When the Wild Sky Wilderness was established in 2008, part of the original negotiations was that several new trails would be built within this 106,000 roadless area. This was a good faith move of course to counter anti-wilderness claims of folks being locked off their land by providing even more access. And if you have been on a hiking trail lately within one hour of the greater Seattle area, you know that crowding is becoming a serious issue. One of the best ways to counter this situation—is to build more trails. The demand is there and so is the will for more trails.
In 2014, thirteen conservation and recreation groups in Washington (Washington Trails Association and the Mountaineers among them) threw their support to the US Forest Service to build a couple of new trails within and near the wilderness. Last month, the Forest Service announced plans to begin constructing two new trails. That’s two new trails to highly scenic areas allowing hikers to discover new places and taking some of the pressure off of busy nearby trails.
One of the trails will be an ADA-accessible short nature trail to Alpine Falls. Great move and I highly support it. But we definitely need more backcountry trails too and that’s where the new Frog Mountain Trail comes in. This trail will be built from Jack Pass to the open summit of 4872-foot Frog Mountain. It will be 3.8 miles one way with about 1900 feet of elevation gain. And it will be incredibly beautiful with knockout views of the Monte Cristo peaks, Spire Mountain, and Glacier Peak.
Frog Mountain’s upper elevations are nearly all open meadows owing to past forest fires in the region. It is west of Cady Ridge and north of Evergreen Mountain and Johnston Ridge. It is also very close to the Blanca Lake Trail, one of the busiest trails within the Skykomish Ranger District. This new trail with its moderate mileage and elevation gain, wildflower meadows, and extensive views is sure to become a classic and a favorite of many a Northwest hiker. I can’t wait for the ribbon (or is that ribbit) cutting for this one. A big thank you to the Forest Service and all of the organizations that supported this project. Now let’s get ‘er done!
For detailed information on the other great trails within the Skykomish River valley, consult my Day Hiking Central Cascades (Mountaineers Books)