Washington · August 2014
Hike Summary
11 miles out and back
Total Elevation Gain: 
3,090 ft
Starting Elevation: 
2,280 ft
Highest Point (Foggy Lake): 
5,223 ft
Hike Time: 
6 - 8 hrs
Very Difficult
July - October
Allowed on Leash
Pass Required: 
Gothic Basin is my favorite day hike in Washington. With some of the most beautiful scenery in the state, it is hard to believe that miners used to scramble their way up here to start their day. On my first visit here, I wished I had brought a tent and plannned an overnight camping trip.
The beginning of the trail follows the old road to Monte Cristo, an abandoned mining town. Parts of the trail may be unclear, but generally, you will be staying on the right side of the South Fork Sauk River the whole way, crossing Weeden Creek, then ascending steeply into the woods to the right.
Once you pop out above the trees, you'll get great views across the valley, and trail gets tougher. At times you'll be scrambling up high, slippery rocks. Even late into August, there may be patches of snow in the upper elevations.
Gothic Basin - Waterfall
Gothic Basin - Snow in August
Gothic Basin Trail
Gothic Basin Trail
Reaching Gothic Basin, whatever snacks you have brought will taste extra delicious. There are plenty of spots to picnic next to pools of clear water and other-worldly rock formations.
Gothic Basin
Gothic Basin
Gothic Basin
This is prime scenery. I can't overstate the beauty of the views looking back to Sheep Gap Mountain.
Gothic Basin and Sheep Gap Mountain
Sheep Gap Mountain, from Gothic Basin
Although the trail to Foggy Lake is not clear cut, reaching it is easy work from here, adding only a couple of miles round trip and 250 vertical feet to your hike. Del Campo Peak is on the far side of the lake, and the spires of Gothic Peak are to the left.
Foggy Lake and Del Campo Peak
Foggy Lake and Del Campo Peak, with Foggy Pass to the left of it
Gothic Basin - Foggy Lake
Gothic Basin - Foggy Lake
Gothic Basin - Foggy Lake
Foggy Lake and the smaller pond next to it
It is another 250 feet of vertical gain to Foggy Pass, where you can get some great views of the lake. For the hardcore climbers, there is also Del Campo Peak, but it is highly advisable to bring a helmet for that.
Foggy Lake and Sheep Gap Mountain
Foggy Lake from halfway up Del Campo Peak
This hike starts at the Monte Cristo Trailhead, located off the Mountain Loop Highway, about 30 miles east of Granite Falls, Washington.
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