Backpack to Remmel Mtn. & Four Point Lake

Added by John Sunich

This is a remote wilderness area with abundant wildlife. You have a high likelihood of having the place completely to yourself. Get an amazing campsite with views of the surrounding peaks. Duration: Overnight.

Remmel Mountain (8685 ft), the former site of a fire lookout, is a massive pile of granite and a wonderful destination for panoramic views of the rugged Pasayten Wilderness. The mountain itself can be accessed from several trailheads and although there are no short routes to the base of the mountain, there is a trail leading all the way to the summit.

A popular route to access the mountain is Chewuch Trail #510 from the 30 Mile Trailhead out of Winthrop, WA. The trail has a gentle incline and allows the hiker to cover the miles rather quickly while taking in views of Chewuch Falls, surrounding mountain peaks, and while keeping an eye out for wildlife such as deer, marmots, bear, and possibly a moose. There are many different trails leading to other destinations in the Pasayten along this section of trail as well as great wilderness campsites, so it is an excellent destination for a multi-day trip should one choose to take a slower pace and explore more areas. The area did burn in 2006 as part of the large Tripod complex fire and the trail is susceptible to blow downs, so early season trips can be a bit more of a challenge until trail crews have cleared the downed trees.

At roughly Mile 13 you will see the sign for Four Point Lake/Coleman Ridge Trail #505. After following trail #505 for a short distance, you will be required to ford the Chewuch River or find a log to make a crossing. Early season, this can be quite challenging due to the increased volume in the river from snow-melt. After the river crossing, the trail begins to gain elevation at a much quicker pace as it climbs up toward Four Point Lake. At roughly 2 miles on trail #505 you will see a spur that heads over to Four Point Lake.

Four Point Lake (6850 ft) hosts multiple good campsites (you shouldn't expect them to be filled though) with great views of the surrounding ridge and Remmel Mountain. It is also home to plentiful trout so be sure to pack your fishing rod.

To reach the summit of Remmel from Four Point Lake you will need to rejoin trail #505 and continue west. The trail will traverse a hillside below a small, unnamed lake whose outlet forms a gorgeous waterfall. After the waterfall the trail begins switchbacking up a steep incline. Once at the top of the switchbacks you will need to begin looking for the faint signs of a trail heading up the meadow/draw. Follow that trail until you reach the scree field at the base of the mountain the trail should head to your right and begin switch backing up the ridge towards the summit. Be on the lookout for mountain goats and marmots!

Once at the top you will see amazing views of Remmel lake Amphitheatre, Cathedral, and Apex mountains to the north, Windy Peak to the east, and on a really clear day you can see Mt. Baker to the west. Additionally you may see some old artifacts from the fire lookout, which once stood atop this mountain.

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Great hike, but be weary of the 505!

I recently did a variation on the Cathedral Lakes Loop and hiked this area. It was great and I would highly recommend it. Rather than hike in from 30-mile campground, you could also hike-in from Chewuch Trailhead (510A-Cathedral Lakes Driveway), which may shave some miles off the trip. Another thing I would note: the #505 trail (Coleman Ridge) is very poorly maintained. The Forest Service claims that they maintain the section between the 510 junction and Four Point Lake on a yearly basis, but I have trouble believing that, given the number of downed trees I came upon on that section of the trail. I don't know how you get any stock through there. Another thing to note is that the 505 trail has not been maintained beyond Four Point Lake for the last decade or so. A wildfire swept through that area and that section of the trail is now mostly overgrown. So if you plan on doing this hike as a loop (i.e., after hiking Remmel Mtn., you could take the 505 around Coleman Ridge to the 561 (Fire Creek) trail, and then back to the 510), be advised that you will need to follow cairns and rely heavily on your map and compass to navigate.

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