Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Wahpenayo Peak, Denman Peak Traverse

A perfect fall trip plus a great workout at ~15 miles and ~5000’. This gorgeous traverse spanned a huge variety of multicolored terrain (meadows, summits, tarns/lakes, waterfalls, river crossings), with the Wonderland Trail gently escorting us back to the cars at the end of a long day.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Zero snow.  Cooler temperatures gave us substantial amounts of brush laden morning dew and helped us appreciate the utility of rain gear, even with a precipitation free forecast:A34E3827-52D9-4AC3-A61C-EE466979B6A5.jpeg

    (By Tianming Chen)

We headed out at 6:40 AM from Longmire (elevation 2760’) for some brisk early morning hiking using the Eagle Peak trail.  Our cross country travel began at ~5000’, traversing talus, light brush and meadows to finally emerge into stunning sunshine at 5700’:


A short time later found us on the summit of Wahpenayo Peak (elevation 6231):



A key part of this traverse is descending to meadows on the southern aspect of Wahpenayo, then turning the corner northwards at ~5900’…


…for a talus traverse that included a berry eating Bear (at a respectful distance):


(By Tianming Chen)

On our way to an important cross country section (leading to the outlet of Cliff Lake)…


…we took a brief break at a gorgeous tarn:


(By Tianming Chen)

We followed the eastern shore of stunning Cliff Lake…


…then ascended a meadowed line towards Denman Peak:


(By Max Parsons)

A great spot to catch your breath is the boot track trail at ~5800’, with a last chance to review the day’s route so far:


After summiting Denman Peak (and shortly before reaching the Pinnacle Peak trail) we saw the eastern Tatoosh Range peaks with Mount Adams in the distance:


There were surprisingly few folks on the Pinnacle Peak trail, but the Reflection Lakes parking area had plenty of people.  The world class Wonderland trail made our ~6 mile hike back to the cars a great way to end the day, with a final bit of excitement as we crossed the Nisqually River:


An outstanding fall trip with lots of diverse scenery and time to forget the cares of lowland life.  Our total time was just under 12 hours, with ~4 hours from Longmire to Wahpenayo Peak and ~4 hours from Wahpenayo Peak to Denman Peak.  Photos from this (and other ) trips to this venue can be seen here.