A JOURNEY THROUGH the trails and tributaries
The SKYKOMISH RIVER
We started our trip heading east on HWY 2. The HWY 2 corridor provides access to some of Washington’s most spectacular outdoor recreation. Paralleling HWY2 is the Skykomish River - The Sky drains the west side of the cascade mountains into the southeast section of Snohomish county and the northeast corner of King County.
Along the way, we stopped at Eagle Falls. Eagle Falls is more of a large cascading rapid than a waterfall. The geology surrounding Eagle Falls is truly spectacular and during high water season, this section of whitewater provides some of the most unique hydraulic features in the state. The Sky is home to chinook, coho, pink salmon, steelhead and bull trout. The name "Skykomish" comes from the Northern Lushootseed word /sq'íxʷəbš/, meaning "upriver people"
As we continued along HWY 2, we found ourselves at the foothills of Lichtenberg Mountain. Lichtenberg mountain stands at 5770' and is located about 5 miles northeast of Steven’s pass. In the Spring and Summer months, Lichtenberg provides access to a plethora of amazing hiking trails and alpine lakes including lake Valhalla. During the spring snowmelt, Lichtenberg will drain into Nason Creek - one of the tributaries of the Wenatchee River.
Continuing east on HWY 2, we eventually met up with the Wenatchee River. The Wenatchee River flows 53 miles from Lake Wenatchee down to the Columbia River. The section of river that runs along HWY2 into the bavarian town of leavenworth is called Tumwater Canyon. During peak snow melt, some of the largest whitewater in the country can be found in the Tumwater Canyon section of the Wenatchee River. Tumwater Canyon is also home to world class hiking, multi-pitch climbing and bouldering.
Icicle creek drains from the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and flows into the wenatchee river. As we traveled up Icicle Creek Road, we found ourselves surrounded by sharp rock formations and epic snow capped mountains.
Icicle creek road provides access to the colchuck and stuart lake trailheads which are the entry points to one of Washington’s most heralded wilderness areas - The Enchantments. The Enchantments is regarded as one of the most spectacular locations in the cascade range and is comprised of an upper and lower basin, the azul blue alpine lakes contained within them and the surrounding peaks of the Stuart Range that bound the basins.
The HWY 2 corridor and the central cascade mountains are truly some of the most spectacular regions in Washington State. Given the range of climates from the western to eastern side of the mountains, this area provides a perfect testing ground for our gear. If you’re making a trip to Washington, definitely take some extra time to experience these amazing places.
Pro Tip: Plan your trip for the shoulder seasons - the Fall and Spring provide the best access in the area and draw the smallest crowds. And if you make it to Leavenworth, be sure to stop by Icicle Brewery. Icicle’s Bootjack IPA is the best beer in the world. Period.