Necklace Valley

The Necklace Valley is full of small sub alpine lakes, in a remote section of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Spend a few days wandering the variety of lakes, or for more adventure, peak bag nearby Mt. Hinman and Mt. Daniel.
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The Necklace Valley is full of small sub alpine lakes, in a remote section of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Spend a few days wandering the variety of lakes, or for more adventure, peak bag nearby Mt. Hinman and Mt. Daniel.

The Necklace Valley is named for this set of lakes closely linked together, like precious gems on a chain, and the names, like Locket, Jade, Emerald, and Opal give clues as to the way the waters here sparkle in the sun.
You begin your quest for these waters that sparkle like jewels at the Necklace Valley trailhead, #102, appx. 4.1 miles up FSRD #68, just east of the Skykomish Ranger Station. The trail begins easily, as it starts on an old railroad grade for the first 1.5 miles, the only clues as to its past, is the flat bench the trail meanders on through second growth timber. Along the trail you’ll see the ghosts of giants past, large cedar stumps with springboard notches chopped in the massive trunks. The path is easy to follow, as it is well maintained and soft underfoot from all of the falling needles from the massive old growth interspersed among the newer second growth timber, large fir and cedars rise above the canopy, some of them massive in girth. The trail follows the banks of the East Fork Foss River closely from about 3.1 miles, where you will see a campsite overlooking the river. The trail continues through close in forest until you reach a clearing at around 4.26 miles in, below a massive and sheer granite face that causes you to crane your neck upward to see its top. The trail here winds around large car sized boulders that have broken off the cliffs. In another quarter mile, you will see a nice campsite, complete with a toilet in a bend in the river, at 4.5 miles in. Then, at 5 miles, you will reach the end of the rolling flat trail, as it cuts across the river here. The original bridge has no doubt been washed out, and there is now a large tree that has fallen across the river to use as your way across. Once over the river, the trail heads up through a large boulder field, look for cairns and surveyors ribbon if the way is not obvious. Now, you will begin a steep upward climb, over 2400ft in 2.7 miles to the first lake, through rough terrain, large boulders to step up and over, tree roots, and all manner of obstacle. From here on, the trail is not well maintained, and it appears it would be difficult to, as water from melting snow rushes from the upper reaches of the valley downhill to join the Foss River. The beginning of the trail is in the open, crowded by brush and vine maple, and then occasionally, you will enter a copse of trees, and small stretches of flat trail, to give you a short reprieve from the constant up. At the 5.7 mile point, you will hit the biggest of the vine maple clumps, and get a view of a large unnamed peak to the east. At mile 6.1, the trail finally enters tree line and you get a nice forest walk, and the stream that the trail now follows to the lakes above is now a rushing torrent, roaring over small falls and jumbled granite as it races downhill to feed the Foss. The forest walk continues uphill gradually, to 6.78 miles to a nice footbridge, with a memorial marker, dedicated to the memory of Michael Nesby, originally built in 1973 by the Trailblazers in his honor. From the bridge, it’s another mile of grueling uphill over terrain intent on tripping you up, with lots of high stepping to gain a good foothold over, and around large boulders, mud, and tree roots. You reach the first of the Necklace Valley lakes at 7.74 miles, and it’s a beauty. It’s surrounded by granite cliffs on either side, and the trail keeps to the eastern shore, hugging the granite that contains the lake. In the distance, you can see granite peaks above the tree line, giving you a first glimpse of the rugged chain of peaks that surround the Necklace Valley. From Jade Lake, you soon will come to the Log Shelter, built in the 1950s, that is a shelter of only last resort, as it’s in disrepair. The trail continues through the Necklace Valley, a string of small meadows between the lakes stretches all the way to the far end of Opal Lake at 9 miles in, before surrendering to shattered granite, calved off the sheer granite cliffs at the end of the valley. You could spend days here, wandering from lake to lake, and, if you are an experienced off route scrambler/climber, you can scale the peaks of nearby Mt. Hinman, and Mt. Daniel, the route is included here for those that are experienced scramblers only, as the couloir that leads to La Bohn Lakes is usually filled with snow/ice and can be a 40 degree slope, sometimes steeper when snow fills the gap.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 38.0

Waypoints

Burn Creek Footbridge

Location: 47.654352, -121.280091

Nice footbridge built over Burn Creek.

first Campsites

Location: 47.630907, -121.256591

As the trail descends down next to the river, you will see some flat ground for tentsites here.

Granite Cliffs

Location: 47.618799, -121.245377

Massive granite cliffs dominate the skyline here, your first real open views.

logbridge

Location: 47.618064, -121.245086

ist of several log bridges built over river.

4.5 mile camp

Location: 47.614377, -121.245105

Another nice campsite, with spots for several tents, and a toilet

Large log bridge

Location: 47.612136, -121.243837

Another log bridge crossing over the river here.

fallen tree bridge

Location: 47.611237, -121.244227

Cross the river on this large fallen tree, and head straight up through the boulder field.

Forest walk

Location: 47.60547, -121.258176

This is where the trail relents somewhat through old growth forest to the bridge, a nice break.

Nesby Bridge

Location: 47.597531, -121.263876

Another well built bridge, built as a memorial to M. Nesby. look for plaque on rock.

Necklace Valley shelter

Location: 47.580276, -121.256664

dilapidated log shelter, built in the 50's

Vine Maples

Location: 47.607927, -121.251599

This clearing is overrun by grasping Vine Maple, that loves to grab your pack and clothes...

Mt. Hinman

Location: 47.568737, -121.214991

Here is the summit of Mt. Hinman. There should be register here, but we did not find it.

Trailhead

Location: 47.664636, -121.288161

Marker for Necklace Valley #1062

Forest walk

Location: 47.661803, -121.285672

Beginning section is over an old railroad grade, now obscure except for the flat bench cut out of the hillside.

Granite Cliffs

Location: 47.619153, -121.245718

Granite cliffs that are the leading edge at the base of Terrace Mt.

Log Crossing

Location: 47.612065, -121.243358

Crosses the Foss River here.

First views

Location: 47.605758, -121.257348

First open views up towards Necklace Valley

Jade Lake

Location: 47.586165, -121.258249

Beautiful Jade lake with La Bohn Peak in the distance.

Necklace Valley Shelter

Location: 47.58026, -121.256533

Log shelter built in the 50's.

Emerald Lake

Location: 47.579826, -121.255717

Several of the shallow lakes here are tinged with orange, probably from high contents of iron.

Necklace Valley

Location: 47.575049, -121.253271

Small meadows are strung together like little parks, along the trail to Opal Lake.

Cloudy Lake

Location: 47.575657, -121.250782

Summit Chief

Location: 47.563786, -121.240311

Chimneys on Summit Chief

View from Hinman Glacier

Location: 47.566363, -121.228638

On the way to Mt. Hinman, you have spectacular views all around. This is north towards Glacier Peak, and Mt. Baker.

Mt. Hinman summit views

Location: 47.568593, -121.214604

Views from the top of Mt. Hinman cairn, looking towards Mt. Rainier, with Summit Chief in the fore.

La Bohn Lakes

Location: 47.564944, -121.231771

Still frozen over, the ice blue waters outline the edge of the lakes.

Opal Lake

Location: 47.576786, -121.2534

Near it's outlet, looking south towards La

La Bohn Peak

Location: 47.574847, -121.250739

Seen from the campsite between Cloudy Lake and Opal Lake