Hello everyone, I am doing the WTA Hike-a-Thon this summer and would love your support. Please consider sponsoring me or joining my team “Two More Switchbacks.” The money goes to the Washington Trails Association which does a great job maintaining our trails in addition to being a great resource.
On June 25, 2017 I hiked the Esmeralda Basin trail to the Lake Ann Overlook in the Teanaway area, (near Cleellum.) The first important note, is that the road is washed out near the trailhead, which adds a mile of easy hiking before you get to the trail. If you have a mountain bike, you could probably ride to the trailhead, but I am not sure where you would lock it up. I advise getting to the trail early as parking may be limited due to the road closure. The road itself was dirt and seemed to be in pretty good shape, you can probably make it to the trailhead just fine in a sedan. There was a outhouse at the trailhead which appears to still be maintained. It wasn’t too horrible when we visited.
Here are the stats without the extra 2 miles on the road added:
Distance: 10 miles to the Lake Ann overlook
Elevation: roughly 6,000 feet
Gain: about 2,250 feet
For directions and more info see : wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/esmerelda-basin
It was a hot day when we set out, the nice thing is there was a lot of water on this trail. There were several stream crossings in which became useful for cooling off. A friend passed on the tip of wetting a bandanna and putting it on your neck. This really helped, along with dipping my hat in the streams. I intend to use this tip where I can this summer.
This was designated as a wildflower hike and while there were flowers I think we were just a little early for the big bloom due to the amount of snow we had this year. Per the WTA site, the trail boasts over 75 types of wildflowers, and I would love to come back for another visit next year. I found a good website for flower identification www.pnwflowers.com/, while I was not able to identify all of the flowers below I could identify a few.
The trail starts at the end of the Northfork Teanaway Road and it follows an old mining road to a junction in less than a half mile with Ingalls Way and Long Pass Trail (1390). Continue straight at this junction. You will pass by some nice meadows and stream crossings as you gain elevation. Also many great mountain views. Don’t forget to look up!
At about 3 miles from the trailhead an intersection with trail 1226 heads north to a pass overlooking Lake Ann (a very nice little Tarn). Taking this trail to the overlook adds 2 miles to your trip and 500 feet elevation gain but the views are worth it. When we went there was still a lot of snow after the split and we lost the trail for a bit and made our way through the snow up the hill-side. When we neared the top there was a big mountain goat. If you go up there with dogs, please leash them, if you see a goat please keep in mind they are dangerous and leave them alone. (Photo credit of the goat – Debra)
The way down was fun too, some people were glissading, I was on the cautious side and tried to skirt around the snow as much as I could…sorry plants. All in all a very good day with my favorite meetup group.