Napeequa Valley


Backpack - Napeequa Valley via Little Giant Pass

Visit four stunning high passes--Buck Creek, High, Boulder and Little Giant; and the rarely visited Napeequa Valley. Adventure includes extensive off-trail exploration of high places around each pass and river fords. Expect amazing wildlife as well. A very challenging one-way shuttle trip

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.
  • Very Strenuous
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 46.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 18,000 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 8,500 ft
  • Pace: 1.5-2.0

Meet at Coles Corner, Junction of Hwy 2 and Hwy 207 at 9:00 AM.  We will caravan to the TH from there.

This is a Phase-2 trip and we will follow all the Covid-19 protocol outlined by the Mountaineers.  A cloth mask, buff or bandanna is required as is hand sanitizer or soap. Mask must be worn when within 6' of others in or outside of our group.  See complete Mountaineers' policy.  One must attest to this when signing up and the day of the trip.

This is #4 in the BABP series.  This trip is very challenging.  Leader's permission is required. We will spend most of day 2, and parts of day 3, 4, 5 exploring off trail.  We will ford the Napeequa River twice  on the way to  from  our Boulder Pass day outing.  This is a moderate ford.  On our way out we will ford the Chiwawa River, an easy ford.  Participants must be comfortable with and have demonstrated sufficient experience with off-trail travel over rock, uneven ground and snow. Participants must be comfortable with fording a river with  knee deep or so depth.  Participants must be capable of climbing 3600' the first day with a full pack and the cumulative 18000' gain over 5 days (half with full pack, half with small day pack).  Participants need to have done multiply overnight trips this season for adequate conditioning. When requesting permission, please explain your experiences with the above listed challenges and provide a list of trips you have done that demonstrate you meet these conditioning/experience requirements


Day 1:  Leave leader's minivan at Little Giant TH and some or all cars proceed 3.4 miles further up the road to the Buck Creek TH.  Hike Buck Creek TH to Buck Creek Pass, camp at the pass 10.4 miles, 3648' gain, 537' loss

Day 2:  Pack up and proceed on trail up to austere High Pass (with excellent views of Glacier Peak on the way), 3.3 miles, 1,531' gain, 325' loss, set up camp near Triad Lake.  With day pack head East off-trail toward Buck Mtn.  We will go as far as safe to travel or our energy level allows.  To the top is 5.2 miles RT and  3,095' gain and 1,576' loss there and 1,576' gain and 3,095' loss on the return.  Spend the night at High Pass.

Day 3:  Possibly explore a little West of High Pass in the morning. Then pack up and proceed down and way trail to the Napeequa River, 2.2 miles 2,104' loss (through gorgeous meadows). Drop our packs at the river, don our day packs and explore off-trail 2 miles up the river valley to the cirque below Clark Mtn. and its glaciers, 4 miles RT, 1000' gain, 1000' loss.  Regather our overnight packs and proceed downriver to an establish camp or camp on the sand bar along the river, 3.6 miles, 206' gain, 300' loss. Spend two nights here.

Day 4: Donning our day packs, ford the Napeequa River and head up to lovely Boulder Pass.  At the pass head East off-trail to the high point on ridge for the view. 3.9 miles each way total, 2657' gain, 654' loss going, 654' gain, 2657' loss on the return. If folks have interest and energy we could also explore higher up on the West side of Boulder  Pass and hike to the edge of the glacier. Return. Spend second night along the Napeequa River.

Day 5:  Pack up and hike East and up and over  glorious Little Giant Pass (excellent huckleberries) and just before the second TH ford the shallow Chiwawa River, 7.1 miles, 2286' gain, 3985' loss.  Optional off-trail trip up to the Little Giant Summit from the pass, add .8 miles each way with 1066' gain, 380' loss up and 380' gain and 1066' loss back to the pass.  Shuttle back to the TH at Buck Creek. 3.4 road miles.

Regarding the shuttle, It will be a 10 minute ride spaced out in my van  (three sets of seats), with everyone wearing masks and all the windows open for ventilation.  Make sure you are comfortable with this.


Napeequa Valley

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  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials plus overnight gear which may include:

  • Tent with footprint
  • Stove and 5 days of fuel
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Water filter
  • Food for 5 days, plus extra
  • 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
  • Full rain gear
  • Pack cover
  • Paper map
  • Time piece
  • Two trekking poles required
Trip Reports