Vesper Peak Trail

HARD 54 reviews

Vesper Peak Trail is a 6.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Darrington, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.6 miles
4,124 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

rock climbing




wild flowers



3 days ago

This was a difficult hike but the views were amazing!

The pictures posted here only scratch the surface of how beautiful this hike is.

This was a great hike but it’s an ass kicker.
WARNING: As others have written, The trail distance info listed here as well as on the trailhead markers ARE INCORRECT!!!!
It’s exactly 4.2 HARD miles over Headley pass to the lake. Then another .7 miles to the summit.
Plan on 5 miles EACH WAY and spending the night at the lake is a good call.

Route finding experience is suggested but the trail is failed well marked with cairns on the boulder fields where it’s easy to get lost. While on the boulder fields keep your eyes peeled for these cairns and other hikers. We ran into several people who lost their way.

The trip was amazing but very crowded with helicopters & mountain rescue teams looking for the lost hiker.

20 days ago

Hiked this yesterday with my pup. You don't need a 4x4 to get there, but if you have a low clearance vehicle you're definitely going to scrape in a few spots. Don't let the distance and elevation fool you, this is a real hike. I recorded 13.9km round trip, which is over 50% more than the distance listed here, I think the distance listed here goes straight through a lot of the switchbacks. I guess I wasn't paying attention in the beginning, because when I came to the 4th stream crossing I continued the trail along the creek for a little bit until it got really dense and clear that it wasn't the route. Make sure that when you get to the 4th stream, you drop down and cross it on the easy log crossing. The rest of the trail was easy to follow for me, but I can understand how people get lost in the boulder fields. The GPS route from OpenStreetMaps seems spot-on, so if in doubt, download that to your phone or watch before heading out. The trip up the snow was fine in trail runners with poles as there were already a lot of steps and the snow was quite soft, but if you do this early with a crust you will probably want microspikes.

Really excellent scenery the entire hike, but make sure to give yourself enough time to enjoy it. I think I did a decent pace and it's a solid 6 hour hike not including breaks. Spent 45 minutes on the peak to take some photos and hang out. Definitely one of my new favorite hikes in this area!

23 days ago

July 21, 2018: This trail is no slouch.
Road to the TH is your typical Cascade dirt road; leave your Aston Martin at home.
Several rushing water crossings in the first mile, each with a different method of traversing but nothing too crazy.
Once out of the woods the relentless climb starts, often over rocky, faintly established trails. The cairns never steered us wrong. The switchbacks at Headlee Pass in particular are just stupid steep.
The rocks eventually give way to snow, which was easy to navigate until the final giant slope just before the summit. It looks like it's every hiker for themselves at that part because there's no established trail; all the footprints go straight up, several different routes. Spikes and trekking poles would help here. The wife used both whereas I only used my spikes. We glissaded down, because why not.
Our view from the summit in one direction (I think ESE) was obscured by low cloud cover, which was a bummer given all the work it took to get up there!

1 month ago

hiked on 4th of July. great hike. trail still snow covered in places and a lot near the summit. crampons a help but not completely necessary. good time to do this one. spectacular panorama from summit!

3 months ago

exelente sendero para caminar

9 months ago

Hiked on 9/23/2017

This was my third time on this trail and to my surprise there was a lot of people. The autumn colors are gorgeous right now. The creek crossings are very simple, just be careful when stepping on the wet rocks and logs. They can be very slippery. Once the trail ends and you get to the scrambling part near the summit, there are small patches of snow. Either follow the cairns on your way up or go your own way. Just remember the summit is to the far right. I chose a really shitty way to the top and had a few scares, but coming down was a lot easier for me. Hopefully you will have more solitude at the top than I did. There were at least 15 people up there with me, and some very rude assholes. Despite this, I had a very nice gentleman hike back to the trailhead with me, as it was getting dark (I did this hike solo). Bring gloves and layers and plenty of snacks and start as early as possible. I lost some time due to following some cairns that were more than likely placed as a joke by some asshole. Took me way too far up the hill on a bunch of loose shale. I had to carefully make my way down and it was not fun. Another hiker said he had done the same thing. This one took me 9 hours total and it was worth it.

10 months ago

Challenging hike but d finitely worth it. Gets windy and super cold at the top. View is absolutely beautiful. Totally worth it

10 months ago

Great hike, if your new to area plan on taking the whole day to enjoy the view and hike. I hike, a lot took about 8 hours total with two stops for snacks and two stops for view....well maybe more, lol. Absolutely beautiful!

