Hike Distance: 9.0 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 942.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1524 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 99249 feet
We were looking for some place we haven’t been in a while, so we headed out to the Dark Divide. I thought we’d give the Craggy Peak trail a try, and see if we can get any stellar views.
To begin, the drive was very long and the road sucked! This road isn’t as bad as that to Grassy Knoll, but it ranks up there. Much of the road is paved but contains small stretches that are rough and small drops. There was logging going on and this is a single lane road with only a few places to pull to the side. You also feel like your driving on a ledge. Add this to Google Maps taking us to the wrong location and you have a bad beginning. We ended up backtracking and parking at the Wright Meadow TH, which has no official parking but has room on the edge of the road, at this intersection.
The Wright Meadow Trail starts off going through old growth, which is fantastic. After about 1 mile we turned onto the Craggy Peak Trail. This trail is rutted, by all the dirt bike traffic, and only gets worse as you ascend up the trail. Wright Creek was quite beautiful and the water crystal clear. The trail ascends up along the creek but is in bad shape. We then, again, walked through some old growth trees, and even saw some snow mounds still on/off trail (but passable). Surprisingly, insects weren’t an issue!
As we ascended, you feel as though you might reach a viewpoint, but we never did. It is evident that the trail has plenty of water flow during snow melt, and this only aggravates the deep ruts from the dirt bikes. As we hiked along, there started to be blowdown across the trail, and following it only got worse. We ended up getting so tired of climbing over and around blowdown, and avoiding walking in the deep ruts, that we turned around and called it quits.
On the way back I found a small trail that lead to a graveled road, that we followed back to the creek crossing, to avoid the rutted trail that paralleled the creek. On the way back, you got a small glimpse of Mt. St. Helens through the trees, but the view was obstructed and too hazy for a picture. We admired the old growth, that would probably eventually be logged, on our way back.
Still a worthwhile hike but not one we’ll come back to, unless the trail is cleaned up. 😦