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The views were breathtaking and Baker felt like it was right there! Great cell service with Verizon at the top (just not inside the fire-lookout structure). Everyone I spoke with said the last mile was a push. When you see the structure from below, keep going. It’s not as far or as close as you think.

The trail was in great shape except two riverbed crossings.... Just walk straight across. There was a bridge to help you across, it’s gone but very easily crossed at the time of my hike (10/16/18)

The road up to the trailhead was in relatively great shape. There were some potholes but that’s a given on heavily traveled dirt roads. The trailhead is 30 minutes from Concrete.

Tip: There are two drive up, single night campsites next to the trailhead.

This trail is definitely a workout, but on Sunday, 10/14/18, we had the most beautiful, clear day with bright fall colors that made it work the work! Snow-capped Mt Rainier with a foreground of red, yellow and orange leaves on the ridge was breathtaking. Layer up, but we ended up taking off most of what we wore because the weather was so beautiful.. It's a lower body burner for sure, but definitely doable for anyone in good shape. You never lose the trail or have you make your own path or anything like that... just a lot of elevation gain in a short time. Lots of sweat!

What a great hike! Has a bit of that “alpine lakes” feel near the top- not bad for being west of the pass. However, not sure where the measurement for the hike begins, but we logged 9.9 miles from the trailhead, leading us to think that AllTrails measures from the cut off to granite mountain about a mile up the trailhead. That, and the fact that we logged over 4100 ft. elevation gain instead of the 3700 ft. or so they list . So be forewarned if time is an issue- it’s a bit longer hike than you may expect. But good!

Awesome fall hike with incredible rainier views at the top. Went on a Monday, but only ran into about 5 other folks total. The hike is an easier start, but gets steep about 2 miles in. My pup and I had too much fun! Highly recommend!

Wow. I have done “hard” hikes and I didn’t expect anything like this. Most challenging hike I have ever done. Straight up the whole way and scaling rocks for a mile. But wow the views are amazing and totally worth it!!

hiking
5 days ago

The last mile is very hard but the views are amazing.

Very beautiful hike!

So beautiful! It’s a tough hike with all the switchbacks, but well worth it on a clear day. I highly recommend this one.

Most beautiful ever ever! Colors are everywhere! One of my best fall hikes!

Went up on a beautiful fall day and it was a nice hike. The way up is nice and we went off trail up boulders before the peak which added a nice effort. Great view up top but would imagine it’s crowded during the weekend.

Started the hike on oct 1,, at around 7:30am, took about 3.5 hours out and back. The fall colors were amazing in this little valley before the final push to the summit and the top was covered in clouds which looked surreal. It was a bit challenging, my legs were pretty tired from the few hikes we did the day before so it felt like the switchbacks went on forever. there weren't very many people on this trail, we did see someone with a dog so dogs can definitely do this hike. There were blueberries that lined the trail which made for a great snack on the way up.

Great trail!!

hiking
8 days ago

Perfect mid-week hike, a handful of people headed to Rachel Lake. Thanks for the pups on leash, much appreciated! Trail was in "good" condition with the expected root, boulder and mud staircase beginning mid way. Excellent colors at elevation. Some water running down due to higher elevation snowmelt from a few days ago. Ridge trail was awesome!

Really enjoyed hiking this trail on Monday with my brother and friend - was a pretty wet day for the hike but we made the best of it and it stopped raining at the summit long enough to grab a bite. As others mentioned you have to look carefully for the cairns and flags - especially near the summit. Used this app’s gps feature to get back on trail at one point near the summit.

One of my all time favorite hikes! It's a must do! I would recommend eating lunch at the tarns!

Trail was overall super amazing, great views, killer nature vibes. Tough time when my group reached the top within the 12 people limit to stay in the lookout but we found three men who weren’t willing to share with anyone else who planned on staying up there. They turned away close to 20 people. So we were forced to walk back down.

Beautiful

Awesome - longer than stated here. We tracked 11 miles from trailhead to tower round trip. There’s approximately 6inches of snow once you start curving in from the ridge and it’s pretty slipper in some areas with all the slush. Looks like a winter wonderland though. Couldn’t see anything because of cloud coverage from the tower (it was closed so sat below it) but the views from the ridge were incredible with bright fall foliage. We plan to visit again in the summer.

