Old Monte Cristo Townsite Trail


Barlow Pass, surrounded by towering mountains in every direction, is a stepping off place for a four-mile walk leading to the former townsite of Monte Cristo. Parking is available at Barlow Pass. From there the road is gated but open for foot and other non-motorized travel. As you pass the gate on Monte Cristo Road, please be aware that some land along the Sauk River between Barlow Pass and Monte Cristo is privately owned with several patented mining claims and summer cabins.

The road follows the original grade of the Everett and Monte Cristo Railroad. The scenery is spectacular with rugged, jagged peaks rising on both sides of the road. As the road skirts along a rocky cliff, enjoy views of Cadet Peak, Toad and Silvertip Mountains in the distance. At approximately one mile, just before crossing the South Fork Sauk River, find the trailhead for Weden Creek (Gothic Basin) Trail 724. This is the turnaround for many as there is no bridge over the river.

If you continue, enjoy views of Lewis Peak to the west and Del Campo Peak to the southwest, with brief glimpses of Cadet Peak and Monte Cristo Peak ahead. At 1.7 miles is the site of the old Weden House Station for the Everett and Monte Cristo Railroad. The station served as headquarters and warehouse for several of the mines located in the Weden Creek drainage and Gothic Basin.

The Monte Cristo campground is in four miles, up to the left behind the toilet just above the road grade. Among the prolific vine maple under second growth timber, this small camp was once part of the Rattler Mining Claim and acquired by the U.S. Forest Service in 1951. Find six sites with picnic tables, fire pits, barbecue grills and a toilet, making for a nice overnight spot and a good jump-off point for Poodle Dog Pass-Silver Lake-Twin Lakes and Glacier Basin trails leading into the wilderness above.

Note: Bring water. Surface water in the area has been found to contain arsenic and other heavy metals in amounts that exceed drinking water standards. A cleanup project is planned for the area in the next several years. Backcountry techniques for removing Giardia and other biological hazards (filtering, boiling) will not remove the heavy metals.  

WTA hiking guide - trip reports

At a Glance

Usage: Heavy
Best Season: Summer/Fall
Closest Towns: Darrington and Granite Falls, Washington
Passes: A valid Recreation Pass is required at Barlow Pass Trailhead.
Information Center: Check current conditions or call Darrington Ranger District office at 360-436-1155 or Verlot Public Service Center at 360-691-7791.

General Information


From the Verlot Public Service Center (11 miles east of Granite Falls, WA), travel east on the Mt. Loop Highway. 19.5 miles to Barlow Pass. Park here and proceed on foot past the gate on the Monte Cristo Road. 

Access 2:
From the Darrington Ranger District office, travel south on the Mt. Loop Highway 23.4 miles to Barlow Pass.

General Notes:


  • Darrington Ranger District
  • Green Trails; Sloan Peak 111 and Monte Cristo 143

Recreation Map

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  Area/Length : 
4 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
2,349 feet - 2,800 feet