North Navarre Peak–The Summer Blossom Trail is awesome through autumn too!

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A serrated skyline.

Location: Sawtooth Ridge near Lake Chelan

Land Agency: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Roundtrip: 5.0 miles

Elevation gain: 1,550 feet

Contact: Chelan Ranger District: Wenatchee National Forest; (509) 682-2576;

Green Trails Map: Prince Creek- No. 115

Notes: access is via a long and bumpy gravel road. Four-wheel drive recommended.

Good to Know: Exceptional wildflowers; exceptional views; backpacking options; autumn colors

Access: From Chelan head west on SR 150 for 7.0 miles turning right onto Wapato Lake Road. Proceed for 4.0 miles turning right onto Lower Joe Creek Road. In 2.0 mile turn left onto Grade Creek Road which becomes graveled FR 8200 after 1 mile. Now follow this rough road for 31 miles to the Summer Blossom Trailhead.

 

Composed of a string of 8,000-foot jagged peaks donning dramatic cirques harboring glistening alpine lakes ringed with larches; Sawtooth Ridge is one of the most strikingly beautiful regions within the entire North Cascades.  Half of it is protected within wilderness. The eastern half is open to motors, but the Summer Blossom Trail up to North Navarre remains motor-free. From its lofty trailhead at 6,400 feet, head upwards through subalpine forest. After an easy quarter mile warm up, the trail steepens through thinning forest. Views of nearby peaks begin to emerge; north to 7,855-foot Bryan Butte and south to 7,870-foot South Navarre Peak.

At about 1.0 mile, Lake Chelan over one vertical mile below comes into view. Stare into South Navarre’s awesome cirque. The way crests a larch lined saddle. Take in sweeping views north to the TiffanyHighlands. Now traversing an arête (a knife edge between two cirques) reach the wind blasted high crest separating Navarre’s two summits.

North Navarre’s 7,963-foot summit can easily be reached by heading north on faint tread for about .25 mile. Carpeted in alpine tundra and golden lawns and adorned with clusters of contorted pines, the environment is both harsh and fragile. Take care not to stomp delicate plants. And take care not to get swept off of your feet by the scenery. It’s incredible! Especially of the Sawtooth Range’s procession of pyramidal peaks piercing the sky.

For more information on this hike and over 100 others in the region consult my Day Hiking Central Cascades book.

For information on where to stay and play in the Chelan area consult Northwest TripFinder.

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