or DeRoux Campgrounds.

Be sure to bring a map of the route on this trip: either Green Trails Mount Stuart No. 209, or a USGS topo map that you print out by following the directions here: (use “esmeralda peaks, wa” as the location).

This trip may be cancelled or moved if weather or trail conditions are unsafe on the trip dates (e.g., if there’s a substantial heat wave or thunderstorm activity). Starting Trailhead: Parking area at the end of the North Fork Teanaway River Road (TH for Ingalls Lake, Longs Pass, and Esmeralda Basin)


Esmeralda Basin/Gallagher Head Lake Loop

  • Green Trails Mt Stuart No. 209

    Green Trails Alpine Lakes East (Stuart Range) No. 208SX

    Alpine Lakes Wilderness (ALPS)

    Trails Illustrated Alpine Lakes Wilderness
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials
Trip Reports