“A steep & strenuous trail with rewarding views of Ross Lake & alpine flowers, ending at a lookout.”
— Ed Heyman
Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers
Desolation Peak Trail can be reached by hiking 18 miles along the East Bank Trail
or boating in from Hozomeen Camground and International Point (north end) or from Ross Lake Resort (south end). At the trailhead there is a dock located on the east shore about a 1/4 of a mile north of Cat Island. A pit toilet is available here.
The hike is strenuous. It climbs 1,000 feet per mile through a shaded forest and then breaks out near an open ridge among a fantastic display of wildflowers (mid-late July). On the ridge top (before mile 4 where the trail turns north), you'll find a camp with no water available. However, about half way up, you'll find a spring, but it may not be a reliable source as the summer progresses on.
Upon reaching the summit, you'll be rewarded with views of Little Jackass Mountain, Hozomeen Mountain, Skagit Peak, Nohokomeen Glacier, and the lovely fjord-like Ross Lake. The lookout is a popular destination made famous by Jack Kerouac who spent 63 days here during the summer of 1956 as a fire lookout and wrote about his experiences here.
Flora & Fauna
Paintbrush, Tiger Lilly, and a wide range of other wildflowers.