Four of July Creek

July 30, 2006

To reach Fourth of July Trailhead drive south on Highway 5 until you reach Exit 194 which lead to Highway 2. On Highway 2 drive more or less 100 miles (160 km). Before you enter Leavenworth, you will see Icicle Road -- Hint: There is a gas station on the corner --, go right and drive 9 miles. Around 8 miles you will see a campground with the same number, after another mile you will see a small parking area on the right side of the road.

You need to buy a U$5.00 USFS Trail Park Pass, I got mine on Skykomish (before Steven Pass).


Fourth of July Trailhead

The trail is on a south facing slope in mostly open forest so it is one of the first high trails in Washington State to be free of snow. If you don't mind a little snow at the top, this trail would probably be hike-able in mid-May in warmer years

The trail starts almost flat crossing Fourth of July Creek two times in the first 1.6 km. where you can reach large Ponderosa Pine trees. After leaving the cool forest, the trail goes on a very steep, and rocky path.


Trail entering well engineered switch-backs

This area was part of the 2001 deadly wildfire season in the Northwest, killing four firefighters and burning more than 600,000 acres in Washington and Oregon. During the fire, even relatively green trees and brush torched almost instantly because their moisture content was very low.

The fire in this place -- two of the most serious fires on the Wenatchee National Forest in 2001 -- was completely contained by reinforced firebreaks.

Glimpses of Icicle Ridge shows the end of this moderate hike.

Views here begin to open up more both southeast and southwest. This is where the Stuart Range starts to come into view. First Dragontail, then Colchuck, then Argonaut, then Sherpa, and finally Mt. Stuart itself. Also you can see up the Icicle Creek Valley to the Cascade Crest region. The forest here starts becoming distinctly subalpine as the trail switchbacks through it.

500 meters before the end of the trail there is a hump on the west side of the ridge (Icicle Ridge Lookout, destroyed in 1969). One problem with this trail is that by late summer there is not water in the upper parts.


Icicle Ridge Lookout Viewpoint

The trail abruptly ends into the subalpine. This is the junction to Icicle Ridge Trail that can be hiked for as long as you like. The Icicle Ridge Trail is 24 miles one way and can be hiked from either end or accessed from trailheads off the Icicle Creek Road like the Fourth of July Creek Trail.

I walked 1.5 km to the east where I have views of Leavenworth and sorrounding peaks.


Keep looking to the East to see the dry hills and flatlands of Central Washington.

“Icicle” is an interpretation of the native word “nasikelt” meaning “steep-sided canyon.” The ridge forming the northern boundary of Icicle Canyon is indeed steep-sided

The fire created charred timber and open grassy areas. It hasn't taken long for Mother Nature to replant her burned garden.

The viewpoint is a pile of boulders that requires a short scramble to get to the top.


Southwast view - Cashmere Mountain

From there you have 360 degree views characteristic of a mountain tops.


Northwest view - The deep and long valley of Icicle Creek

This part is a spur of the Cascade Range better know as the Wenatchee Mountains. This range runs from Blewett Pass to Stevens Pass.

The Wenatchee Mountains are in the rain shadow of the main Cascade Range and hence have fewer trees. This comparative lack of trees offers good wildflower displays and wide views of the Stuart Range and the Cascades

Very close to this place, along Peshastin Creek, south of Leavenworth is the home to the Wenatchee Mountains Checker-mallow, the rarest plant in Washington, now on the Endangered species list.

1 Elev 685m N 47'34.695" W 120'47.807" Trailhead
2 Elev 2040m N 47'35.426" W 120'45.781" 200 meters from end of trail
3 Elev 2077m N 47'35.206" W 120'45.468" Viewpoint (1.5 km)
4 Elev 2141m N 47'35.454" W 120'46.035" Icicle Ridge Lookout Viewpoint

Roundtrip: 20.8 km (13 miles)
Elevation gain: 1456 m (4776 ft)


Driving distance from Vancouver: 353.6 km (221 miles)