Backpack Icicle Ridge

Rate this Adventure Washington Icicle Creek Trailhead

  • Activities:

    Photography, Backpacking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    15 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    4500 Feet

Easy Parking

Amazing and plentiful wildflowers. Fantastic views of the Leavenworth area and surrounding mountains. No crowds if you're looking for some wilderness solitude.

If you're looking to go up and then up some more, this is the trail for you - it's one of the steepest trails in the area. You'll be well-rewarded with some awesome panoramic views. It starts out at the Icicle Creek trailhead, just 1.4 miles south of Highway 2 on Icicle Creek Road, which you'll hit right before you enter Leavenworth. Note that you can also start this hike from the Fourth of July Creek trailhead further down the road, or you can plant a car at both trailheads and hike the two trails together. Otherwise, just hike up as far as your legs can carry you and return the way you came!

The trail winds up through some beautiful forest, filled with pines, firs, and aspens. In the early summer, it's also ablaze with various wildflowers. About 2.5 miles in you'll level out on the lower part of the ridge - there's a short trail to your right that ends at overlook with great views of Leavenworth and the Wenatchee River. Walk out to the overlook and take off your pack and enjoy the view and a snack before continuing up.

From here the trail continues to climb up and up the ridge. This part of the trail is a little less well-maintained than the lower section, as fewer people make it up this way. After about another 2 miles, the trail will start to open up as you approach the top of the ridge and hike through large sections of burn damage from recent years' fires. Find a cozy spot around here to set up camp with a sprawling view of the Stuart Ranges or continue on with the trail towards the right to meet up with the Fourth of July Creek trail.

Continuing on, the trail finally levels out for a while and passes through some wetter, boggier (and, for that matter, buggier) areas. This is a good spot to refill water supplies but these sources are not available all summer as it dries out. Past this, you'll start to climb ever so slightly up again before you top out on the highest part of the ridge. Camp here for the views but be prepared to stake your tent down extra well for the wind!

Take it easy on your way down - it's a long hard trek on the knees. If you're driving west on Highway 2 when you leave, make sure to stop at Zeke's Drive In in Gold Bar for a burger and fries!

Pack List

  • 10 Essentials
  • Backpacking pack
  • Tent (with good stakes!)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag (remember, you're going to be sleeping at over 6,000ft so a warmer bag can be nice!)
  • Stove and fuel for cooking meals
  • Lots of water and a water purifier (it's a smart idea to stop in at the Leavenworth ranger station to ask about water access on the trail, as it doesn't last through the whole summer and you may need to carry everything you need with you)
  • Rain gear and extra layers as you climb in elevation
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Hiking poles (even if you don't normally use them, your knees will thank you on this one)
  • Camera and tripod for night sky shoots in clear weather
  • Snacks!
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