Route: I-90 Corridor "Backside" (WA)

Submitted by stukesowle on Sun, 10/31/2021 - 08:35am
Washington, US
40.6 km
Vertical Gain
2,790 m

This is a great point-to-point route along the I-90 Corridor that avoids many of the more crowded trails. The route is predominately on trail but does have some cross country travel between Melakwa Lake and Gem Lake. 

As per the FKT guidelines the route can be run in either direction. The west end starts at the Granite Lakes Trailhead then on to Thompson Lake where it picks up the Mount Defiance Trail. The route skips the climb of Mount Defiance as the out-and-back would not be in the flow of the route. From Mount Defiance you go to Rainbow Lakes and then on to Pratt Lake. From Pratt Lake you will travel to Melakwa Lake.  From here the route goes cross country as you pass over Melakwa Pass and down to Chair Peak Lake. You will then traverse over to Gem Lake and from there the rest of the route is on trail as you pass Snow Lake and finish up at the Snow Lake Trailhead (by far the most crowded trail section of the entire route).

This route is a great snapshot of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness with long forested sections, a handful of lakes, and as you near the end, a more alpine setting as you move along the cross country section.

Any attempts prior to mid-July will see likely some snow in the cross country area (particularly the north side of Melakwa Pass) so traction devices and/or poles may be appreciated.  The cross country section is not technical from a scrambling perspective but does cross some loose slopes. Good navigating will help avoid getting bogged down in bushwhacking.

GPS Track