Forum Index > Trip Reports > Kelley Creek, Joan Lake, Scopion Mtn
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Joey
verrry senior member



Joined: 05 Jun 2005
Posts: 2684 | TRs | Pics
Location: Redmond
Joey
verrry senior member
PostTue Jul 26, 2005 11:13 am 
The Kelley Creek trail is remarkable since it is within easy day-hike range of Seattle, goes through an old growth forest, provides an approach to two summits and a nice lake, and receives next to no use. Of course on the down side this trail has not been maintained by the USFS for a good many years. (How do they chose which trails to maintain and which to abandon?) Both the WTA site and https://www.nwhikers.net/forums/ have only a few reports describing this trail. None of those have much info on the ridge trail that used to run from the Beckler River drainage to the Crest trail. Some years ago I went up the Kelley Creek trail a number of times and explored the ridge going north. After repeated scouting trips looking for blazes, saw cuts and ever-so faint tread, I finally located this portion of the ridge trail, except for where it disappears crossing two large meadows. NOTE - Since it would be very easy to lose this faint trail, this hike should only be attempted by those with off-trail hiking and navigation experience. Directions to trailhead: Take US 2 east to milepost 55. Set your trip odometer to 0.0 and turn left onto the Old Cascade Highway. At mile 2.2 turn left onto the Martin Creek Road. At mile 3.7 go past th Iron Goat trailhead. At mile 5.3 stay left. At mile 5.7 turn left, cross Martin Creek, go short distance to where road curves to right. Note the parking spot on the left with a shoulder-width opening in the alders. Thats the trailhead. (Years ago I used to drive to the end of this spur road and then start hiking.) After hiking along this old logging spur for about a mile, the trail enters a beautiful old growth hemlock forest. Good news! One or more anonymous souls seem to have adopted this trail and have done a huge amount of work to clear brush along this logging spur. While you no longer have to fight your way through, the trail along this old road is quite narrow and leaves and other growth will deposit their load of morning dew on you as you brush by. I was quickly soaked from the thighs down. Once in the forest your footfalls are pleasantly cushioned by hemlock debris and moss. Signs have been erected where this approach trail joins the original Kelley trail near the creek. Even though portions of this trail are quite faint, a careful and observant hiker should be able to reach the ridge. The only obstacle is a steep-sided gully that can readily be crossed by descending a bit. Pay attention since the trail is equally faint on the way down. (When I hiked out I glanced at the GPS several times to confirm I was in fact following the same track that the GPS recorded on the way in.) Carefully note where you arrive at the ridge so you can locate this spot and find the trail for your hike out. To locate the Johnson Ridge trail, go across the saddle to the east side of the ridge. In a clump of trees to the right is an old green and white forest service sign announcing the intersection with the Johnson Ridge trail. To the left you will see tread going up a meadow, but that is not the original trail which is a bit more to the left in the trees. (Look for the blazes) Also, I noticed a number of springs a short way SE of this old sign. See the topo map where the 5,000' contour line makes a U north of Captain Point. Make your way north along the ridge and in about 1/2 mile you will be descending a bit. Watch for several 3'-4' boulders in a pile. The trail passes in front of these boulders curving to the right and drops off the east side of the ridge. As indicated on the map I posted, there are a number of blazes, saw cuts and bits of tread to mark the way. Some of this trail evidence is difficult to see unless you are right on top of it. After descending at an angle to the left, the trail traverses a bit, passes though a meadow, and then climbs back to the ridge. Note this location well so you can find it coming out! Soon the trail enters the first large meadow. This is another spot where you need to locate some landmarks to help you find the trail on the way out. More blazes, saw cuts and bits of tread can be found in the woods on the far side of the meadow. In due course the trail enters the second large meadow. Near the top of this second meadow stay to the right and you will come to the obvious tread of the active portion of this trail system. Turning right to visit Joan Lake. Turn left to go to Scorpion Mtn. I visited Joan Lake (had it to myself) and then scrambled north to a flat meadow at about 5,300'. Very nice Lupin and its friends here. From there I turned left and followed the ridge to the summit of Scorpion. Im considering flagging the portion of trail that drops off the ridge on the east side so others can enjoy this unused trail. If anyone would like to assist in that endeavor next year, you can contact me through my website.

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Tom
Admin



Joined: 15 Dec 2001
Posts: 17433 | TRs | Pics
Tom
Admin
PostTue Jul 26, 2005 11:27 am 
Make sure you put your mailing address on the flags for those who may want to know where to send the litter. clown.gif

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lopper
off-route



Joined: 22 Jan 2002
Posts: 830 | TRs | Pics
lopper
off-route
PostTue Jul 26, 2005 12:14 pm 
Joey: Welcome to the arena, and thanks for your detailed report. So much undergrowth, so little time. We've been thinking of extending our clipping out along the eastward continuation to the PCT from Captain Point (the "North Crest Cutoff"). I recommend the Corona BP-3220 two handed loppers. Follow the blazes....

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