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Snow Gulch


 Moose Creek, photo by Martha Rasmussen

The trail to "Snow Gulch" is a beautiful as well as historical hike, beginning with the bridge crossing Moose Creek.  This creek gets its name from one of the old mines that was located where the bridge at the beginning of the trail is now.  These several mines were called Calf Moose, Twin Moose and Cow Moose and were placer mines.  The word "placer" is an old Spanish word meaning "sand bank".  A placer mine is an open mine such as a sluice boxing or gold panning operation.
 
 The old road to Snow Gulch, photo by Martha Rasmussen

You will continue your walk on an old road which is a moderate to sometimes steep climb that gets more like a trail as you go due to erosion . The forest is carpeted in rich ferns and moss and in May and June is full of Hooker's Fairy Bells, Bleeding Heart and Yellow Wood Violet.  At 1.75 miles you will see a sign for the FS Niederprum Trail #653 also known as "Lone Tree Pass Trail" and is also the beginning of the climbing route for Whitehorse Mountain.

Getting a peek at Snow Gulch, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.
 
When you almost come to the end of the road, which is a little under 2 miles, you get a peek at Snow Gulch and the many waterfalls cascading down from the basin.
 
 
 Looking down Sam Grabe's tunnel, photo by Nels Rasmussen
 
Just a little after you get your first glimpse of Snow Gulch you come to one of the mining tunnels of Pioneer Sam Grabe.  Have a good look inside, but to enter an old mining tunnel is dangerous, supporting timbers have been rotting away over the years and ground inside can be very unstable.
 
 One of the waterfalls of Snow Gulch, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.
 
At this point you are now standing at the base of Whitehorse Mountain looking up Sill basin and its many waterfalls. To proceed beyond this point there is no path and footing is treacherous and involves fording a creek which can be quite swift during spring and early summer run-off.  Additionally, there is a danger from rocks and sometimes huge chunks of ice falling from the glacier above.

 

Looking up Whitehorse Mountain from Sam's mine, photo by Martha Rasmussen

The historic hike to Snow Gulch is a mixture of majestic mountain peaks, waterfalls and some mining history.
Type of Trail:  Old Road - User Trail
Elevation: 800 -
Level of difficulty:

Best Seasons: Summer

General Information:
History:  Historical routes to to Moose Creek Placers, Grabe's Mine and along the trail the trailhead to USFS Neiderprum Trail , once a route to Neiderprum's lime mine.

Wilderness Restrictions:  No

Restrooms: No

Bring drinking water

Trail Conditions: No reports for user trails

Road Conditions:  None

Getting There:  To get to Snow Gulch go west from Darrington to Whitehorse about 5 miles, turn left on Old Mine Road and drive .6 miles then you will come to a concrete barricade on the left and a steel gate on the right. The way to Snow Gulch is past the barricade over a bridge across Moose Creek then on to the old road.