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: 

brian cash

about 4 years ago

Tougher than expected, but worth it.

We decided to make it an overnight, on a beautiful October day. Quite a bit tougher than I expected, it started out very easy, with the walk on the gravel where cars used to be able to drive. Considering we had pretty heavy packs, trekking poles helped quite a bit on the ascent to the top. It took a good 4 hours to get to the top, but once we made it, it was very worth it. We set up camp on the base of Del Campo. There is plenty of areas to get water, in streams on the way up, and the lakes at the top. I would definitely recommend over nighting this hike, as it was stunning to wake up to at sunset, seeing an amazing panorama of mountains in all directions.

One of my favorite hikes in Washington and makes for a great day hike or overnight. It's pretty popular so try to arrive on the earlier end if you're looking to snag a campsite (they're also fairly spread out and not immediately obvious). Upon entering the lower basin look for sporadic cairns and a moderately-worn foot path to the right and then ascend up a steep and rocky section if you want to get up to Foggy Lake. There are multiple ways to ascend but ultimately head in a northwest route to reach Foggy Lake at the upper basin.

A challenging hike with rewarding 360 panoramic views at the top! The last 2 miles are a climb and exposed, stay cool and hydrated during summer.