Trip Report    

Backpack - Kettle Crest South

An interesting romp along the south crest of the Kettle Range, exploring new terrain.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trees down on trail, especially in the mid-section.  Springs present where noted on map, all flowing.  Some additional water sources as was still early season.  Limited good camping sites found for a group, or really, even for a tent or two.  

We combined our Mounties trip with some road trip action, visiting Soap Lake and Grand Coulee on our way in, and Tonasket and the Methow on our way out.  Most of our group met the prior evening at the Jungle Hill campground (free, first come, first serve, no potable water), shared dinner and got to know one another.  We got started early, but perhaps not early enough, given the pending heat of the day, by staging two cars at the south exit trailhead (White Mountain) and then returning to the beginning trailhead (Sherman Pass).  Roads were mostly in good condition.  Trail was initially recently maintained, with recent logging out evident, until the Sherman Peak trail heads back north.  The next stretch to the Snow Peak Cabin had a few trees down, but were easy to step over.  The Cabin was nice, but likely with some resident rodents, and nearby a well-flowing spring.  The afternoon was still early at this point, so we elected to continue on, hoping to find water and good camping in due time.  

We then dropped down to the saddle between Snow Peak and Bald Mountain, to begin the traverse around the latter.  At the junction where the Pacific Northwest Trail diverges from the Kettle Crest, we found another spring, but no campsite nearby.  At this point, the trail became often cluttered with down trees, requiring some different tactics depending on how tall each of us were.  The afternoon was getting hotter, the bugs (including ticks) were present, and a blister reared its ugly head... on the other end, the hiker's heel.   Eventually, we were able to locate another spring just before where the Barnaby Butte trail heads southwest, and found some flattish spots literally on the trail to camp a bit above that.   Luckily, as solitude was the name of the game this trip, we did not worry about people tripping over us.  Dinner and shade and sleep all revived us, accompanied by good conversation and an evening stroll to Barnaby Butte and its former lookout site.  

In the morning, we hoisted packs again, heading via the saddle between the Buttes, and worked our way up to the final summit and lookout site of the trip, White Mountain, after enjoying a break near yet another spring.  The top of White Mountain is sacred to the Colville people, and had amazing open views in all directions.  Back on the trail, we dropped over a couple miles through switchbacks, first out in the open, then increasingly into heavier tree cover.  We got into cars, and drove the 55 minutes back to Sherman Pass.  Once down in Republic, we enjoyed a late lunch at Sitka coffee house, which does some nice barbecue and salsa.  

Overall, while the trail and weather conditions were a bit challenging, I really enjoyed exploring a new corner of the state, and super appreciated our group who worked well together.  Makes for a great trip!!!