Would agree hiking poles are a win, and you can get lost a little so plan the route. If you have bad knees it’s a killer on the way down!

Snacks, and plenty of water at least 2 liter to get you through on a warm day like yesterday!

10 months ago

I hiked Vesper peak last weekend and it was absolutely incredible. Definitely one of the hardest hikes I've ever done but it was so rewarding once I got to the top!

It was super easy to follow all the cairns, I didn't get lost or off track at all. The only part that was somewhat hard to follow was near the very top with all the boulders.

A few things to note:
- The road leading up to the trailhead is "closed" but I kept driving and had no problems. I made it in a car just fine.
- This hike clocked in at about 10 miles total, not 8. Prepare for a longer hike!
- The last mile or so you are just climbing up rocks. I wish I would have had hiking poles for the way down.

11 months ago

One of the best hike so far!!!!

It's around 8 miles round trip

Road to the trailhead is single road and have potholes my Accent did fine.
Trail is not in very good condition because of the washouts, and cairns can lead you to wrong way so be very careful. Started around 7:30 am, parking lot had only 2 cars. Took me 4 hours to get up to top and 3 hours to get down which includes getting lost and couple breaks. This is not an easy hike because it's steep and at top you have to climb the granite rocks which can be little tough. Pretty views all the way. Take plenty of water and extra food. Try to avoid this hike if you are scared of heights and beginner.

Good luck

11 months ago

beautiful country! difficult navigation! not all cairns indicate the way to vesper, or to the TH.... the rock fields tripped us up bad. the actual trail is so faint and over grown... I've got scrapes along my arms and legs from bush whacking.

To my thorough entertainment every time we figured out how we had taken a wrong turn, we then always found the very obvious correct route, ha!

on the bright side I know where not to walk next round :D

11 months ago

Wow!! Amazing hike and challenging. Make sure you follow the man made markers (stacked rocks) "cairns" or else you will get lost. I got lost when it opened up to just rocks because I didn't see the cairns but you have to make sure you keep looking for them every 10-20 feet during the rock opening until the end of the hike. It will guide you to the peak at the end. Best views! Bring lots of water. I brought 3 liters and ran out. Thank god I had my lifestraw with me.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

This is definitely one of the best hikes I ever had. I did it today with lots of canadian smoke and I will do it again soon to see all the mountains around. Trail is pretty rocky, way up much easier for me that way down, I feel how my knees hates me now, but I am 100% satisfied. Met some climbers who climb peak from the north side, looks very impressing from the top. Bring more water or water filter to refill.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

So good. With plenty of people there on the weekends, don't see how one couldn't find the easy way up to the summit.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I agree with some other hikers comments. This trail can be difficult to follow. Once you get to the end of the woods the trails seem to disappear. We went to 3 to 4 dead ends before finally finding what we thought was the right trail. It lead us through a field of 6ft ferns that we followed until we ran into the river rocks. From there we hiked about a mile up the old river bed looking for a side trail to appear again but we never found it so we turned around. We recorded our trek in the app and once we had service again we compared it to other travelers. It looks like we took the wrong path coming out of the trees. We went straight(slight left) and others made a right. It would be nice if they could mark the right path cause it looks like the views are incredible from the top. I'll likely give this hike another try cause I really want to see the summit views. All around a decent experience but wish it would have ended with better views.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

This is a seven star hike. Some clown gave the hike three stars as they became lost? I have no clue how an experienced hiker would get lost as this trail is pretty obvious and well worn until you enter the valley of ROCKS! The only part I can see is where this could happen is at the river and after you cross there are only so many places you can climb the bank. There are wear markings climbing the banks as well. I am a little annoyed the someone would rate this hike three stars because they cant find an obvious trail. This is a tough hike though. The trail has rocks of all types. Some of the trail is all rock and for a long ways. The trail is easy to follow and no special efforts needed for any of the water crossings anymore. The crossings are all within 20 minutes of the trail head. There is a large section of over grown brush so if its wet you will be soaked. After you pop into the valley the trail is basically on and over rocks until you hit the lake. The pass has a few switchbacks that have been taken out and you just go up the side some. The lake is thawing and looks really great from the summit. At this point there is some snow travel that might bother some coming down. I didnt use spikes up or down but many in my group did. If you look at my recording I was all of the place at the top as I was being chased by a Yeti! Awesome hike but a workout due to the terrain. DO NOT judge this hike my its mileage and elevation gain, Nine hours round trip, but there were eight of us just casually day hiking.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tough, but amazing.

