Washington Peak is an easy class 2 climb. It is situated in the White Cloud Mountains near Champion Lakes. It can be climbed in a day or combined with an overnight trip to the lakes. There are three different approaches that all lead to the south saddle. From the saddle there is a nice "goat" trail that leads up the south ridge to the summit. The summit provides great views of Castle Peak, Six Lakes Basin, the Sawtooth Range, and Champion Lakes.
#1: Champion Lakes Trailhead. To reach the trailhead, drive approximately 36 miles north of Ketchum on Highway 75 or about 25 miles south of Stanley on Highway 75. Turn east on Pole Creek road. Go 2.4 miles to a junction with Valley Road. Proceed right on Pole Creek/Germania Creek road. Go 8.3 miles up and over Pole Creek Summit (8,400 ft) to the Champion Lakes trailhead. The road gets rougher as you go and a 4wd is recommended.
#2: Washington Basin. To reach Washington Basin, drive two miles past Champion Lakes TH to the end of the road at Three Cabins Creek. Turn left on the Washington Basin jeep trail. From here it is about 4 miles to Washington Basin. A 4wd is needed for the jeep trail. I haven't been on this road since 2000, there is a chance that it is even worse now. Take your chances with this road.
#1: From the Champion Lakes TH, follow the trail as it climbs about 1,000 ft to the saddle overlooking Champion Lakes. From here you have two options to reach Washington's south saddle between Champion Lakes and Washington Basin: you can traverse east on a class 2 ridge (3 miles from TH to peak), or you can take the trail that drops down 900 ft to the lakes and then follow the trail back up 900 ft to the saddle (3.75 miles from TH to peak).
#2: From Washington Basin follow the trail to Champion Lakes (not the trail over Croesus Peak to Germania Basin). The trail climbs steeply to the saddle in .5 mile and reaches the summit in about 1 mile. Add mileage if your vehicle can't make it all the way to the end of the road.
Both routes lead to the saddle between Washington Basin and Champion Lakes. Follow the "goat" trail up the ridge to the summit. The "goat" trail climbs about 450 ft in .5 mile on open terrain to the summit. There is plenty of room on the summit to stretch out and enjoy the views.
Parking is free. No permits required. Just sign in at the trail register when you arrive and depart. Pole Creek Road is not plowed in the winter.
There are numerous campsites on Pole Creek road, most of which are along the creek. If you want to backpack in, there are some nice campsites at Champion Lakes.
External LinksNational Forest News
Boulder White Clouds Council