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.
- Distance: 38.0
Burn Creek Footbridge
Location: 47.654352, -121.280091
Nice footbridge built over Burn Creek.
Location: 47.630907, -121.256591
As the trail descends down next to the river, you will see some flat ground for tentsites here.
Location: 47.618799, -121.245377
Massive granite cliffs dominate the skyline here, your first real open views.
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.
Location: 47.60547, -121.258176
This is where the trail relents somewhat through old growth forest to the bridge, a nice break.
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
Location: 47.607927, -121.251599
This clearing is overrun by grasping Vine Maple, that loves to grab your pack and clothes...
Location: 47.568737, -121.214991
Here is the summit of Mt. Hinman. There should be register here, but we did not find it.
Location: 47.664636, -121.288161
Marker for Necklace Valley #1062
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.
Location: 47.619153, -121.245718
Granite cliffs that are the leading edge at the base of Terrace Mt.
Location: 47.612065, -121.243358
Crosses the Foss River here.
Location: 47.605758, -121.257348
First open views up towards Necklace Valley
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.
Location: 47.579826, -121.255717
Several of the shallow lakes here are tinged with orange, probably from high contents of iron.
Location: 47.575049, -121.253271
Small meadows are strung together like little parks, along the trail to Opal Lake.
Location: 47.575657, -121.250782
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.
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