Gothic Basin Trail

HARD 101 reviews

Gothic Basin Trail is a 9.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Granite Falls, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
9.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3280 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

Passing the metal gate just south of the parking lot is where the adventure start. For about 1-1.5 miles is an old gravel road that parallels to the Sauk River (This part is NOT included in the 9 mile round trip) You will first pass the Monte Cristo trail head first. Keep walking until the trail comes to a fork. You will proceed to the right going into the forest until you see the trail head for "Weden Creek/Gothic Basin #724". There is also an old outhouse. Proceed past the sign for a little bit and then you will then see a large sign for the "Weeden Creek Trail". This is your destination. The trail starts off with a gentle grade incline through the sheltering forest for about a mile. A couple of small stream crossings will be passed. About 1.5 miles into the trail, a series of switchbacks (about 20) will begin. The switchbacks are moderate at first then the incline starts to ascend pretty dramatically. Leading out of the forest, you will arrive at the first major waterfall. Continue onward and upward crossing to the left of the waterfall. The trail then beings to get very rough and rocky continuing this way throughout the rest of the hike. Some of the pathway is very narrow, hugging the edge of the mountain with thick overgrowth. The final ascend into the basin is very steep amongst rocks and flat boulders. You will then arrive at Gothic Basin when you see a small lake surrounded by numerous peaks at 4.5 miles into the hike. The hike to Foggy Lake was about 20 minutes past Gothic Basin. It is probably about half a mile away with another 500 ft of additional elevation gain. There is not a clear trail to the lake. You will not see any views at the base of Gothic Basin. The higher you go, the better the views get. After reaching the top of the first ridge the view was magnificent seeing the small lake on the bottom and the different surrounding mountains/peaks. The view was worth the difficult journey. Foggy Lake is very nice. You will not see much green as it is surrounded by rock formations. This hike is mentally draining because you are constantly trekking over rocks, boulders and walking/climbing steeply over ridges without knowing if you are close to the end. However, all breathtaking views come with a challenge! *Northwest Forest Pass required*

hiking
24 days ago

Definitely worth the grind to get up. Can not recommend crampons and an axe enough if you want to get to the peak. Be careful of snow bridges and slushy snow. Alpine experience is a plus. Once past the main waterfall, the trail is heavily snow covered and expect to make your own trail if necessary. We made our own trail to the peak and loved every minute of it. Foggy lake is still completely frozen over, but the view is spectacular. Absolutely worth every minute it takes to get there. Enjoy your hike! Trail is open.

1 month ago

This hike was completed Aug 2017.

8 months ago

Snow has already began to set in for the season so I highly recommend bringing gloves, warm layers and waterproofing as much as possible. It got pretty cold and was snowing/sleeting near the top which had a lot of people turning around so check weather conditions to. A lot of the Trail was hiking up a literal river but views were spectacular and totally worth it!

8 months ago

I'd call this a Mini- Enchantments because it will kick ones ass and provide breathtaking views- and not just at the top. I did this hike today and took my time going up and coming back down. In all I spent 8 hours almost on this one, including relaxing and eating lunch in the Basin. Saw less than ten people on the hike which was also kind of pleasant. I loved the different water Falls along the way once you get past the sign that indicated the lands belong to NDR (or whatever it says).

The paybox near the trailhead gate was recently stolen so if you want to get a day pass you'll need to buy it at the Verlot Ranger station 20 miles before the trailhead.

What makes this hike challenging is you need to watch your footing most of the time, especially on the way down. I found myself surprised that I'd climbed over some of the slabs of rocks on the way up when I was having to climb down over them. You may say "Did I really come up over all this?" Yes. Almost thought I was using alternate trails back down but then I'd see something familiar and knew I wasn't.

Wear ankle supporting shoes is my advice and don't get in a sloppy hurry. I also used Trekking poles and am very glad I did, especially coming down.

This can be done in a day but I envied those camping on top. That's the way to do it, weather permitting.

hiking
8 months ago

I did this hike on a cold winter morning and really wish I'd had better layers. It's best for experienced hikers, and also seems like a good one to do with company. We didn't see other people on the trail, as I'm used to.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike with some beautiful views of the surrounding mountains (to the East). Pretty intense second half in terms of incline and rocky footing.

Just before reaching the final lake, the view out East over Weeden Lake is pretty good. High vertical drop down to the water.

hiking
8 months ago

Gorgeous hike. Getting to the top is like walking into another world. The trailhead is not clearly marked at first - park at the Barlow Pass lot, then cross the road, pass the gate to a wide trail and walk 3/4 mile until you see the trailhead sign on the right. There was a lot of scrambling, but nothing technically difficult. The trail is also very narrow in places and overgrown, so if the trees are wet your clothes will be too. The elevation gain kind of bottlenecks during the second half, so be aware ;)

9 months ago

This was brutal but so worth it! I was smiling when got to the top and smiling...grimacing when I got to my car.

backpacking
9 months ago

First of all: regardless of what the weather looks like it is doing...PEOPLE, RESPECT THE BURN BAN. Are you smokey the bear? Didn't think so. Also, uphill hiker has the right-of-way...

