Forum Index > Trip Reports > Kelcema Lake/Deer Creek Pass/Helena Mine Trail
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whitebark
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Joined: 08 Jul 2005
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 2:40 pm 
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I don't know where the Forest Service found the money to do it, but the Deer Creek Road has been repaired, and it is possible to drive all the way to the Kelcema Lake traihead.  That said, the new road bed dips steeply through the landslide site, and it soon may become hard for small, wimpy cars to get through the loose gravel and rock at the bottom of the dip. I can't believe that  they are going to leave the repaired section like that.

Nothing has been done to improve the final mile to the trailhead either, so I had to dodge rocks and scratchy branches to get to the trailhead. But my  little hatchback car made it in the end.

After parking, I headed onto the historic Deer Creek Pass trail to check it out. This trail has not been officially maintained in a long time, but volunteers have cut logs and brush to keep the trail passable. The pass area has some nice old growth forest, but little in the way of views. If you follow the trail a little ways down the Clear Creek side, you will arrive at an area with limited views out to Three Fingers and Liberty Mountain. Beyond that point, the tread is totally lost in brush.

Next I checked out the old Helena Mines trail, which begins at the pass. There is no sign marking its start - just look for a gap in the shrubbery and turn right. Though the trail is rough and brushy, and its tread collapsed to practically nothing in many places, I managed to follow it all the way to the big talus slope where there is a nice view. This spot is a good destination for a shorter hike, although somewhat spoiled by an overabundance of black flies. It appeared that the route was getting some use, despite the poor condition of the trail. I did some brush clipping along the way,  which will help future hikers.

Next time I come here, I'll try to make it all the way to the mine site.
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Chief Joseph
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Joined: 10 Nov 2007
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Location: What Verlot Forgot.
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 3:18 pm 
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Yes, I am surprised that they repaired the road and I doubt they will leave that  dip-low spot of which you referenced. On the last section I hit a pretty large rock with my low clearance Toyota Celica, but no apparent damage was done. We spent the day rafting fishing in Kelcema lake and spent the night. 


Bugs were strangely non existent except for the small biting flies. The fishing was also sub par, likely due to the lack of bugs. Glad they repaired the road but I will avoid the place like the plague on weekends.

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Jeff
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Joined: 18 Aug 2008
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Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 3:44 pm 
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Yay! Maybe I can ski it now without having to walk the washout! As long as the creek crossing is filled with enough snow of course.
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Backpacker Joe
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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Location: Cle Elum
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 3:53 pm 
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Pictures pictures ppppiiiiiiiiiccccccccccccctttttttuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeesssssssss.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln
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fourteen410
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 4:23 pm 
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Good to know about the road to Kelcema - last I heard, it was supposed to be some time before the FS fixed it.

I know the person who posts as "CP" on WTA did some work on the trail last year. Thanks for helping out  up.gif
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