Fawn Peak is a mid-elevation peak located in the North Cascades of Washington. Fawn Peak is perhaps most notable for being one of the 200 most prominent mountains in Washington, ranking #158 on that list with a clean prominence of 1897'. But compared to many nearby mountains, Fawn Peak is often overlooked and overshadowed by taller peaks nearby. This is unfortunate in some respects, as its close proximity to a major highway (Highway 20) and community (Mazama), its fantastic 360-Degree summit views, and its straightforward and non-technical ascent route, makes Fawn Peak a viable option for many months each year.
Fawn Peak has fantastic views of much more popular destinations. Methow Valley dominates lower-elevation views to the south, southwest, and west. Goat Peak, which has a fire lookout on its summit, is located only 3.5 miles to the west and its summit lookout tower can be seen from Fawn Peak.
Goat Peak (left) and Robinson Mountain (right)
But the most notable peaks within view from the summit of Fawn Peak are some of the top 100 highest Washington mountains. Gardner Mountain and North Gardner Mountain is only 10 miles to the south. Big Craggy Peak is only 10 miles to the north. Silver Star Mountain is only 12 miles to the southwest. Robinson Mountain is only 13 miles to the northwest.
Gardners (left) and Silver Star Mountain (right)
Getting ThereSTARTING FROM THE INTERSECTION OF HIGHWAY 20 & LOST RIVER ROAD (MAZAMA, WA):
1a) Drive eastbound along Highway 20.
2a) After 5.1 miles, turn left (north) onto Goat Creek Road.
3a) After 1.8 miles, shortly after passing Fawn Creek, turn right (north) onto W. Fawn Creek Road.
IMPORTANT: Do not confuse this road with E. Fawn Creek Road, which is only 0.4 miles from the Highway 20/Goat Creek Road intersection.
ALTERNATE DRIVING ROUTE TO W. FAWN CREEK ROAD (FROM SAME STARTING LOCATION):
1b) Drive northbound along Lost River Road.
2b) After 0.4 miles, turn right (east) onto Goat Creek Road.
3b) After 3.4 miles, turn left (north) onto W. Fawn Creek Road.
4) Follow W. Fawn Creek Road.
IMPORTANT: After the first mile of W. Fawn Creek Road, the road name changes to Road 100 (shown on some maps as Road 5217-100).
5) After 3.0 miles, veer left onto Road 300.
6) After 1.5 miles, park at a saddle (prior to where the road goes downhill). There is a small area on the right (north) side of the road for parking, near a forested meadow.
NOTES ABOUT THE ROADS:
1) Highway 20, Lost River Road, and Goat Creek Road are paved roads.
2) W. Fawn Creek Road, Road 100, and Road 300 are dirt & gravel roads.
3) W. Fawn Creek Road and Road 100 are currently drivable for most street-legal vehicles until the Road 300 junction.
4) W. Fawk Creek Road, Road 100, and Road 300 are closed to vehicles every Winter season through April (or possibly longer during high-snow seasons).
5) Road 300 may or may not be drivable for 2WD passenger vehicles. Every year, there are several seasonal stream drainages which cross the road and create mounds which might require at least medium ground clearance to pass across.
Standard Hiking RouteSTARTING FROM THE SADDLE (4230' elevation) OF ROAD 300:
1) Begin hiking north-northeast, across an open, flat, forested meadow.
Meadow Near Saddle/Parking Area
2) A slope is reached within a few minutes. Ascend the hill. This marks the beginning of the south ridge of Fawn Peak.
3) Continue following the ridgetop, generally northbound.
Following The Ridgetop...
Ascending Steep Slope...
4) A hilltop is reached at Point 5986, approximately 1.5 miles from the starting saddle location. Some people consider Point 5986 as a "false summit" of Fawn Peak. However, the true summit is still approximately 0.8 miles further northeast along the ridgeline.
Point 5986, with Fawn Peak in Background
5) After Point 5986, drop down a short steep slope to a flat section until reaching a well-defined saddle. The lowest saddle (approximately 5850' elevation) between Point 5986 and Fawn Peak is a small trough-like dip in the ridge.
Flat Ridge Section Between Point 5986 and Fawn Peak
6) After crossing the trough-like saddle, the final 700' ascent is a steep slope through semi-open forest to the open summit (6577' elevation).
Fawn Peak Summit
NOTES ABOUT THE HIKING ROUTE:
1) The south ridge of Fawn Peak is not linear; it bends a couple of times. Occasionally, trees will block views of the ridgeline, so keeping a GPS track log (or waypoints) might help some people stay on course.
2) The ridgetop never becomes a "knife-edge" and is steep in some areas (with a 4600'-4900' slope being the steepest section). But most of the south ridge is gentle-sloped and has minor bumps.
3) The groundcover is mostly comprised of grasses, weeds, wildflowers, dirt, and small rocks. If you encounter large bushes to push through, then you are definitely not on the south ridgeline of Fawn Peak.
4) The summit is an open area with 360-Degree views. Somebody in the past had made a large pile of rocks at the top.
5) This peak is a walk-up, never requiring the use of hands. However, bringing trekking poles is very helpful on the south ridge approach.
6) It is recommended to save this peak for a sunny day; the fantastic summit views are worth it. However, this non-technical peak would be very straightforward on an otherwise dreary recreational day.
There are currently no parking passes or permits required for the south ridge approach for Fawn Peak.
As mentioned earlier, W. Fawk Creek Road, Road 100, and Road 300 are closed to vehicles every Winter season through April (or possibly longer during high-snow seasons).
When to Climb
Due to the seasonal closure of W. Fawn Creek Road, Road 100, and Road 300 to vehicles, most people attempt Fawn Peak from May through November. However, Winter and snow ascents are definitely possible, albeit from a lower starting location, so this peak can in theory be ascended year-round.
Here are some of the hiking statistics from various starting locations:
STARTING FROM SADDLE ALONG ROAD 300 (STANDARD HIKING ROUTE):
ROUNDTRIP: Approximately 4.6-5.0 miles with 2550' elevation gain.
STARTING FROM ROAD 100/ROAD 300 INTERSECTION:
ROUNDTRIP: Approximately 8.0 miles with 3300' elevation gain. This includes three miles roundtrip of road-walking.
STARTING FROM W. FAWN CREEK ROAD/GOAT CREEK ROAD INTERSECTION:
ROUNDTRIP: Approximately 14.0 miles with 4650' elevation gain. This includes nine miles roundtrip of road-walking.
It is also possible to approach Fawn Peak from Rendevous Mountain, located southeast of Fawn Peak along a different ridgeline than the south ridge. However, that approach would involve more hiking distance and elevation gain.
Fawn Peak is located within Okanogan National Forest. Backcountry camping is allowed.
The nearest established campground is Early Winters Campground, located along Highway 20 only a few miles west of Mazama.