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Trip Report    

Backpack - Naches Trail

This is an interesting and strenuous snowshoe route from Greenwater trailhead to the PCT, Government Meadow, and Naches Pass. Camping is available at a number of meadows along the route, particularly between 3.5 and 3.8 miles. Image is Mike Urich Cabin at Goverment Meadow.

  • Fri, Mar 8, 2024 — Sun, Mar 10, 2024
  • Backpack - Naches Trail
  • Naches Trail
  • Backpacking & Snowshoeing
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The trail runs directly up the ridge from the Greenwater trailhead. This is no switchback route. The first 0.5 mile, to the first crossing of NF 70, is very direct, climbing up and along the "cliff" that daunted the colonists who used the route in the 1850's, and gaining 650 feet of elevation. This section is made more difficult by many blow-downs, some requiring hands and knees, others detours. This segment can be skipped by starting from the Pyramid Creek Sno-Park, which replaces the half-mile clamber with 1.25 miles groomed road walk.

    The next half mile gains 575 feet, but on better (fewer blow-downs), but still steep, trail. My two trips up this trail, the snow was light enough that I didn't use snowshoes until about a mile in. Camping in a clearing is available north of the trial at 1.8 miles. At two miles, you come to a clearing, which would offer camping if it weren't so close to a road used by snowmobiles, and climb up the last very steep stretch, to the ridge top at 4300' at 2.25 miles. From here, there are some views, nice trees, and easier going.

    At 3.25 miles, you cross your last groomed road and approach a long clearing, which offers lots of camping options. Continuing on the Naches Trail, you cross another road at 4 miles and the PCT at 4.5 miles. About 200 meters south of there you find the Mike Urich Cabin, which is worth a look, and the extensive Government Meadows. If you're there before the snowmobilers, you can tour the meadows and visit Naches Pass further east. Nice open views abound.

Three of us had a nice trip, with reasonable weather, to a camp at 3.25 miles. We day-tripped to Mike Urich cabin, Government Meadows, and Naches Pass on day two, and returned on day three. There was about four feet of snow at camp, enough. We saw a few snowmobiles each day, especially on day two, but we got to the meadows before they appeared, so we had it mostly to ourselves. As we were surrounded by groomed roads, we heard them from time to time, but distantly. Of course, by late afternoon, everything was quiet.

Snow was about two inches at the trailhead going in and essentially gone coming out two days later. By a mile in, there was enough snow to make snowshoes more comfortable. By camp time, there was plenty of snow, probably three or four feet. The nearest Snotel sites are, to the north, Sawmill Ridge (4640'), which had 48" recorded, and, to the south, Corral Pass (5800'), which had 68".