Monday, July 10, 2017

This trail was really hard to follow. As you get to the big creek crossing, the trail turns into a jungle of 6' tall ferns and just disappears. I found myself surrounded by ferns and couldn't see anything around me. I backtracked and crossed the creek where all the logs were and it looked like there was a trail on the other side, but that disappeared too. After roaming around in the woods with no service on my phone, I decided to just head back and I ran into another solo hiker who couldn't find the trail either. We both decided to be safe and just head back to the trailhead. Despite everything, I did enjoy the trail and the creek crossing was fun. I'm not the greatest when it comes to navigational skills, so I'm going to do more research and try this again in a couple of weeks.

*I hiked this again a couple weeks later and some awesome person/people had maintained the trail over by the big creek where I lost my way the previous time. The trail was very easy to follow this time. Once getting to the giant field of boulders, the trail looks kind of hard to follow, but there are plenty of rock cairns that help. This is a very strenuous hike but a very great one! Once we got to Headlee Pass, we decided to just hang out at the lake and call it a day. We started kind of late in the afternoon, so we thought we'd play it safe. I'm definitely going to come back, start really early, and summit this thing by myself. I was just in awe of all the beauty that surrounded me. Next time I am going to bring a water filter and more food. The hiking poles were a lifesaver, though my knees were still killing me toward the end. I don't give many trails 5 stars, but this one gets 5, hands down. I just can't wait to see the views from the summit!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

One of my all time favorite hikes! Some serious climbing/bouldering at the end. Well worth the work

Sunday, July 03, 2016

this trail is pretty awesome and takes some work. we tried to summit today, but had to make do with a near ledge. we did not have crampons or spikes which are probably still needed to summit right now. Parts of the trail were not easily marked and we spend well over an hour building new cairns. The view from above the lake on a y of the near by ledges are great. I am willing to bet the summit would be worth the effort though.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Vesper Peak was by far my favorite hike, even though our group was ill-prepared and we didn't manage to stay on the trail. We went on a gorgeous day, but started too late in the day and got bullied by the sun and heat for most of the hike.

The trail starts in a forest and then emerges into an uncovered bit of trail before plunging back into the trees again. Right before the pass is a lovely boulder field and some short switchbacks. Navigating the boulder field was difficult, and we were unable to find the proper trail for most of the time. Views from the pass are great, but nothing compared to the peak.

After the pass, there's some more tree cover and some more boulder field before the stream and lakes. There is a small lake first, and you can continue on to the large lake, as we did. We were able to get some water using a filter from some other hikers (highly recommend bringing a filter) at the large lake. Our leader hadn't looked at the trail map very closely so we didn't know how to proceed to the peak, even though we could see it. So we started following cairns, and basically rock-climbed and scrambled our way up the rest of the mountain. I don't suggest that route for anyone who just wants a nice day hike. The correct route has its entrance over closer to the small lake, I believe.

Once we made it to the top, the view was breathtaking. You can see a lake to one side and mountains everywhere. The day we went, it was perfectly clear. It's a pretty comfortable spot to hang out for a while and enjoy the view as well.

Even on the gorgeous day that we went, we saw very few other hikers.

Would do again. Highly recommend.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

There are an abundance of cairns that will help you get to the summit peak, but trail finding is still required at some points and always stay alert so you don't venture off. Also, geocacher's may find a surprise that will make the trip even better.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

This trail is rough and one of the rockiest I have hiked in a long time. As noted the main stream crossing can be dangerous if done in the Spring or early Summer. Headlee Pass in itself doesn't have the greatest views for the amount of effort you put in to get there. I suggest continuing on at least to the lake which is surrounded by rock walls. There isn't much elevation gain from the pass to the lake, just more boulder fields. The 360 views from Vesper are magnificent with several very jagged peaks nearby.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Great views but go late summer. Snow in the pass requires ax skills as there is no runout.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I disagree that this trail is mainly for rockclimbing. It was a great hike with lots of diversity and not just following a trail. The first part is forested and the trail includes roots and rocks. It took us a while to find the best and safest means of crossing the stream since at the time we hiked the water was high and swift. It was good that we had waterproof boots. Hopefully the huge log that my Army Ranger son hauled and tossed across the racing waters will be helpful to others that follow. After the stream, there were some steep switchbacks that were in open sun. It is worth making sure you do this hike on a clear day since the views were gorgeous.

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