Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Barnes Creek/Aurora Ridge

A beautiful winter visit to the Barnes Creek/Aurora Ridge area including a stop at Marymere Falls.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The bridge over Barnes Creek was IN with a few trees down in places (nothing insurmountable).  Wet snow with a firm crust made following the trail arduous.  Marymere falls was beautiful with an adornment of ice.

Beautiful winter conditions along Barnes Creek. As the trail steepens and heads up towards Aurora Ridge there is complex terrain above the ~3700' level (mixtures of ridgelets, clifflets) that challenge progress. We turned around at this point near the open area (estimated to be west of the old trail shown on USGS maps, and east of the new trail). The new trail just below this area is a relatively gentle grade (with lots of switchbacks), yet heading straight up the fall line is way too steep on showshoes with fresh snow, plus short young trees also complicate leaving the trail. In our case a crust with wet snow made following the new trail too arduous (it was filled in by this snow). It's possible that for future trips it would be better to leave the new trail at ~2600', head west to the ridge crest, then simply follow this crest to the summit at ~5200'. I'm planning a summer trip to check this possibility out as well as completing the entire traverse to Aurora Peak and down the Aurora Creek trail (possibly in conjunction with a stay at the Lake Crescent Lodge).  FYI: from a prior trip up the Aurora Creek trail it is known that the Aurora Ridge trail is faint and hard to find in places.

It is almost exactly 2 hours from the time you drive on the Edmonds Ferry until you reach the Storm King restrooms near Barnes Creek. Our total trip time was ~9 hours and included a visit to Marymere falls (photos and video here).

Enjoyed the heated restrooms near the Storm King Ranger Station at the beginning and end of our trip. Be sure and follow the path past the Ranger Station that safely crosses under Highway 101 with a nice pedestrian tunnel