Distance: 9 miles round trip Great For: Hike, Equestrian, Run*
*Runners beware, the first two miles are steep!
Elevation Gain: 3,200 feet High Point: 6,000 feet
Parking Pass Needed: Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Overview: The trail up Driveway Butte is easy to get to, melts out relatively early (the first two miles are open usually by mid May), has great views, and is a grunt of a climb. The first two miles face south, leading to that rapid snow melt, but they can be a scorcher on a summer day, so hit the trail early. After that initial climb, the trail enters an uninspiring old burn for the next two miles. But the best part is held til the end. The upper slopes are grassy and offer fantastic views of the Methow Valley, many of its tributary valleys, and into the Pasayten Wilderness.
Getting There: From the downtown four way stop in Winthrop, head West on Highway 20 for 17.2 miles. Turn right at the sign indicating Klipchuck Campground, and drive 1.1 miles. Turn right into the parking lot.
Route Description: After a short bit of flat treadway, the trail turns right at a sign and starts to climb in earnest. As you climb, watch as Silverstar Mountain and its glaciers takes up more of the sky.
After 2 miles, and 1,900 feet of climbing, reach a saddle and enter an old burn area. The next two miles are rather uninspiring, but keep going, the best is yet to come.
At mile 4, leave the blackened trees behind and reach the upper grassy slopes of Driveway Butte.
Reach the 6,000 foot summit, and the former site of a lookout tower, at mile 4.5. The trail becomes quite faint towards the top. If you lose it, just follow your nose…..up.
Return down the same trail, reaching your car at mile 9.
For trail info, gear, or to pick up a map stop in to Cascades Outdoor Store. We look forward to seeing you before or after hitting the trail!