Hike Gothic Basin

9 Miles Round Trip - 3000 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Gothic Basin, Central Cascades, WA - Search Nearby - Added by Derek Cook

Gothic Basin highlights stunning landscape in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  This hike is an excellent day hike closer to Seattle (~75 miles). 

Looking for a hike that will make you feel like you're in a foreign landscape, but don't have to deal with that far of a drive? Then consider hiking Gothic Basin. This hike is located only 30 miles down the Mountain Loop Highway, which is nearly a hour shorter for people that live in the greater Seattle area than driving up to the popular hiking destinations of Mount Baker.

Looming above the old mining town of Monte Crisco lies Gothic Basin. This hike can be very strenuous at times due to the steep rocky landscape, and the rough trail constructed originally by miners, making the views that much more rewarding.

Start the hike by parking at the Barlow Pass trailhead. To access the trail you will have to walk 1 mile down a closed road that runs along the Sauk River. From here, the dirt road will end and the trail begins off the the right. The next half mile will be a cake walk. After you cross over Weden Creek, the grind of the hike begins.

Ascending nearly 3000 feet in elevation in just under 3 miles, you'll call for a break or two. Luckily, the views you have during the hike will make this almost essential. Once you reach the top, you'll be thrown in a scene of granite and small lakes, which will make you think you were in a scene of Lord Of The Rings. Climb up one of the Granite bluffs and enjoy the views while you eat your lunch. From here, you can continue on the trail for a short but steep distance to foggy lake, or stay in the basin with views of the unique landscape and North Cascades.

Thinking of making it an overnight, check out Scott Kranz's adventure Backpack Gothic Basin.




9 Miles
3000 ft elevation gain
Out-and-Back Trail

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Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Go to Foggy Lake

Love this hike, and it is much harder than you would expect with the milage and elevation gain, as it becomes pretty exposed and shade is rare on a hot day (yeah I happened to do this one on the only 97 degree day of the year last year). I highly recommend continuing to the right of the basin towards Foggy Lake another half mile or so, this lake is crystal clear with glacier cold water that is SO refreshing. Consider the scramble up to Del Campo peak from here as well. Beautiful place and I can't wait to go back for an overnight trip!

Brandon Baker

almost 4 years ago


Great hike but pay attention to the weather! I did this in August last year when the temperature was in the high 80's....makes for a very warm day! One of the best hikes off mountain loop in my opinion.

Derek Warby

almost 4 years ago

Overnight is a must!

If you are into scrambles this basin makes a great base camp. I did this as a one night trip with some friends a few years ago and it was incredible. We camped at the lower end of the basin by a small lake and scrambled up Del Campo the next day. Make sure you find a good route description if you add Del Campo to your trip. We took the wrong route and ended up VERY exposed. It was one of the greatest one night trips I have ever been on and is out of this world beautiful. If you day trip it you will find yourself wishing you had your overnight gear because you won't want to leave and there is so much to explore. Several peaks surrounding the basin can be scrambled.