Hike of the Week: Steep climb to Kachess Beacon
Round trip covers six miles, with 2,200-foot elevation gain on eastern side of Snoqualmie Pass near Interstate 90.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The hike to Kachess Beacon is one less traveled, but its proximity to Interstate 90 on the eastern "sunny" side of Snoqualmie Pass makes an ideal close-to-home getaway.
Round trip covers six miles, with an elevation gain of 2,200 feet to 4,600 feet. The reward is great views of Kachess, Keechelus and Cle Elum lakes, and the surrounding Cascade mountains.
The rather steep incline begins right away heading up Kachess Ridge, and the tree line gives way to peek-a-boo views of nearby peaks and valleys.
The trail becomes more even at the one-mile mark, and runs next to snowmelt streaming off Silver Creek. Further up, the trail divides, following the creek up the ridge or taking an easier route away from the creekside.
Hikers can also take in the wildflower sights of brilliant orange paintbrush, calypso orchids, and glacier and chocolate lilies.
The final leg of the hike climbs up the southern side of the ridge to an old air-traffic beacon. One can see the basin lakes below, Amabilis Mountain to the west, and Mount Baldy and other snow-capped peaks looking south toward Mount Rainier.
A Northwest Forest Pass is required for vehicles parked at the trailhead. Cost is $5 daily and $30 annually. Permits can be obtained at the Snoqualmie Forest Service office, 69805 S.E. Snoqualmie Pass Summit Road. Take Exit 52, and the office is located about two blocks off I-90 on the right. For details, call 425-434-6111, 800-270-7504 or 509-674-4411.
For current trip reports on this trail, go to www.wta.org/signpost/go-hiking/hikes/kachess-ridge.
Directions: From Seattle drive east on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass. Take Exit 70 (Easton/Sparks), drive north, and turn left on Sparks Road. Follow the road and turn right to Forest Service Road 4818 (Kachess Dam Road). Go another mile, and turn right to next trailhead sign. Then keep left at the fork which leads to the trailhead.
Other upcoming outdoor events:
• Wholesale Sports Outdoor Outfitters is offering a beginning fly casting class 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on June 26. Cost is $50. Instructors are Darrel Martin, certified by the Federation of Fly-Fishers and the Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors and Michael Martin. For details, call 253-835-4100.
• The Seattle Aquarium at 1483 Alaskan Way (Pier 59) offers a "One Big Ocean" event 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday with discussions, demonstrations, displays and hands-on activities. For details, visit www.seattleaquarium.org or 206-386-4300.
• The documentary film "Where The Yellowstone Goes" premiere screening is 7 p.m. June 21 at the Harvard Exit Theatre in Seattle. The film follows a 30-day drift boat fly-fishing trip last August and September on the Yellowstone River from Gardiner, Mont., to the confluence of the Missouri River at Fort Buford, N.D., which covers almost 600 miles. This section of the river is known as one of the best "Blue Ribbon" trout fly-fishing rivers in the world. Cost is $12. For details, visit www.landmarktheatres.com or www.wheretheyellowstonegoes.com.
• The Washington Parks and Recreation summer natural and cultural history interpretive programs at Larrabee State Park, 245 Chuckanut Drive in Bellingham. Dr. Marilyn Boysen will lead the programs June 30, July 14, Aug. 11 and Sept. 1. A Discover Pass is required. For details, visit www.parks.wa.gov/events.
• The public is invited to attend two kids' fishing derbies Saturday at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island and Lake Sylvia State Park in Montesano. The derbies are free for children ages 15 and under. Anglers must take along their own equipment. A Discover Pass isn't required.
The Cama Beach kids' fishing derby is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event begins with the program, "How to fish in saltwater," which teaches beginning anglers fishing basics. Limited fishing gear will be available for purchase. Rowboat rentals are $20 during the event. To register or for information, visit www.cwb.org/2012fishingderby.
The Lake Sylvia kids' fishing derby is 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the park kitchen shelter. Anglers may participate in a pancake breakfast for $3 or begin fishing after arriving. for details, call 360-249-3621.
• The Salish Sea Native American Culture Day is this Saturday at Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island, and the CamOcean World Oceans Day Festival is June 16 at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island. Also the State Parks' free day is Saturday, National Get Outdoors Day. A Discover Pass isn't required that day to visit any Washington State Park, though, it is required on lands managed by state Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources. For a list of events during Great Outdoors Month, visit www.parks.wa.gov/events.
• Saturday and Sunday is Free Fishing Weekend in Washington. On those days a fishing licenses isn't required, nor is a Vehicle Access Pass (which comes with a fishing license); Discover Pass; Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement; and a Two-Pole Endorsement. State Fish and Wildlife reminds anglers that all other rules still apply, including seasons, area and lure or bait restrictions, and size and catch limits. Catch Record Cards (first one is free) are required to fish for salmon, sturgeon, steelhead, and halibut. For details, visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/free/.
• The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance's Mountain Bike Festival Summit Ridge BikePalooza is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at 29000 Maple Valley Highway in Black Diamond. There will be free bike demos, poker race for all abilities, technical-skills challenge, slow race, kid's race, raffles, food concessions and the latest mountain biking gear. Trails and Freeride Park will be open. For details, visit www.evergreenmtbfestival.com or 206-524-2900.
• The Manzanar Fishing Club documentary film continues through next Thursday at the Landmark Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way N.E. in Seattle. The story is about Japanese-American internees during World War II who ventured out of the relocation camp lined with armed guards and barbed wire to fish for the prized trout of the Sierra Nevada's high-altitude lakes and streams. Show times are 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. For details, call 206-632-6412.
• The Washington Butterfly Association free lecture titled "Butterflies of China" with Dr. Robert Pyle is 7 p.m. Saturday at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41st St. in Seattle. For details, call 206-364-4935 or go to www.naba.org/Chapters/nabaws.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org