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.
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.