Grizzly Peak, Smith Brook Trailhead , Seattle - Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Snoqualmie Pass - Central Cascades, Washington
Grizzly Peak - 16.4 miles
Smith Brook Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||16.4 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||4,006' - 5,597' (5,597' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,591' net elevation gain (+4,023' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Grizzly Peak - 16.4 Miles Round-Trip
Grizzly Peak (5,597') is located 8.2 miles from Smithbrook Trailhead on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness. This open, fairly anonymous summit has terrific views that stretch north to Glacier Peak and south to Mount Rainier.
The PCT runs north from Union Gap to Lake Janus, where it steepens up to the crest and undulates across open meadows, ridges and swales to Grizzly Peak. Though the summit is little more than a broad knoll, the subalpine landscape through which you'll pass is highly compelling.
Net elevation gain is modest between the trailhead and Grizzly, but several steep climbs and many short, up-down sections add up and give it a more difficult rating.
Note that water is very limited from Janus to Grizzly - plan to carry enough or fill up at the lake. A recreation pass is not required at the Smithbrook Trailhead:
The Smithbrook Trail (#1590) winds under a tall canopy to the wilderness boundary (.45 miles : 4,220'). It climbs steadily on variously moderate and steep switchbacks to Union Gap and the PCT junction (1.3 miles : 4,610'). Lake Valhalla is located 2.2 miles south of Union Gap on the PCT, another great option.
The PCT turns north and drops quickly to a low point just past a break in the timber (2.45 miles : 4,030'). Enjoy good views down Rapid River valley on this descent.
The trail rises back and crosses a stream on a hairpin turn (3.0 miles : 4,185'). It continues on mild grades into brushy meadows along the west side of Lake Janus (3.45 miles : 4,146').
The PCT steepens past Janus on long, steady switchbacks that gain 1000' in 1.75 miles. Thinning timber suddenly breaks across an open ridge with great views of Glacier Peak (10,541') and a line of summits in the northern Cascades (5.2 miles : 5,145').
Here the trail begins an airy 3 mile stretch across high meadows, swales and thinly treed ridges. Autumn colors and berries are exceptional on this segment.
The PCT wraps along an open contour and bounces down to a large swale (5.9 miles : 5,035'). It passes a spur that leads to great views over Glasses and Heather lakes (6.25 miles), and rolls on with more good looks before temporarily dropping out of sight (6.45 miles : 5,055').
A twisting path undulates and toggles E-W along the crest for the next mile (7.45 miles : 5,160'). The final approach steepens considerably on sweeping switchbacks that moderate across open heather just under the summit.
Grizzly Peak (8.2 miles : 5,597') is located just off trail to the right, but is unmarked and difficult to pin. You'll know you've reached it when you wrap around its likely location and begin dropping through a grassy meadow with postcard views of Glacier Peak.
Glacier Peak is Washington's 5th tallest mountain, distinguished by over a dozen glaciers on its flanks. It's also one of 18 U.S. volcanoes considered a 'very serious threat' by the USGS. Glacier Peak has erupted many times in the last 15,000 years, two of which were among the largest in the region during this period.
- N47 48.138 W121 04.635 — 0.0 miles : Smithbrook Trailhead
- N47 48.184 W121 04.768 — .45 miles : Henry M Jackson Wilderness Boundary
- N47 48.334 W121 04.943 — 1.0 miles : Steep, winding climb
- N47 48.417 W121 05.167 — 1.3 Pacific Crest Trail junction
- N47 48.645 W121 05.528 — 1.75 miles : Steep drop to valley floor
- N47 48.718 W121 05.693 — 2.0 miles : Fast, moderate descent
- N47 48.972 W121 06.091 — 2.5 miles : Low point of descent, begin climb
- N47 49.251 W121 05.698 — 3.0 miles : Cross creek on hairpin
- N47 49.482 W121 05.918 — 3.45 miles : Spur to Lake Janus
- N47 49.577 W121 06.191 — 3.95 miles : Methodical climb on switchback
- N47 49.644 W121 06.546 — 4.45 miles : Steady climb in tall canopy
- N47 49.801 W121 06.940 — 4.95 miles : Transition to subalpine forest
- N47 50.074 W121 07.176 — 5.45 miles : Level across high, open contour
- N47 50.319 W121 07.593 — 5.95 miles : Arc around large swale
- N47 50.349 W121 07.883 — 6.25 miles : Spur to view point
- N47 50.426 W121 07.971 — 6.45 miles : Undulating travel along crest
- N47 50.575 W121 08.366 — 6.95 miles : Undulating travel along crest
- N47 50.609 W121 08.817 — 7.45 miles : Trail steepens up sweeping switchbacks
- N47 50.657 W121 09.055 — 7.95 miles : Trail moderates in high open heather
- N47 50.747 W121 09.243 — 8.2 miles : Grizzly Peak (5,597')
- Early maps suggested Lake Janus drained west, but forest supervisor A.H. Sylvester later determined that it in fact drained east. He subsequently named it Lake Janus after the two-faced Roman god (source: wdfw.wa.gov).
Camping and Backpacking Information
Camping Rules and Regulations
- No fee required.
- Group size is limited to 12 individuals (or people and stock combined).
- Camp only in established sites. Some may be closed for restoration.
- Sites are first come, first served.
- Campfires are permitted at Lake Janus. Fires are not permitted at Lake Valhalla.
- Bathe and wash dishes at least 150-200' from lakes and streams.
- Fishing is permitted in Lake Valhalla, Lake Janus, Heather Lake and Glasses Lake with a valid WA state fishing license.
- Contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for specific guidelines.
Sport | Commercial Licenses: 360.902.2434
Disability Licenses: 360.902.2460
Rules and Regulations
- A Recreation Pass is not required to access the Smithbrook Trailhead.
- Free, self-registration is required at the Smithbrook Trailhead (access Valhalla (s) and Janus (n) and beyond). Sign in as directed at the trailhead board.
- Dogs are permitted within the Henry M Jackson Wilderness, including the Smithbrook Trail and PCT to Lake Janus and Lake Valhalla.
Directions to Trailhead
The Smithbrook Trailhead is located 2.6 miles north of Highway 2 on Smithbrook Road (Forest Service Road #6700). The turnoff for Smithbrook Road is 30.5 miles west of Leavenworth.
Highway 2 is split by a divider in the vicinity of Smith Brook Road. A well-marked turn for Smithbrook Road (FS 6700) crosses the divider for east bound traffic.
Smithbrook Road is a graded gravel road suitable for passenger cars in good condition. High clearance is recommended. Short sections are narrow and winding with potholes.
Okanogan - Wenatchee National Forest | Wenatchee River Ranger District
600 Sherbourne St.
Leavenworth, WA 98826
Okanogan - Wenatchee National Forest | Headquarters
215 Melody Lane
Wenatchee, WA 98801