Cutthroat Lakes Trail is a 5.7 mile out and back trail located near Granite Falls, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
From Granite Falls, E (left) on Mountain Loop Highway for 18.2 miles. Right on FSR 4030 for 1.3 miles, Bear Right at fork taking FSR 4032 for 5.8 miles to trailhead at end of road.
Off road driving was as far as we got. Made it under the downed tree but GPS said turn right a bit of a ways up the hill and it looked as though the road had been bulldozed and was quite over grown. Maybe I was at the wrong place but I used the google maps provided by this app. I was really looking forward to this hike so if anyone has further info that could help, please share.
Fantastic hike! Even though it was pouring down rain, my 9 year old and I enjoyed this trail quite a bit. There is a downed tree on the road, but with a smallish car you can easily fit under it. We were the only ones up there, but as another person noted, there were a few old footprints in the snow to help find the path in certain spots. We only made it about 4 miles in before we lost the trail completely, but for how gorgeous of a hike this was we will be back in a few weeks! I wouldn't recommend you take smaller children than 7-8, as there is a bit of rock/tree scrambling and parts where streams have reclaimed the trail.
Good hike :) the trail seemed to not have much foot traffic on it recently. Snow appeared early in hike which made it slightly difficult to follow the established trail. Faint footprints in the snow helped at certain points. We made it to a big meadow without much hassle, but lost the trail just after, so decided to turn back. CAUTION, there is a hug fallen tree on the road to the trailhead, you may or may not be able to get past it depending on your vehicle as you need to go under it. We made it with a Hyundai car. Looking forward to doing this one again when the snow melts.
Went up early just to see if passable went as far as I could no trail to follow. Too much snow very beautiful and will go up again later in year when more snow melts off. Went up early May.
Great hike, tough inclines before you hit the lakes, but well worth it. If you're going later in the year (September onwards), prepare for wet conditions, and if camping, make sure your tent's rainfly is waterproof.
This was a fantastic and beautiful hike! Off the main highway it is about 6-7 miles to the beginning of the trail. Steep climbs that mix with meadow mellow areas and boulder climbs. This hike can be a bit confusing as there are many various trails that can lead off (many deer and bear paths) to different lakes and such. Would be a great backpacking hike with multiple firepits around the mountain. It is four miles to the top ridge. Many lakes to see! As it was so dry this summer most small lake pits were dried out. To loop all the way around stay to the path on the right. Was a bit buggy at the top so bring some bug repellant! This is a much less travelled trail (nice for very few people!) But definitely not a novice trail to hike. Beautiful area! If you like to fish, you can fish for Cutthroat trout.
We did this hike mid November, it had really pretty scenery. Started out with heavier forest and then went into more open trails then meadows and even large rocks. The hike had tons of ice on it so I would absolutely recommend good boots. With all of the water that was frozen I would assume this probably gets pretty smelly and buggy in the summer. Overall we really liked the hike, really pretty and isolated. The roads and trail were all very well maintained. I would consider this a moderate hike, much of it was a pretty steep incline with flat breaks throughout. I think we will definitely come back!
So this is my overview of Mallardy Ridge/Walt Bailey Trail and Cutthroat Lakes. My overall destination was Bald Mountain Summit, however I did not make it this trip. Thanks to a friends recommendation and directions I was treated to a place that's seemingly not well known (apparently). Maybe it's the confusion of how many different names this place has. Maybe I can shed some light or confuse you more. The trail to Cutthroat Lakes was named after its trail builder, Walt Bailey. Bailey built the trails between Mallardy Ridge and Bald Mountain.
And as I paraphrase parts of PNWHIKES: "The Walt Bailey Trails begins along the steep West side of Mallardy Ridge. The trail ascends the hillside with occasional breaks in the firs and hemlocks to reveal views down into Boardman Creek valley. At 1.0 mile the trail will level and cross Boardman Creek. The trail becomes meadow-like here. The trail will begin to ascend again before entering a second meadow and will repeat this process a few more times. At 2.5 miles you will climb a steep (500 feet in less than a half mile) ridge over that holds Cutthroat Lakes. From here the trail winds down through meadows. Views of Big Four Mountain, Sperry and Vesper Peaks can be seen to the east. The second Cutthroat Lake will be reached after 3.4 miles."
Upon arriving to the meadow of Cutthroat Lakes, it's easy to get confused on which way to go. There are trails that lead all around the various tarns. When coming into the meadow the main trail will lead you around to the right. If you want to go to Bald Mountain, just remember one thing (up and left). There are tons of trails that lead all over, but just keep going up and left. There is a small lake with a little island in the middle that sits directly below the base of Bald Mountain. That's where you want to end up to find the trail to lead you up the summit. I only wish I had more time to reach the summit AND to take more pictures of Cutthroat Lakes. It was absolutely stunning and the pictures I did take did no justice to how beautiful it was. I can't wait to go back.