Disrespectful hikers aside, this is an incredible hike:

Did an overnight here. The climb up with an overnight pack is definitely a smasher, but if you are in good shape, you are going to enjoy it. Honestly the hike down was more strenuous for me than the hike up. Your legs are just jelly by the bottom. If you prepare yourself mentally for a tough hike, its going to be a good time. Take your time and bring your nutrition and water. Plenty of spots to filter refills, and one area of rushing water you can dip right in.

Unfortunately it rained and was cloudy the entire day/night after setting up camp, but the area is so incredible it was still worth it. The next day we got a sense of the views as it started to clear up. There are some camp sites up closer to foggy lake, but water access is not as easy for refills. We stayed down by the lower lake.

Will be going back for an overnight on a clear evening for sure. Favorite trip other than the enchantments that I have done in WA.

hiking
9 months ago

Well worth the steep climb the view is impressive .
I am going to the trail again !

9 months ago

Strenuous and difficult hike! however this is one of the best hike I've done!

hiking
9 months ago

very beautiful and very steep in spots! go the little bit further to Foggy Lake

9 months ago

The smoke sucks so don't go until it clears because the views aren't as great. Other than that it was a nice hike. Pretty steep and the last half is rough rocky terrain so be careful with puppy paws if you bring them.

backpacking
9 months ago

Lots of rock climbing and 2 beautiful water falls before you even got to to basin

hiking
9 months ago

Such a beautiful hike. More crowded than I thought though (we went on a Sunday). It took us 2 hours 5 min to go up, stayed up there for 2 hours, and it took less than two hours to go down. We hike almost every weekend, and this hike is one of our favorites in Washington. Our computer said 11.5 miles. Make sure to go up to Foggy Lake. The lake itself is very pretty, but the views are even better.

hiking
10 months ago

This is one of the best hike I ever done !!. First mile of the hike is plain gravel road then you will see the signs where you will take right. Once you reach the trail head first half mile easy then it's start getting steep. Trail is in very good condition. We started around 8:00am, parking lot was almost full so we parked around the roadside. It was foggy and cool so bugs were not that bad. Took us 3 hours and 20 min to get up to Foggy lake which is just extra less then a mile away from the basin. We took couple small breaks to eat snacks. If you go to gothic basin you should defiantly go up to foggy lake. We had lunch at foggy lake and the view was mind blowing!! Took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to come back to the parking lot and parking lot was over flowing. We meet people of all ages up there which was super impressive, It's want easy hike for us.
Checklist:
1. Go early in morning on weekday and on sunny day.
2. Plenty of water and food we took 3-4 liters and it was gone.
3. Extra layer of clothing and hiking poles at foggy lake it gets cold.
northwest forest pass.
4. Sunscreen/sunglasses/ bug spray.

This is a hike where every turn you take there is a different beautiful view.

Best of luck!!!

10 months ago

Took daughter on her first over night. Slight breeze kept the bugs down, very little to no snow left. Fairly busy for a weekday but otherwise enjoyable.

trail running
10 months ago

A bit crowded but nice views and lakes. Do yourself a favor and go scramble Gothic & Del Campo peaks, they are well worth the extra effort. They are not terribly difficult (if you have scrambled before).

10 months ago

Well worth the effort! A variety of terrain and awesome views. Bring a filter or lots of water!

backpacking
10 months ago

Mid July-it was hot! The views are amazing!

backpacking
10 months ago

Stunning views in the basin and at Foggy Lake, which still has ice in it. There's also still some snow in the basin, but it's very possible to move around without having to actually cross any snow.

Compared to other trails in the area, the people who created this one weren't generous with the switchbacks; the grade is steep in the middle of the hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Amazing view with steep climbs

backpacking
10 months ago

trail head is at barlow pass, go through the old railroad gate, 3/4 mile on your right. intense switchbacks in the beginning! killer views and waterfall. a few snow patches at the top. lower lake is icy! awesome trail.

11 months ago

We went up on the 7th to camp gothic, but decided to stay about mile below. the next day we day hiked up to foggy. the day was beautiful! best views ever. foggy still covered in snow with edges melted a little. we saw people hike all the way up del campo! it was amazing to watch. had some snow bridges that was sketchy but went up slow and made it just fine.

backpacking
11 months ago

A beautiful hike with great waterfalls, steep climbs, and lot of snow to cross as you near 500 ft. The climb is difficult but can be enjoyable with a small bit of preparation. I would recommend boots for snow, water filter, compass, and map. If you do not own a water filter, please be sure to bring enough water, as the climb is steep.

hiking
11 months ago

This is another five star hike in my opinion. However the day I went was not a five star day. This is also a past review and doesnt reflect current trail conditions. Just as I approached Foggy lake the weather came in fast and withing minutes it was hailing and then raining. This was in July as well. The trail has variety in the types of terrain it offers. There are some points where you have to pull yourself up the rocks, like a mini scramble as well as numerous water crossings. Make you you pick a great day for this hike to make it worth your efforts. I dont mind a nice overcast day but this is a hike you will probably want to see all that it has to offer. Make use you take the short climb to Foggy Lake as well.

