Took a trip up to the Bitter Creek cirque via the abandoned forest service road (NF-6310 on google maps)
Not really looking for anything particular this time, but there are mines in the area.
I’d say this is a moderate, albeit brushy hike for most people in reasonable shape. If you are a vigilante trail worker you might wanna bring a saw or loppers.
There are a couple of gully/creek crossings that may be difficult or impossible to pass in high water.
Wildlife was abundant. Grouse on every other switchback, lots of bobcat “sign”, and even surprised some mountain goats at one of the gully crossings!
There is also a great deal of old growth to see at the higher elevations of the road.
Entering the cirque was like hiking in a whole new land.
A light but heavily crystallized snow coated the grade and a steady cold air flowing from the mountain kept the cirque in a perpetually frosted state.
This effect was more pronounced near the creek and in low troughs.
The road splits near it’s end, the left route is said to take you to a gully in which are a couple of mines (I have not yet visited)
The right route heads toward the cirque head but terminates not long after the fork.
I found flagging and evidence of a bootpath that may continue into the cirque, a climber’s route perhaps, but due to time constraints, this for me was the end of the line.
I’d definitely recommend this to the more adventurous hiker seeking to explore some new ground, but it’s difficulty is low enough that most reasonably healthy people could make the trip.
That being said, it is overgrown and has enough deadfalls that it could pose problems to less experienced hikers.
Distance: 8 miles RT ± (13km RT±) from roadblock
Gain: 1,640ft ± (500m ±)
Difficulty: YDS 1-2
Take the US-2 to Index-Galena Rd. continue along Index-Galena Rd. until roadblock at Lewis Creek. Hike approx 1 mile to NF-6310.
I think you might need a NW Forest Pass. The Index-Galena Road is currently (DEC2015) closed at the Lewis Creek parking area, so you’ll have to hoof it from there.
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