Glacier Peak Wilderness: Mount David

Climb to dizzying views of the Glacier Peak Wilderness on this strenuous, 13.5-mile trek that traces a knife-edge ridge and ascends the rocky summit of Mount David.
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Climb to dizzying views of the Glacier Peak Wilderness on this strenuous, 13.5-mile trek that traces a knife-edge ridge and ascends the rocky summit of Mount David.

This challenging, 13.5-mile summit trek combines a thrilling, ridgetop walk with dizzying views of the Glacier Peak Wilderness. From the trailhead, cross the White River on a steel bridge, then turn left onto Panther Creek Trail. After a mile warm-up on flat land, begin a stiff, 3-mile ascent (gaining 3,000 feet) through a mixed forest of fir and pines. Look for woodpeckers, thrushes, and brown creepers in the upper reaches of the forest.
Crest the ridgetop at mile 4.1 and head northwest—Mount David makes its first appearance half a mile later. Wildlife sightings are a common sight along the ridge: raptors soar in the ridge updrafts and black bears lumber through the valleys below. After 5.7 miles, the route follows a knife-edge ridge with views of the White River Valley, Poe Mountain, and Whittier Peak. Less than a mile later, the final stretch to the summit begins. Maneuver up a late season snow field, then tackle an exposed, rocky stretch to Mount David’s summit. Savor the remote and breathtaking vistas that extend in every direction before beginning the return trip to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Alan Bauer, Alan Bauer Photography

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 21.7

Waypoints

DAV001

Location: 47.962296, -120.944761

Leave the trailhead and immediately cross the White River. About 50 feet past the bridge, turn left at the junction onto Panther Creek Trail. (Indian Creek Trail continue straight ahead.)

DAV002

Location: 47.953068, -120.940865

Stay right at the junction. The trail on the left goes to an overlook above the White River.

DAV003

Location: 47.9506659, -120.941534

Cross a creek, then keep right at Y-junction. In late September, this creek may be your last water source for the entire trip. Ahead, Mount David Trail gains 1,000 feet of elevation in 1 mile.

DAV004

Location: 47.94771, -120.95274

Stop and catch your breath midway up the climb, then prepare for more intense climbing ahead.

DAV005

Location: 47.94587, -120.958981

After a bend in the trail, enjoy the first real view up the White River Valley. You'll spot more wildflowers and birds in these upper regions of the forest.

DAV006

Location: 47.945131, -120.966797

Crest the ridgetop, then head northwest toward the summit of Mount David. Don't forget to take in the grand views to the northeast of Clark Mountain.

DAV007

Location: 47.9502707, -120.9708023

At mile 4.7, you'll catch the first views of Mount David.

DAV008

Location: 47.951203, -120.973316

Stay left at the unmarked Y-junction.

DAV009

Location: 47.9573267, -120.9850073

Check out the 360-degree view from this knife-edge ridge; keep an eye out for marmots, raptors, and bears. Ahead: Tackle a steep, winding, and rocky portion of the trail.

DAV010

Location: 47.9601863, -120.9862947

Hike across the pass to the east side of the ridge.

DAV011

Location: 47.962146, -120.988625

This northeast-facing slope often holds snow well into autumn. Use caution when hiking through the snow field, but take advantage of the water source if your water bottles are running low. Marmots make this talus slop their home.

DAV012

Location: 47.962997, -120.989595

Mount David (7,420 ft.): Maneuver up the last few hundred yards to the summit (caution: this stretch is very exposed). Enjoy the views of some of the most remote places in Glacier Peak Wilderness. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.

Views from Mount David

Location: 47.9629953, -120.9894919

Summit views of Indian Creek Valley.