Chiwaukum Creek

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

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Chiwaukum Creek


  • Trail sign near the summer parking area.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Following Chiwaukum Creek Road.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Chiwaukum Creek from the road.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Chiwaukum Creek near the private bridge.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Entering the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Following the Chiwaukum Creek Trail.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Chiwaukum Creek.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Looking upstream from the shore.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Campsite.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Campsite.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Ponderosa pines.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Fir forest.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Avalanche slope into the creek.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Cliffs above the creek valley.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Looking into the South Fork of the Chiwaukum Creek Valley.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Downed pine tree.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Creek crossing signs.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Snow-covered log over Chiwaukum Creek.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Chiwaukum Creek.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • Large campsite.- Chiwaukum Creek
  • - Chiwaukum Creek
Overview + Weather
Scenic creek. Old-growth forest. Big views.
Limited parking space. Trailhead near private property.
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Pets allowed: 
Groomed trail: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,500.00 ft (457.20 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Total Distance: 
12.00 mi (19.31 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


This route takes you on a relaxing, creekside stroll through colorful old-growth forests of fir and ponderosa pine. The snowy trail corridor is easy to follow and always evident, allowing for a full immersion into the wonderful sights and sounds of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. And, if you are out for the day, you'll have the freedom to explore as much or as little as you wish.

In deep snow cover, the journey begins where Chiwaukum Creek Road/Forest Road 7908 turns off of Highway 2. Parking is limited in the small pull out, but there are rarely more than two vehicles here during the winter months. Head up the road a short distance to the summer parking area and proceed into the forested valley from which Chiwaukum Creek flows. At 1.5 miles the road terminates near a private, gated bridge that crosses the creek. Pick up the signed trail here and enter the dense tree cover, where you'll be instantly greeted with the air of more remote wilderness. 

After 3.5 miles, the trail covers a long stint along the creek bank with top-notch campsites, one after another. After 5 miles you will gain some open territory high above the creek. McCue Ridge can be seen rising to the north, as well as the South Fork of the Chiwaukum Creek Valley around a ridge corner to the south. After just more than 6 miles you will reach a trail junction: you can either veer left to cross a log bridge and head south another 2 miles for outstanding camping in Timothy Meadow, or you can continue north for an extended backcountry trip to the Ewing Basin and Chiwaukum Lake.

Note: Always check weather and avalanche conditions before traveling in the backcountry.

Recommended Gear

Before you head out on your next Mount Hood adventure, make sure you have the right gear! 

Here's a list of our go-to snowshoeing essentials to get you started:

Snowshoes: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

Cushioned, Made in USA, Ultralight, 98.8 oz

Men's • $299.95 • MSR | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $299.95 • MSR | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Jacket/Shell: Arc'teryx Zeta AR Jacket

Waterproof, Adjustable Drawcord Hem, Pit Zips, GORE-TEX

Men's • $431-475 • Arc'teryx | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $475 • Arc'teryx | Amazon | Backcountry

Pack: Mammut Nirvana Pro Pack 

35L, Carry-On Size, Hip Belt, Ice Axe / Pole Loops, Hydration Compatible

Standard Fit • $189.95-199.95 • Mammut | Amazon | Backcountry

Small Fit • $199.95 • Mammut | Amazon

Insulating Layer: Moosejaw Dequindre Down Jacket

Water-resistant, Insulated, Adjustable Drawcord Hem

Men's and Women's • $179

Poles: Black Diamond Traverse Pole 

Aluminum, Adjustable with Lever Lock System, 21 oz.

$79.95 • Black Diamond | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Gloves: The North Face GORE-TEX Gloves

Waterproof, Adjustable, Insulated, GORE-TEX

Men's • $99.95-181.63 • The North Face | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $99.95-100.00 • The North Face | Backcountry

Boots: Vasque Snowblime UltraDry Boot

Waterproof, Cushioned, Insulated

Men's • $149.99 • Vasque | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $149.99 • Vasque | Amazon | Backcountry

Gaiters: Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiter 

Waterproof, Breathable, Lightweight, Abrasion-resistant

Men's • $41.32-65 • Outdoor Research | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $49.95-65 • Outdoor Research | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

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.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(25 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(56 within a 30 mile radius)

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