Carne Mountain is an often overlooked mountain on the eastern side of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. The name Carne is not named for the Spanish word for beef, but instead according to Fred Beckey named after an English clergyman. The name is pronounced "carn" and not "carne". (Thank you Luminous Aphid)Though the Phelps Creek Trailhead is often very packed during summer weeekends, Carne is competing for attention with more popular destinations like Mount Maude, Seven Finger Jack and Spider Gap. Though Carne Mountain isn't as popular as the other destinations, it's summit does deserve attention. The 10 mile, 3600 foot elevation gain, YDS Class 1 walk up leads to some excellent 360 degree views of Mount Maude, Glacier Peak and many, many other mountains in the region. On a clear day you can even spot Rainier to the south.
Carne Mountain is a great hike destination between July and October. The trail usually is snow-free by July and requires nothing more than the hiker ten essentials and the optional but very helpful trekking poles. The trail is in decent shape as of August 2009 and is very easy to follow from the beginning to the end. In August the huckleberry bushes along the trail become ripe and there is a good amount of huckleberries to snack on the way up to the summit. In October this summit is home to a very large amount of larch, which is a needle tree that changes in fall and often is noted in the Pacific Northwest of giving the most vibrant in colors. Those who know of the larch, often travel many miles to see it’s beautiful color in the fall.
Note the larches in the foreground.
The Phelps Creek Trailhead is usually snowed in by November or December so winter or early spring trail is not advised for this mountain. Even when the trailhead opens in mid May or early June ice axes are highly advised for this and any other mountain in the region. After June though this area is home to better weather than the western Cascades. On the day I went for this summit it was rainy in Seattle and I decided to change my plans from a western Cascade Mountain to this summit. I am very glad I did, because the weather here was fantastic and the views were very worthwhile.
Map of the Route
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FROM ROUTE 2: Take Route 207 (15 miles west from Leavenworth) which is the obvious marked road to Lake Wenatchee. Once you go over the steel bridge over the Wenatchee River you will want to veer right at the Y intersection. At about 1.3 miles you want to make a left on the Chiwawa River Road. Take the road 24 miles (much of it will become a dirt road) to the Phelps Creek Trailhead.
The Phelps Creek Trailhead is home to the Northwest Forest Pass ($5 a day, $30 annual pass). You also must sign in at the trailhead.
Camping can be done off trail, however there are no obvious camping areas up Carne Mountain. If you have to bivy, bivy down at the tarn area. Also there is good camping at Spider Meadows about 5 miles up the from the Carne Mountain trailhead. There is also Larch Knob, 7 miles away up near popular destination Spider Glacier and Gap.
Check out this trip report from NwHikers.net...
Carne Mountain Trip Report
Though a little far away this area will at least give you a more accurate read on temperatures at the base of Carne Mountain.
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