Lost Creek Ridge #646

Looking north from Bingley Gap, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

The trail starts off easy though dense forest lands.  After.5 miles you begin  the arduous climb of what will seem like countless switchbacks which is a real workout.  After a good workout you will begin to see sunshine coming through the trees from the horizon and tantalizing peeks of surrounding mountains.  What you are about to see will make all the hard work to get to the ridge worth it!  At 3.25 miles you reach Bingley Gap at an elevation of  4,400 feet.  The trail now travels to the east along Lost Creek Ridge with views in all directions!

Round Lake, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

Continuing east following the ridge there will be beautiful views of the mountains from both sides.  At elevation 5,650, shortly before entering the meadows and the saddle over looking 12 acre Round Lake you will enter the Glacier Peak Wilderness.  A trail drops down 550 feet to the lake where a box toilet and some campsites can be found amongst the trees.  The main trail continues east.  You will pass a couple campsites with running streams along the way.  Bring a stove as campfires are prohibited.

Continuing east on Lost Creek Ridge Trail, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

Not only are the panoramic views from the trail absolutely breath taking but the wildflowers in summer are just as amazing.  Later toward late summer and fall with cold night airs the slopes become dazzling fall colors.

This trail is seldom maintained and the further out you hike you will encounter dense brush making it harder to pick up the trail.  Be sure to check with trail conditions before planning a backpacking hike for this trail.  Hiking to early in the season can be more than difficult it can be hazardous with steep snow banks on the ridge and loosing sight of the trail.

Looking southeast from Lost Creek Ridge Trail, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

At 9 miles you will come to little Hardtack Lake to the north of the trail.  When you reach 11 miles into the hike you will see 9.9 acre Camp Lake to the south of the trail with some nice campsites.  The trail continues to climb up a knoll at about an elevation of 6,000 feet then drops back down a rocky basin to 51.2 acre Lake Byrne surrounded by dramatic rocks walls at elevation 5,550 feet.  This lake tends to melt out later in summer around August.   The trail beyond Lake Byrne is seldom used anymore due flood damage caused in 2003.  Segments of the still existing trail descend 2,250 feet to the former location of the Kennedy Hot Springs and Junctions of the White Chuck Trail #643 then joining up with the Pacific Crest Trail however the bridge over the White Chuck River has since washed out.  Fording the swift waters of the White Chuck River is EXTREMELY dangerous and not recommended.

Type of Trail: USFS
Length: 3 miles to Bingley Gap, 4 miles to Round Lake - Total distance 11 miles
Elevation: 1,800 - 4,425 to Bingley Gap; total trail 1,800 - 5,700
Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Best Seasons: Late summer & fall

Seasonal Interest: Late Summer, (depending on season) & Fall, wildflowers, mountain vistas, wildlife viewing & fishing

General Information: Total hike take you to 3 alpine lakes, about 4 miles Round Lake, 9 miles Camp Lake & 11 miles way trail to Byrne Lake.

Wilderness Restrictions: Yes, enter Glacier Peak Wilderness

Getting There:  Drive from the Darrington Ranger Station, drive south 19.7 miles on the Mt. Loop Highway to Sloan Creek Road (Forest Service road 49) and turn left (east). Follow this road for 3.5 miles to the signed trailhead. There is limited parking available.

Restrooms: Mountain Loop Hwy at White Chuck Overlook & wilderness toilets at camping areas near lakes.

Bring drinking water

Further Information: