The Ingalls Way Trail begins at Esmeralda Trail #1394 and ends at Ingalls Creek Trail #1215 within Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
From its junction with trail 1394, this trail heads uphill through forest for about 1 mile until it switchbacks up through open meadow and scattered trees to a junction with Longs Pass Trail 1229. Past this junction, the trail crosses a small basin and begins climbing steeply towards the ridgetop through an area of rock, scattered small trees, and patchy meadows. Views of the surrounding country get better as the trail heads up. From the ridgetop there are excellent views of surrounding peaks, including Mount Stuart. The trail then crosses the ridge at the wilderness boundary and enters the Wenatchee River Ranger District. At this point an upper trail traverses Headlight Basin as the most direct route towards Ingalls Lake, whereas the lower trail, which has more campsites, is less direct but rejoins the upper trail before the lake. Near the lake, the trail heads steeply uphill through rocks, over a rocky ridge and ends at the lake. A scramble around the west side of the lake will rejoin a trail that traverses to Stuart Pass which is the termini of the Ingalls Creek and Jack Creek trails.
At a Glance
From Cle Elum, WA follow Highway 903 west for 2 miles. Continue straight onto Highway 10 / Highway 970 and follow for 6.5 miles. Turn left on Teanaway Road North Fork and follow for 13 miles. Then stay right on Forest Road 9737 and follow for about 9.6 miles to the Esmeralda Trailhead.