Spider Gap via Cloudy Pass Trail #1256

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Glacier Peak Wilderness

Spider Gap via Cloudy Pass Trail #1256 is a 20.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Chelan, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from March until November.

Length20.7 miElevation gain5,003 ftRoute typeOut & back
BackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsLakeRiverViewswild-flowersWildlifeBugsSnow
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Well-maintained, secluded trail leading to a number of magnificent lakes, mountain passes, peaks, and the Spider Glacier. Perfect for a leisurely multi-day trip, or a tough day-hike from Holden Village. Plenty of water sources, good signage, excellent primitive camping, and beautiful nature.

Holden Village is well-equipped with electricity, restrooms, and emergency supplies. Food and hospitality is a paid service. There are a number of well-maintained pit-toilets and primitive campsites at Hart Lake, Lower Lyman Lake, and the Upper Lyman Lakes. Signage is good, but there are no trail blazes, but very few branching trails.

It is highly recommended that you reach out to Holden Village management before your hike, in order to secure a place on one of their buses. Otherwise, you'll be stuck with an additional 5+mile hike. You'll also need to book your tickets on the Lady of the Lake (or Lady Express) to the Lucerne dock in advance.

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Reviews (2)
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Recordings (1)
Completed (6)
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Peter Zachwieja
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First to Review

Hands down, my favorite backpacking experience. 3-man crew, 5 days, 4 nights. Day 1, we parked our car in the lot at the south end of Chelan, took the ferry to the Lucerne dock, and paid for a bus ride up to Holden Village where he was a light lunch before hitting the trail. We paid Holden for the food and hospitality. They were extremely friendly and accommodating. We covered about 7.5 miles through light rain. We kept up a pretty good pace and gained a decent amount of elevation Some of the switchbacks approaching Lower Lyman Lake were exhausting. Definitely a tough hike. When we were able to see through the clouds we were treated to spectacular views of waterfalls, mountains, and of course, Hart Lake. The trail crossed streams several times, so we able to filter and refill. Never felt short on water. We spent our first night at Lower Lyman Lake, arriving just before dark. Even through the cloud cover, the lake was absolutely gorgeous. There were several unoccupied primitive campsites and a well-maintained pit-toilet. Signage was quite good, all along the way. Bugs were only an issue at dusk and dawn, but a bug headnet is a must. Day 2, we day-hiked up to Cloudy Gap where we took some time to relax, read, eat lunch, and enjoy the meadows, wildlife, and incredible views. We were able to see all the way past Upper Lyman Lakes to Spider Glacier and Spider Gap. Truly breathtaking. We hiked back to camp in the afternoon, packed up, and hoofed it up to Upper Lyman Lakes. We managed to snag a wonderful, central, primitive campsite near another well-maintained pit-toilet. The sun set and the moon rose magnificently, right through Spider Gap. Quite a surreal show (which would be repeated every night we spent at Upper Lyman). The evening was punctuated by the sound of distant rockfalls every hour or so. No threat to our campsite. Seriously cool, though. Day 3, we explored the glacial basin, enjoying the meadows, streams, bright-blue lakes, trees, and of course, the glacier itself. Walking up to Spider Glacier was a humbling experience. Don't let the perspective from the north end of the basin fool you. It is HUGE. Day 4, we hiked up to Spider Gap. Once again, the hike looked trivial from our campsite, but between the gain, the snowpack, and the cold, it was a pretty decent climb. The beginning of the incline was the rockiest part of our entire trip. Trail is marked only by stone cairns, so keep your eyes peeled. Take it slow and give your other hikers plenty of space. As for the snowpack itself, it was definitely a bit treacherous. We had to take it very slow, making sure our footholds were strong. If you were to start sliding, you'd probably wind up a couple hundred feet below where you wanted to be with a sore butt. Poles and/or spikes highly recommended. Our rubber-soled boots made for a tough time. Finally, we made it to the Gap. There's a sweet satisfaction to looking over all of the ground you've covered from a significantly higher vantage point. The view of Upper Lyman and Cloudy Gap is breathtaking. We lunched in the Gap, then hiked back down to camp, packed up, and were able to make it all the way down to Hart Lake for our final night. It was tough to find an unoccupied campsite at Hart, but we were able to track one down, some ways from the trail. Day 5, we hiked back to Holden, took the bus to the ferry, the ferry to the parking lot, and the car back to Seattle in time for dinner. A challenging hike, but an experience for a lifetime. Worth every bead of sweat and mosquito bite. Not easy to get to, but that makes it all the more satisfying to complete.

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Brian H
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