While this is a fairly short ridge walk (about one mile), it offers some of the best views of the North-central Cascades. Walking along the ridge, you are surrounded by the rocky peaks of the Snoqualmie Crest, with particularly good views of Summit Chief, Chimney Rock, Overcoat Peak, Lemah Mountain, Bear's Breast and Mount Daniel. It provides access to the scramble up Summit Chief Mountain, as well as Summit Chief Lake. This would make for an enjoyable side-trip from the Pacific Crest Trail, or for the more seasoned bush-whacker it can be linked with the Waptus River trail as a route toward Dutch Miller Gap.
This route is accessed via Pacific Crest Trail.
There are numerous possibilities for accessing this portion of the PCT. The easiest access to this route is as follows:
From the Pete Lake trailhead (trail # 1323), hike 5.3 fairly flat miles to junction with trail #1323.2 and turn right. Hike .8 mile to PCT and turn right again. Hike about 3.5 miles up to the top of Escondido ridge, watching for a tarn off to the left of the trail near the top. Swim in the tarn.
From Vista Lakes (small tarns near PCT on Escondido Ridge) leave the PCT and hike northwest past both lakes. Just beyond the second lake, follow the way-trail up the meadow to the ridgecrest. There is an intermittant way-trail that follows the top of this ridge toward Summit Chief Mountain. The best access to Summit Chief Lake is before Summit Chief Pass. Continue along snow and easy rock down to the low point in the ridge (Summit Chief Pass). There is access to the scramble route on Summit Chief Mountain from here.
This area holds snow fairly late in the year but was easily passable by late July in 2006, following an average snow-year. In snow conditions, the slopes on the high route would not necessitate crampons under most conditions, but bring crampons if you plan to go up Summit Chief.