Awesome trail with beautiful scenery and changing landscapes. We went thinking we'd see the Fall colors, but we're a day too late! Still some reds and yellows poking out, and plenty at the middle elevations. Socked in at the top, but still worth the climb and snow-free rocks to eat lunch on. Go early before the snow melts to slush! Was muddy on the way down. Parking lot fills up by 9 and clears out around noon. Don't forget your Northwest Forest Pass and warm layers! Happy trails. (Hiked 10/6/18)

This hike was beautiful and the fall colors today (sept 29th) were incredible! Took me 4 hours total to get up and back down not really taking any breaks or pics (not including the 20 mins I spent at the top). Pretty tough but I would rate it more as moderate than hard if you are in decent shape. Parking lot was full by 8am and definitely saw more people coming down later so I recommend starting before 8 if you can. Pretty windy and chilly at the top so definitely bring a jacket! Nice views of mount rainier too! No bugs at all. Highly recommend!

Beautiful hike. Moss covered terrain at the bottom glorious views at the top. Mostly dirt path, a couple of stone stairs and landslides to cross.

backpacking
25 days ago

Absolutely awesome. This one definitely fits the bill for "hard" I think. I recommend planning an entire day here, or camp overnight at the top. Perfect balance of enjoying the forest but with a ton of scenery of the surrounding peaks throughout. Some of the parts, the trail isn't very visible but still easy to know where to go. I can't wait to do it again!

trail running
28 days ago

A beautiful but difficult hike. Planned on 10 miles as some of the reports indicated, but it turned out that AllTrails is accurate. I got 6.8 miles on my Garmin watch. I trail run several of these Mountain Loop hikes, and am very confident this one is about 7 miles long from the trail head. This does not diminish the fact that this is a difficult hike though. Give plenty of time to complete it. The benefit of this hike are the views most of the way up. You could really cut it short at any point after mile 2 and you would still get your fill of the beautiful terrain. Headlee Pass is an experience worth the pain of getting there. 20 or so switch backs in a small gap.
Many portions of the trail are over rock fields, we got off trail a few times, but as long as you understand the big picture of the hike, it’s not hard to get back. Overall the trail is in really good shape, and well worn.

when you feel like you’re close, you’re definitely not. when you get to the open plain and you feel like you’re getting close, you’re not. when you’re climbing up the rocks and you think it’s right around the corner, you most certainly are not. you’ll know you’re close when you can see the lookout. beautiful hike with beautiful views and beautiful people, happy trails!

The views on this trail are amazing! There is a variety of scenic views and trails. I accidentally took the boulder path to the tower. Wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. It was a test of my skills for sure. The view from the tower is incredible. Took the trail back down which was 10x easier than the boulders. Love this trail. Took me a few hours but it was so beautiful I keep stopping and soaking up the scenery. IG: @markobreezy

A great 2 day hike thats very accomplishable in 1 day if you start early

backpacking
1 month ago

A 50 lbs pack on this hike was a real leg burner but worth it. We camped 2 nights and 3 days. The downside is that we got stuck in a constant rain+wind storm for 2 days and couldn’t see more than 30 feet in front of us. The the views were of a gray cloud that we were stuck in. Upside, bears and bugs don’t like that weather so no run in’s, ha. I have an inReach Garmin and kept holding onto hope for Monday, our last morning, since the weather report kept updating at 0% chance rain. It did finally blow out and I’ll admit, seeing that happen was almost worth the storm. Once the sun finally pierced through the clouds, it was amazing. Then it took about an hour for the cloud cover to blow away and reveal why the North Cascades are my favorite. Photos don’t do it justice, you just have to come and see for yourself. Just don’t be a jerk, pack out what you pack in and no fires. The plant life up here is like a PNW rainforest. It’s gorgeous and there are also tons of wild blueberries around. We got to spend 3 hours exploring around which was great. We all had tent fever pretty bad and needed to stretch out minds and our legs. I’m just happy we were able to see the endless sea of Cascades before heading down. We were also stoked that we didn’t have to scramble down wet and muddy rocks. I will say that the scramble area is way longer than posted on here. It wasn’t constant but there were scrambles for the last mile. Some of them were so high that my full pack top touched what I was climbing. Trekking poles and hiking boots are a must, and not worn down hiking boots, you’ll need good outsoles. Also, the split from Barlow trail to Gothic Basin happens a little before what’s posted on here. The original trail is unsafe, looked like a tree fell through. They made a new trail to connect over, just follow the wooden sign that says “Gothic Basin” and ignore your preloaded maps. I use OnX, it lets you preload high resolution maps for offline use. They’re better than my Garmin maps. Definitely bring a bear canister or ursack. There was a warning sign saying they “strongly discouraged camping” at Barlow pass, which is the trail you begin on. Apparently it’s a bear hangout and the trial head where you park, bears have gotten into vehicles and aren’t easily scared off. So while Gothic Basin isn’t Barlow pass, they share the same parking and part of the trail and it’s still bear country. So be smart. Do your research and enjoy the view! It’s worth every bit of leg burn.

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