Distance: 11 miles round trip Great for: Hike, Run
Elevation Gain: 3,792 feet High Point: 7,660
Parking pass needed: Northwest Forest Pass
Trail Overview: If you want to avoid the crowds, but experience a fantastic trail, Stiletto Peak is a great choice. Do note before heading out that the final mile to the summit is not on a developed trail, which is probably why so few people make the trip. There is a faint path leading you upwards, but you should go prepared to not just blindly follow a wide path. The first couple of miles from the parking lot are gentle and through the trees. Once reaching the Stiletto Peak spur trail you’ll start switchbacking up and up, still in the trees. But then, ahhh, at mile 4.5, you pop out into the open alpine meadows and meander your way to the top of the world. The views from the summit, where a lookout tower used to stand, are second to none.
Getting there: From the 4-way stop in downtown Winthrop, follow Highway 20 west for 33.4 miles and park at the Bridge Creek Trailhead parking lot. This trailhead is located in the low point between Washington and Rainy Passes. Your trail starts across the street.
Route Description: Almost immediately after starting down the trail, reach a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail, head left.
In .8 miles, leave the Pacific Crest Trail by taking a left on a trail that points you towards Stiletto Peak. You will quickly cross a creek.
At mile 1.1 reach a junction with the Copper Pass Trail. Going left would take you up to Copper Pass, also a worthy hike, but on this day, bear right.
At mile 2.25, reach the easy to miss Stiletto Peak spur trail that takes off sharply to the left through the ferns. There will be a low sign down by your feet marking this trail.
This trail will switchback up through the woods, making steady progress towards your summit. There will be the occasional view until you pop out of the woods at mile 4.5.
From here the “path” continues uphill, at times straight, and at times in a switchback fashion. It will, however be very faint. Just take your time, look ahead, trying to spot the next cairn and the path through the wildflowers, and follow your nose upwards to the summit.
You’ll know when you reach the top because it feels like you’re on top of the world. You’re at mile 5.4 and 7,600 feet above sea level.
Going Farther: There is a lot of exploring possible from this point. There is a cross country route that heads to Stiletto Lake. It’s a worthwhile destination, for sure, but there is a fairly arduous scree field to cross to get there and no trail. From Stiletto Lake, you can head cross country towards the Copper Pass trail and make a loop back to your car. Or from the lake, you could head towards Twisp Pass and loop back to your car that way. These routes are for experienced cross country hikers only, looking for a bit of adventure
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!