Esmeralda Basin/Gallagher Head Lake Loop

A strenuous, 15 mile hike with 3,000 feet of elevation gain in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The route circles Esmeralda peaks, with the scenic Gallagher Head Lake being a main attraction and Fortune Cookie Pass as the high point.

Getting There

Drive I-90 to about 1 mi east of Cle Elum, then go northeast on SR 970 about 5 mi to 0.5 mi past the Teanaway River Bridge. Turn left on the Teanaway River Road and continue 23 mi to the road end parking area at 4,243 ft, about 1 mi beyond the DeRoux Campground (Forest Road 9737). Car camping is available at the DeRoux Campground and other campgrounds on the Teanaway River Road.

on the trail

This route loops around the Esmeralda Peaks within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, 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 Mount Rainier, Mount Daniel, Glacier Peak, and others the Cascade Crest. A short, optional side trip 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).

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Length: 15.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft
  • 5,600 ft
  • Green Trails Mt Stuart No. 209
  • Green Trails Alpine Lakes East (Stuart Range) No. 208SX
  • Alpine Lakes Wilderness (ALPS)
  • Trails Illustrated Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Upcoming Activities

Backpack - Esmeralda Basin/Gallagher Head Lake Loop

Backpacking Trip
Overnight to De Roux River camps with Gallagher Head Lake and De Roux Falls
Difficulty: Strenuous
Sat, Jul 14, 2018 - Sun, Jul 15, 2018
No Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants
Registration closes Jul 10
Foothills Branch
Trip Reports

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