OverviewMiners Ridge is a west-east trending ridgeline in the north-central Cascades of Washington. The highpoint of Miners Ridge is at its eastern end at Plummer Mountain, which has a dedicated page on SummitPost. This page is dedicated to two other specific locations on Miners Ridge:
-> Point 6758, which is the only other point (besides Plummer Mountain) on Miners Ridge with at least 300' of prominence and is also shown on some maps as "Miners Ridge" at that location.
-> Miners Ridge Lookout (Point 6208), which is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the region.
Miners Ridge got its name during the pioneer era of the early 1900s, when a lot of prospecting, claims, and mines were happening on the slopes of the ridge. Many of the old miners' trails can still be found in various areas (and some were converted into official U.S> Forest Service trails), as can several mines and artifacts.
The location of Miners Ridge Lookout, despite only having 88' of clean prominence, has long been recognized as having a commanding view of the Suiattle River drainage and surrounding ridgelines and peaks. The first lookout constructed on the site was a 10'x 10' shake cabin during 1926. The cabin was later replaced during 1938, when a 20' tall timber tower with L-4 cab was constructed. That tower was replaced during 1953 by another 20' tall treated timber tower with L-4 cab and is still standing. The current tower is occasionally staffed by volunteers and during periods of high wildfire danger in the region. The current tower is on the National Historic Lookout Register. This lookout site is one of the most remote in Washington in terms of minimum hiking distance required to reach the location.
Although Plummer Mountain is the highest point of the ridgeline, the western half of Miners Ridge is far more popular for hikers, photographers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Miners Ridge Lookout is one of those popular areas but so are the areas approximately one mile east along the ridgetop. Image Lake is a tiny picturesque lake that has long been a favorite destination for hikers, and backcountry campsites are located nearby and only a few minutes further east of the lake. Many years ago, the ridgeline located north of Image Lake (and east of Point 6758) became a very popular photography destination. Similar to Mount Shuksan as seen from Artist Point in the North Cascades, the south view of Glacier Peak and Image Lake was a favorite of many photographers for many years. When the Suiattle River Road was closed for approximately 10 years, this scenic vista was unvisited except by very few people. There is hope by many people that this area of Miners Ridge will once again become a popular hiking and photography destination. A trail leads from Image Lake to this area of the ridgeline above it, and then the trail splits; one path leads to the top of Point 6758 while another "official" (yet seldom used and unmaintained) trail continues north towards Bannock Mountain.
Miners Ridge Lookout was where Paul Michelson on June 13, 2015, became the second completer of what is informally known as the "standing Washington lookouts" list. (Craig Willis was the first completer of that list, also in Snohomish County but at Three Fingers Lookout during the previous year.)
Driving DirectionsSTARTING FROM DARRINGTON, WA (Highway 530,, at corner of Seeman Street and Emens Avenue North):
1) Drive north along Highway 530.
2) After approximately 7.4 miles, turn right onto Forest Road 26 (a.k.a. Suiattle River Road).
3) Follow the road until its end at the Suiattle River TH, approximately 22.5 miles from Highway 530.
RouteAlthough eastern approaches to Miners Ridge are possible, they are much longer and less commonly done. The shortest, most common, and most recommended route is from the west, and described below:
1) Starting at the Suiattle River TH (Elevation: 1592'), hike east along the Suiattle River Trail.
2) After approximately 10.8 miles, turn left onto Trail #785 (Miners Ridge Trail) towards Miners Ridge and Image Lake. Elevation: 2800'
3) After 2.5 miles (Elevation: 4800'), turn left at a trail junction. Do this to remain on Miners Ridge Trail towards the top of Miners Ridge and Image Lake.
NOTE: Continuing straight would begin Trail #795 (Miners Cabin Trail). Miners Cabin Trail connects with the eastern end of Miners Ridge Trail after 2.1 miles. The distance from the western junction of Trails 785/795 to the Image Lake backcountry camp is the same regardless if heading up the west end of Miners Ridge Trail or east end via Trails #795 & #785. However, the much more popular route is up the western end, as it has the shortest approach to Miners Ridge Lookout, Point 6758, and Image Lake. But if staying overnight with camping near Image Lake, the hiking distances involved make for a feasible Trails 785/795 loop.
4) After 2.2 miles from turning left at the Trails 785/795 junction, and after passing through steep forest and meadows, reach the top ridgeline (Elevation: 6000') of Miners Ridge.
5) Turn left onto Miners Ridge Trail, hiking 0.2 miles to the lookout site.
6) From Miners Ridge Lookout, head back east along Miners Ridge Trail.
7) The western end of Image Lake (Elevation: 6056') is reached after approximately one mile.
8) To reach Point 6758, hike a trail around the north side of Image Lake. a spur trail leads further north and away from the lake. When the trail reaches the ridgetop above, turn left onto a path and follow it towards the summit of Point 6758. Some minor use of hands might be necessary, and the trail disappears halfway to the summit. An alternative approach from the lake is to go up steep, open meadow slopes, with some minor detours.
9) Once back at Image Lake, continue hiking to its eastern end.
10) After passing by the lake, the Image Lake backcountry camping area is located approximately 0.25 miles further east. A horse camp named "Lady Camp" is located another 1.2 miles further east from the backcountry camp.
APPROXIMATE HIKING STATISTICS (one-way):
-> From Suiattle River TH to Miners Ridge Lookout: 15.7 miles with 5000' cumulative gain (with ups and downs on Suiattle River Trail).
-> From Miners Ridge Lookout to Miners Ridge Point 6758: 1.8 miles with 800' cumulative gain (with ups and downs on Miners Ridge Trail).
Red TapeNo camping is allowed at Image Lake. Designated backcountry campsites are located approximately 0.25 miles further east, and include individual campsites as well as group campsites.
An equestrian campsite is also available, located approximately 1.2 miles up a hill and further east from the hiking campsite.
A Northwest Forest Pass (parking pass) is required to park at Suiattle River TH.
When to ClimbMiners Ridge and/or Miners Ridge Lookout can be most commonly and best recommended during Summer and Autumn months. However, it might be possible to visit these areas during Spring and Winter months if little-to-no snowpack is present. The Miners Ridge Trail crosses a very steep, open slope prior to reaching the ridgetop east of Miners Ridge Lookout, and that open slope might be prone to snowslides during poor snow conditions.
CampingNo camping is allowed at Image Lake. The closest designated backcountry campsites are located approximately 0.25 miles further east, and include individual campsites as well as group campsites.
An equestrian campsite named "Lady Camp" is located approximately 1.2 miles up a hill and further east from the hiking campsite.
Several backcountry campsites can be found along Suiattle River Trail, most notably at Canyon Creek Bridge. Numerous campsites can be found on either side of the bridge; on the west side of the creek are larger sites while on the east side of the creek are small, more isolated sites.
The nearest maintained, official campground is Sulphur Creek Campground located a short distance west of (prior to) the Suiattle River TH.