Bald Eagle–Pilot Ridge Loop

This strenuous 27.3 mile loop with 5,700 feet of elevation gain traverses two spectacular ridges with views of Glacier Peak, includes a spectacular camp at Blue Lake, and provides easy access to a side trip through Dishpan Gap to Kodak Peak via the Pacific Crest Trail.

Getting There

Drive the Mountain Loop Highway, SR-530, north from Darrington or south from Rockport to just north of the Bedal Campground and turn east on the North Fork Sauk River Road, Forest Road 49.  Drive to the and park one car there (2,100 ft).  If you have a second car, drive 2.5 miles south to the Bald Eagle Mountain Trailhead (2,400 ft).

on the Trail

All hiking distances assume starting at the Bald Eagle Mountain Trailhead and ending at the North Fork Sauk River Trailhead at the Sloan Creek Campground. The road between the trailheads adds about 3 miles and 300 feet of elevation gain.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: After hiking 2.5 miles on a converted road, enter the forest and hike a further 1.5 miles to Curry Gap (4,000 ft), and a junction with the Quartz Gap Trail.  Continue left on Bald Eagle Trail (No. 660), following the ridge, and enjoying the ridge-top views passing dry Long John Camp to Spring Camp, 9 miles from the Bald Mountain Trailhead.

Day 2: Continue near the summit of 5,946-foot June Mountain where you can take the short side trip to the summit with views of Sloan, Monte Cristo, and Glacier Peaks.  At about 2.5 miles from camp reach a fork.  Go left on Trail No. 652 which drops 500 feet to Blue Lake (5,500 ft). Set up your second night’s camp here.  After setting up camp, hike with day packs along the Blue Lake high route (No. 652.1) 2 miles to Dishpan Gap. Follow the Pacific Crest Trail north about 1 mile to the unmarked side trail to Kodak Peak, where you can enjoy the spectacular views.  The total mileage for Day 2, including a side trip to Kodak Peak, is about 10 miles.

Day 3: Follow the spectacular trail along Pilot Ridge, including a possible short side trip about 1 mile from Blue Lake to 6,721-foot Johnson Mountain.  Follow the trail back down the ridge, including a steep descent, and ford the North Fork Sauk River.  From here, turn left and join the North Fork Sauk River Trail (No. 649) about 1.9 miles back to  your cars at the Sloan River Campground, 11.5 miles from Blue Lake.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Very Strenuous
  • Length: 25.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 5,700 ft
  • 6,721 ft
  • Green Trails Sloan Peak No. 111
  • Green Trails Glacier Peak No. 112
  • Green Trails Monte Cristo No. 143
  • Green Trails Benchmark Mtn No. 144
  • Green Trails Mountain Loop Highway No. 111SX
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