Oval Lakes Area

​An exhilarating loop into the jagged and lofty Sawtooth Range visits larch groves, remote basins, windswept high ridges, and sparkling alpine lakes in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness. Plan a trip that includes backpacking and moderate scrambles to any of the peaks in this area, including Oval Peak, Star Peak, Courtney Peak, Gray Peak, Baldy Mountain, Finney Peak, and Battle Mountain.

getting there

Buttermilk Creek

From Twisp, drive west on Twisp River Road (Forest Road 44). Turn left on East Buttermilk Creek Road (Forest Road 43) toward Blackpine Lake Campground. Before the campground, turn right on Forest Road 500 and follow it to the West Fork Buttermilk Creek Trailhead at its end (4,000 ft).

oval creek

From Twisp, drive west on Twisp River Road (Forest Road 44). Turn left then right onto West Buttermilk Creek Road (Forest Road 4420). Turn left onto Forest Road 080 and follow it to the Eagle Creek/Oval Creek Trailhead at its end (3,000 ft).

on the trail

oval lakes

20.4 mile loop with 5,900 feet of elevation gain, 7,725-foot high point

Hike out the Oval Creek trail and back the Eagle Creek Trail or visa versa.  Consider an optional side hike to the summit of Gray Peak (8,104 ft).

approach & ascent

Oval Peak (8,795 ft)

South Ridge: Hike the West Fork Buttremilk Creek Trail No. 411 for 7.7 miles to about 7,000 ft in forest north of Fish Creek Pass. Turn right on abandoned trail (Scaffold Ridge Trail No. 436) (look for a partially cut log that blocks the trail about 15 feet from the junction). Hike for about 2 miles to a small lake with good camping (6,936 ft), just southeast of the summit. From the lake, ascend to a saddle on the South Ridge. Scramble the solid rock field on the ridge top to the summit.It's 24 miles round trip and 4,800 feet of elevation gain.

North or NE Ridges: Hike the Oval Creek Trail No. 410A and then cross-country to Duffy Lake (get there xc from Oval Creek Trail #410A). From the lake, gain either the North or Northeast Ridge and continue up to the summit.

East Ridge: From 7,100 ft on the abandoned Scaffold Ridge Trail No. 436, ascend the East Ridge directly up to the summit.

Star Peak (8,690 ft)

 Southwest Spur: Hike West Fork Buttermilk Creek Trail No. 411 for 8.7 miles to Fish Creek Pass (7,480 ft). Descend 0.6 mile past Star Lake (and good camping) to Summit Trail #1259. Turn left and hike 0.5 mile up to pass (7,400 ft) southwest of Star Peak and northeast of Baldy Mountain. From this pass, ascend the secondary southwest spur ridge of Star Peak. Traverse east around second minor ridge, then north onto main southwest spur. Scramble broken rock and talus up to the summit ridge and east up the summit pyramid. It's 22 miles round trip and 5,200 feet of elevation gain.

Star Lake Route: From Star Lake, ascend steeply south for 600 feet to a saddle on the west side of Point 7912. Scramble over or around Point 7912 and traverse onto the Southwest Spur.It's mostly scree (or snow) to saddle.

South Slope/South Ridge: There are two nicely meadowed basins on the south side, separated by a ridge. Scramble up from either basin or from the ridge.

Finney Peak (8,110 ft)


baldy mountain (7,810 ft)

21 miles round trip with  3,800 feet of elevation gain, difficulty: Strenuous 4, Technical 3

Hike the West Fork Trail No. 411 for 8.7 miles to Fish Creek Pass (7,480 ft). Descend to 0.6 mile past Star Lake, where there is good camping, to Summit Trail No. 1259. Turn left and hike 0.5 mile up to the pass at 7,400 ft southwest of Star Peak and northeast of Baldy Mountain. From this pass, leave trail and hike southwest for 0.5 mile on the east side of the ridge crest on gentle heather slopes. Easily ascend either Baldy Mountain's Northeast Ridge or the small basin below it. There is a brief rock scramble at top. The summit is the small rocky knob in the middle of the ridge running northwest-to-southeast, just southeast of the summit marked on the USGS Prince Creek map.


  • If Oval Peak is done by itself, or along with Gray  Peak, it can be approached via Oval Creek with a camp at one of the Oval Lakes. 
  • If Oval is done together with Star and Courtney Peaks, the better approach is via West Fork of Buttermilk Creek with a camp at Star Lake. All of these peaks have great views.
  • Suitable Activities: Scrambling
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 5
  • Length: 24.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,800 ft
  • 8,690 ft
  • USGS Hoodoo Peak
  • USGS Prince Creek
  • USGS Oval Peak
  • Green Trails Buttermilk Butte No. 83
  • Green Trails Prince Creek No. 115
  • Green Trails Lucerne No. 114
  • Green Trails Stehekin No. 82
  • Green Trails North Cascades Lake Chelan No. 114SX
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Oval Lakes
  • Oval Lakes Loop
  • Gray Peak
  • Oval Lakes & Gray Peak
  • Oval Peak
  • Oval Peak/South Ridge
  • Star Peak
  • Courtney Peak
  • Baldy Mountain
  • Finney Peak
  • Oval & Star Peaks
  • Oval & Gray Peaks
  • Oval, Star & Courtney Peaks
  • Oval, Star, Finney & Courtney Peaks
  • Battle Mountain

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.