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Tronsen Meadow-East Loop

Blewett Pass

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

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Tronsen Meadow-East Loop

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  • Looking up NF-7240 from the Tronsen Meadow Sno-Park.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • The beginning of the loop. The East Loop begins to the left (and can also be completed counterclockwise by continuing straight). Tronsen Meadow Trail can be accessed in reverse via the right fork.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • Diamond Head (5916'), looking back along the northbound section of the East Loop.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • The East Loop, passing through the 2012 burn.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • The East Loop, passing through the 2012 burn.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • The East Loop, passing through the 2012 burn.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • The East Loop continues to the right, up NF-7230.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • Diamond Head (5916') peeking out above the southbound leg of the East Loop.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • Signage for the righthand shortcut back to Tronsen Loop, indicated by the straight arrow.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • Continuing down the draw from the East Loop to Tronsen Loop.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • Intersection of Tronsen Loop and Fenceline Trails.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • Intersection of Tronsen Loop and Sidestep Trails.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • Intersection of Tronsen Loop and Tronsen Meadow Trails, as indicated on the ponderosa.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • Descending through Tronsen Meadow.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • Descending through Tronsen Meadow.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • Looking up the Tronsen Meadow Trail at the intersection of the Tronsen Meadow and Fenceline trails.- Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
  • - Tronsen Meadow-East Loop
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Extensive trails. Varied terrain.
Cons: 
Some highway noise.
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Region:
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
495.00 ft (150.88 m)
Parking Pass: 
Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)
Preferable Season(s):
Winter
Total Distance: 
3.45 mi (5.55 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
3,863.00 ft (1,177.44 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

The Tronsen Meadow non-motorized area makes up an impressive complex of well-marked and non-motorized backcountry snowshoe and cross-country trails immediately adjacent to Blewett Pass. They connect to the larger system of trails that form a web on the south side of Highway 97, but they are best accessed from Upper Tronson Road (the spelling variations are inexplicable), just past the Blewett Pass Sno-Park.

As with the rest of the Blewett Pass, the Tronsen Meadow area is primarily home to dense conifer forest, including Douglas fir and ponderosa-dominated groves. This cover is interrupted by both the titular meadow that is crisscrossed by singletrack and the aftermath of the pass's 2012 fire, which blackened large stands of the evergreens. (The browned trees you can find scattered throughout the region are the handiwork of the western spruce budworm.) The combination provides for constant novelty, and the excellent trail work makes for an unusual combination of easy access and an isolated backcountry feel away from the highway.

There are many, many possible routes through this area if you start stringing together connector trails. This route begins with the East Loop Trail, continues onto a portion of the Tronsen Loop Trail, and then cuts back to the trailhead on the Tronsen Meadow Trail.

Beginning from the Upper Tronsen Road parking area (the space is regularly plowed, but the main Blewett Pass Sno-Park is just on the other side of the pass if necessary), continue straight up NF-7240 (Upper Tronson Road). To join the East Loop, turn left at the first trail junction. This loop begins as a narrow, winding ski trail, passing through a burn and offering occasional glimpses of nearby Diamond Head. Turn right as the trail joins the fire road, and right again onto NF-7230 when you reach the vehicle gate. The road climbs slowly for 1.5 miles until the marked shortcut to the Tronsen Loop. The signs can be difficult to find after the initial blue diamond, but the trail simply descends along the fall line of the draw until it rejoins NF-7240 (the Tronsen Loop Trail). Turn left, heading uphill again. There are many potential turnoffs along this road: several head higher into the hills, while Tronsen Loop itself curves back around to the trailhead. The turnoff into Tronsen Meadow drops through the airy clearing, intersecting several more potential turnoffs and guiding you over a small footbridge back to where you began the loop.

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

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(19 within a 30 mile radius)

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