Trip

Backpack - Esmeralda Basin/Gallagher Head Lake Loop

This B3 backpack route loops counterclockwise around the Esmeralda Peaks within the Wenatchee National Forest, up through some of Washington’s best wildflower meadows and rock gardens, past tumbling creeks, to ridge crests offering dramatic views of near and distant peaks, including Mt Rainier, Mt Daniel, and Glacier Peak, and the Cascade Crest.

Info
COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft

9:00 am, July 21, at parking area at the end of the North Fork Teanaway River Road (TH for Ingalls Lake, Longs Pass, and Esmeralda Basin).

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. A focus of the trip will be observing and identifying wildflowers and other flora. 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. 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 (http://lnt.org/learn/7-principles).

The leader will contact all participants a few days in advance of the trip with gear requirements, planning assistance, and potential for gear sharing. The leader 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.

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: http://www.mountaineers.org/foothills/hiking/docs/how_to_print_usgs_maps_for_free.html (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).

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. This trip will be of particular interest to Mountaineers Naturalists and others interested in wildflower and nature study.

This route loops counterclockwise around the Esmeralda Peaks within the Wenatchee National Forest, up through some of Washington’s best wildflower meadows and rock gardens, past tumbling creeks, to ridge crests offering dramatic views of near and distant peaks, including Mt Rainier, Mt Daniel, and Glacier Peak, and the Cascade Crest. A short, optional sidetrip along the County Line Trail leads to a high overlook above tiny Lake Ann. The main loop then continues across serpentine barrens over Fortune Creek Pass, down to Gallagher Head Lake, and then through De Roux Basin back to the trailhead. For the most part, the route climbs and descends steadily, but there are a few short, steep sections and some creek crossings (none hazardous).

This trip is dog-friendly and the leader will bring his dog. Please contact the leader if you’d like to bring your dog.

Route/Place

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.
Roster
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint/ground tarp
  • Stove and fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Bear canister or extra stuff sack and cord designated for hanging food
  • Cooking pot/pan with plate and utensils
  • Toilet paper and shovel or blue bag to deal with waste
Trip Reports