Gamma Hot Springs (140F)

North Cascades, Washington, USA

Category: Hot Springs-unsoakable

Used in the following map:

C/O Hiking & Soaking in the Western U.S. & Canada

GPS GeoCoords: 48.152639,-121.063508

Weather Forecast

Give yourself 4-5 days for this trip.

From Seattle take I-5 North to Exit 208 to Highway 530 East to Arlington. Follow Highway for 32 miles to the intersection with Mountain Loop Highway in Darrington. Turn left and follow the highway, turn right to Suaittle River Road #26 (right after you cross Sauk River bridge). Go for 22.6 miles to the Suiattle River Trail #784 trailhead.

You will have to continue by foot for about 11 miles on Suattle River Trail #784 to junction with PCT #2000. Turn right (south) at the junction, in about one mile turn left on Upper Suiattle River Trail #798. From this point the trail is not maintained. In about 0.1 mile look for a sign to "Gamma Ridge Way" to the right.

No campsites, no toilet, water is about 0.7 mile up the trail (small stream). Make sure you have enough water with you! There will be no more water on the trail.

First mile of the trail is overgrown with bushes and has quite a few blow-downs. After that trail turns into switchbacks and climbs steeply through the woods, where it is not as overgrown, but still has blow-downs. In about 3 miles it enters the first meadow. There is a campsite there.

Following the ridge the trail continues further going through woods and meadows. It is very easy to loose the trail in the grass. Continue to go straight, ascending to the ridge. In about 2 miles there will be a very nice place for a campsite - an open, even meadow on the top of the hill with impressive view .

From this point climbing equipment and skills are needed.

For some time trail follows the ridge to Gamma Peak . Cross the first gully after the campsite and continue further. The slope is very steep and covered with snow. If you do not have ice-axe, your best way to cross the gully is to follow the top of the ridge. It is about 0.5 mile between the campsite and the turn to Gamma Hot Springs. To get to the summit you need to cross the last gully and start climbing up the trail.

If you destination is Gamma Hot Springs do not cross the last gully and do not go up to the summit, but instead turn right and follow the ridge down. One should not make an attempt to follow creeks drainage, this can be very dangerous. Make sure you look for a trail going somewhat in the middle between Gamma Creek and it's right tributary. Due to the snow you will not be able to see the trail right away, but look for it on your way down. It quickly descends following the ridge.

In about 1.5 mile you will reach the area where Gamma Creek meets with it's tributary. At this point if you will continue straight you will reach a very steep downhill, instead what you need is to go down the right slope to the tributary. Cross tributary and continue down Gamma Creek for another 0.3 mile. It is very hard to see trail on rocky slope, so pay attention. Also it is very important that you do not go down to the creek immediately after crossing the tributary, but continue about 10 - 20 feet up on the bank. You will begin to scent the springs.

The pool is not very big and situated on the open slope very close to the creek . This allows you to control the temperature of the water, for it is quite high - about 150F. Right near the pool there is a piece of black pipe, which contains notes of those who visited the springs. Left of the creek across the pool there is a campsite big enough for one tent, but about 300 feet downhill there is another spot that is possible to use for camping. It will take you about another hour and a half to reach the hot springs.


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