Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hiking the Sauk Mountain Trail to the Top of Sauk Mountain

My favorite former sister-in-law has taken up the sport of hiking. Yesterday she emailed me pictures from the top of Sauk Mountain.

In the picture you see here, I think we are looking south, with the Glacier Peak volcano being part of the Sea of Cascade Mountain Peaks.

On a clear day, from the top of Sauk Mountain, you can see Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan to the north. Looking south you can see the afore-mentioned Glacier Peak and Pugh, Whitehorse and White Chuck Mountains.

On a super clear day you can see Mount Rainer, to the south and the San Juan Islands, to the west.

The last time I hiked to the top of Sauk Mountain it was not clear day. It was snowing. The trail was icy. I was hiking with my favorite former sister-in-law's youngest, Joey, who was 13 at the time.

The Sauk Mountain Trail is known for its switchbacks. There are about 30 of them, gradually making an elevation gain of 1,200 feet to take you to the 5,537 foot high summit of Sauk Mountain. From the top you'll find other trails, like one that takes you down to Sauk Lake, or to the site of the long gone fire lookout.

The trailhead to the top of Sauk Mountain is one of the easiest to reach in the North Cascades.

To get to the trailhead drive Highway 20, also known as the North Cross State Highway, about 10 miles east of Concrete. Shortly before you get to Rockport State Park take a left and head north on Sauk Mountain Road, also known as Forest Road 1030.

Sauk Mountain Road is a fairly steep road. Drive carefully heading up and down. After about 7 miles you will come to a junction with Forest Road 1036. Turn right on spur 1036 and in a short distance you will be at the Sauk Mountain parking lot.

Due to its easy accessibility and great views, the Sauk Mountain Trail is very popular from the time it is snow-free, usually by late June, til the snow arrives again in late fall.

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