Esmeralda Basin

This is a moderate 7 mi hike with 1,750 ft elevation gain. The trail passes through a basin filled with flowers, then up a rocky slope to views of peaks in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Esmerelda Peaks and Hawkins Mountain at Fortune Creek Pass. Horses may be on the trail and dogs on leash are allowed.

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

Esmeralda Basin & Fortune Creek Pass

7 miles round trip with 1,750 feet of elevation gain, 5,960 ft high point

This trail is in the east side rain shadow, and is often sunny and warm early in the hiking season.  The trail starts along a rushing creek, ascends an old mining road and at 0.4 mi passes the trail to Ingalls Lake (no dogs) and Longs Pass on the right.  The trail to the basin continues straight ahead through beautiful wildflower meadows, woods and small streams. Campsites may be found here.   As it leaves the basin, the trail climbs a rocky, dry slope to reach Fortune Creek Pass.  This rocky area has the mineral-deficient serpentine rock found throughout the Teanaway, with its characteristic barren areas and occasional unusual flower able to tolerate serpentine soil. A trail just before the pass area goes right to lovely Lake Ann.  From the pass it is also possible to hike down to a jeep road to Gallagher Head Lake and Hawkins Mountain, and from there to a loop around Esmeralda Peaks to De Roux campground,  and back to the road for a 1.5 mi hike back to the Esmeralda Basin trailhead parking lot.

Esmeralda Basin & Lake Ann

8.2 miles round trip with 2,200 feet of elevation gain, 6,500 ft high point

Hike 0.4 miles to a junction with the Long's Pass/Lake Ingalls trail. Stay to the left to remain on the Esmeralda Trail. Continue hiking up to the junction with the Lake Ann trail at 3.1 miles. There are several stream crossings  that are usually easy to manage. After the junction, the trail rises steeply as you climb up to the ridge overlooking Lake Ann. Drop down to Lake Ann and enjoy the solitude. 


  • Suitable Activities: Day Hiking
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 7.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,750 ft
  • 5,960 ft
  • Green Trails Alpine Lakes East (Stuart Range) No. 208SX
  • Green Trails Mt Stuart No. 209
  • USGS Mount Stuart
Trip Reports

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  • Esmeralda Basin & Fortune Creek Pass
  • Esmeralda Basin & Lake Ann

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