East Fork Buttermilk Trail #420


The trail follows an old road bed and enters Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness after about one mile. Then the trail crosses the creek at 2 miles. Parts of the road have been reclaimed by mountain alder and can be brushy in a few short sections. The wide clearing for the road continues for another 2 miles, and then becomes a trail. The trail traverses lodgepole pine and subalpine fir forest to nearly the pass. Near the pass, some remnant sedge meadows give way to a talus-choked basin to Hoodoo Pass.

The beginning of this route was a scheme to reach Stehekin and the gold fields. It's an easy route up until the last mile to the pass, which is strenuous. This forested hike is cool during the hot summer, with limited views until near the pass. Hoodoo Pass and Hoodoo Basin, south of the area, are brilliant, as the subalpine larch trees turn golden with the shorter days of autumn.

The Hoodoo Basin Trail intersects with the Chelan Summit Trail at 1.3 miles.

Specific Hazards/Difficulties: It is extremely wet and hard on stock to use in the spring.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: For current conditions go to: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/okawen/alerts-notices
Fees No fee required.
Permit Info: Wilderness permit not required. 
Open Season: Late June
Usage: Light
Best Season: August
Busiest Season: August
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply Certified weed free hay is required on national forest lands (processed grains are okay)
Closest Towns: Twisp, WA
Water: No drinking water
Restroom: None
Passes: No pass required.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Methow Valley Ranger District

General Information


From Twisp drive west on Twisp River Road (county road 9114 ) for about 10 miles, turn left onto Forest Service Road 43, crossing Buttermilk Bridge across Twisp River, stay to the left and follow the road for about 6 miles. Turn right on Forest Service Road 4300-400 and follow it for about 3.2 miles to the roadside parking at the trailhead at a switchback just past the East Fork Buttermilk Creek crossing (the road continues up to Buttermilk Butte).

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