Forum Index > Trip Reports > Early season alpine fix in the Buckhorn Wilderness
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jaysway
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jaysway
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PostMon May 22, 2023 5:04 pm 
Ever since my first backpacking trip to the Buckhorn Wilderness three years ago, camping below Marmot Pass and hiking up to towards Buckhorn Mountain, I have had a soft spot for the area. In particular, I loved the park-like expanse of alpine terrain stretching from Buckhorn Mountain to Buckhorn Pass and how it reminded me of a larger version of the alpine ridgelines found in the White Mountains, like Franconia Ridge or the ridges between the Presidentials. I remember noticing the peaks north of Buckhorn Pass during that trip and wondering if any trails went up there. Many months later, I did some searching and came across IanB's 2011 trip report to these peaks, which I will refer to as The Castle but go by many names for referring to the tallest of them (Copper Creek Peak, Reggie Peak, Stickeye Peak, and Point 6628). The past two springs/early summers I was hoping to do this trip (you can even find a comment I left in ozzy's trip report from last year) but did not get the opportunity. Finally this Friday/Saturday, I was able to smile.gif. I started from the Tubal Cain trailhead, hiked up to Buckhorn Pass and dropped my big pack, hiked to Buckhorn Mountain and back, then picked up my pack and hiked the three summits of the Castle, camping on the tallest one. The next morning, I descended cross-country from roughly 6,600' to 5,000' down the steep, mostly open slopes of The Castle to meet back up with the trail. Other than one short, steep section with a long runout, snow did not present any issues. I didn't see a single person my first day, and finally saw my first person the second day at Copper Creek where a bunch of people were camping. In the future, I would prefer doing my route in the opposite direction by going up cross-country from the Tubal Cain trail to the tallest Castle peak, and then going to Buckhorn and so on. I love doing these trips with a tent, but this route would be really fun to trail run as most everything except for some off-trail/scrambly bits are runnable, and the trail quality is great. An even longer version could entail starting from the Upper Big Quilcene trailhead and summiting Buckhorn Mountain in one direction, and taking the Tubal Cain cutoff back to Marmot Pass in the other direction. If you like park-like ridgelines, pillow basalts, and gentle scrambling this is a great route. Thank you to everyone who wrote trip reports about this place over the years. Hiking up to Buckhorn Pass, then Buckhorn Mountain, then The Castle
Castle tallest point, enjoying sunset
Sunrise the next morning, hiking down

Now I Fly, John Mac, zimmertr, contour5, IanB, raising3hikers, jstern, reststep, Bramble_Scramble, mosey, GeoTom, Tom  meck  Hesman
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Hesman
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Hesman
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PostMon May 22, 2023 9:33 pm 
I havenít been there in a long while due to the area being loved to death. Though I have many fond memories of visiting the area starting when I was a kid with the parental units in the early 1980ís.

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss
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