hiking
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

5Stars because I have done this amazing hike before BUT right now, it is ROUGH. The first 1.5miles has been reclaimed by nature! Water has taken over the trail. Not only large puddles but quick, running streams of water that are wide across. Areas of trail have collapsed into the river. Lots of re- routing. Eventually you come up to a waterfall that has gained momentum. Fallen trees and wood have created a dam. The logs are extremely slick. And parts feel like it could go at any moment and be carried away into the swift moving water. The water is deep and rushing fast. We decided it was not safe, and turned back at this point. Be safe!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Great views and a very pleasurable day hike.

hiking
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Arrived at the Barlow Pass parking lot at 6:55 on a Thursday (9/15) morning, ready for a grueling adventure and personal challenge: to complete Gothic Basin, explore Monte Cristo Ghost Town and tackle Glacier Basin – all in one day. To do this, I know I needed to start early and bring a mountain bicycle in order to conserve some energy.

PART 1: GOTHIC BASIN
I took to my bicycle and peddled down the hill (go left) on the gravel road until you see the big metal gate (to the right). This is the road that will take you to Monte Cristo. My first stop, though, was to hike to Gothic Basin (9.2 miles RT). The new trail is being worked on - go straight at 'Proceed at Your Own Risk' sign. Follow the ribbons, which take you around the washout area. Had to walk my bicycle by my side occasionally, which wasn't a big deal considering the amount of waking it had already saved me (and would later on).

Arrived at the Weden Creek Gothic Basin #724 trail ~1 mile in. Parked my bicycle next to the trailhead and started hiking at 7:15 am. The trail is flat at first, following the river and traveling across the occasional wooden boardwalk. It then cuts across a stream and starts pushing upward. Rocky terrain and tricky footing are given relief by periodic switchbacks. Break out of the trees once you reach DNR Managed Lands (there is a sign) and enjoy expansive views of neighboring peaks, the valley floor below and towering peaks above you. The trail becomes more rugged as it steepens, but remains easy to follow. Entered Gothic Basin at 8:55 am. Follow the trail to the right if you want to visit Foggy Lake. The lake more closely resembled a pond, but still offered nice reflections of the rocky terrain surrounding. Beyond the lake, I spent an hour doing a small loop around the basin. There are quite a few fairly distinct trails to follow so you "Leave No Trace." Quite a few picturesque camping spots, 2-3 of which were occupied at the time. There's also a beautiful multi-teared waterfall that leads to an impressive overlook above Weden Lake. Overall, a beautiful area with much to explore. Started my descent at 10:10 am. Passed 8 other day hikers and 2 groups of backpackers. Arrived back at the Weden Creek Gothic Basin #724 trail at 11:10 am.

PART 2: MONTE CRISTO GHOST TOWN
Grabbed my bicycle and easily crossed the shallow river by hopping across rocks. Might have to seek out a log of two other times of the year when the river might be higher. Crossed two wooden bridges along the way to a short but gnarly part of Monte Cristo Road where large gathering of rocks make it difficult to walk and impossible to ride a bicycle. Bounced my bicycle beside me. There were quite a few uphill sections that forced me to walk the bicycle beside me, but was still able to ride about half the distance.

Ditched the bicycle and did a quick walk through the Monte Cristo Townsite, trying to envision what it would be like to live in this small mining town in the 1890s. There are mostly wooden signs pointing out where certain buildings were once built, but there are some structures still standing and a few relics remain scattered around the area. Perhaps the most interesting was the Railway Turntable, which was used to turn the train the opposite direction... still rotates! Pamplets from the Monte Cristo Preservation Association are available along your tour - this include a map and some interesting historical facts.

PART 3: GLACIER BASIN
Follow the signs to Glacier Basin as you wander through Dumas Street and the rest of Monte Cristo. I departed from the official Glacier Basin No. 719 trailhead at 12:20 pm. The first part of the 2+ mile trail is a shaded old forest road. The trail then narrows and climbs steadily. In the distance, Glacier Falls cascades beautifully down massive rocks and craggy peaks spike the horizon. Once you reach Glacier Falls, the trail intensifies and the incline is significant. At one point there is an option to grab a rope to help propel you forward (and allow you to hold on as you descend as well). Lots of elevation gain, obstacles and scrambling from here to the top. Arrived at Glacier Basin at 1:10 pm. A pretty basin, smaller in comparison to Gothic Basin, but one that features more ominous peaks surrounding it. More vegetation, too. There are massive rocks sitting throughout the basin and a creek that calmly meanders around them. A few snowfields covering the rock slides above. Plenty of evidence of mining activity in the form of cables, pipes and the holes (now blasted shut) on the hillsides. Explored the basin for about 45 minutes and then made it back into "town" by 2:35 pm.

THE ROAD HOME (BRING YOUR BIKE!)
This is the part where the bicycle really pays off. Instead of walking the 4 miles back to Barlow Pass, I was able to ride (or rather, coast) the majority of the way back from Monte Carlo. And when there are already at least 20+ strenuous miles logged already, it is a complete joy to not walk anymore.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

One of my favorite hikes. It is very steep and challenging, but it is worth it. The view is amazing. I can't wait to go back up and camp.

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