Seattle, WA: Index Town Wall

This short but challenging 1.3-mile route climbs 1,300' above an old mining quarry to a scenic viewpoint high above the small town of Index, WA.
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This short but challenging 1.3-mile route climbs 1,300' above an old mining quarry to a scenic viewpoint high above the small town of Index, WA.

The Index Town Wall began to be known as a climbing area in the late 1950s, and by early 1960s many routes had been hammered into the cliffs. Over the years the cliffs become one of the most popular and easily accessible climbing features in Washington. A large parking area is a quarter mile outside of town to the west. There are a number of names for this road, which depending on your map, might be noted as “Ave. A,” “Old Gold Bar-Index Road,” or “Reiter Road.” It is the only road leading downstream from Index, so should not be too hard to find.

Take the obvious trail up to the railroad tracks, cross, and avoid being lured toward the prominent sign to the left. Instead, head right and follow the tracks for a couple hundred yards to a road turning toward the wall. Follow this to a clearing at a set of white doors closing off an old mining tunnel. From here, head right into the trees to find the trail and start switchbacking up through the young forest, always choosing the path that continues uphill.

The route is a steady upward slog the entire way to the top of the cliffs. The bootpath spills out onto an old forest road at the Forks of the Sky State Park boundary. Head to the right to get to the views you’ve been climbing for. The main viewpoint is likely to be occupied, so push past along the faint network of climbers’ trails to find suitable solitude. With the tiny town of Index far below, Mt. Index and Baring Mountain dominate the southern skyline, and you can make out Gunn Peak and Merchant Peak to the east.

Mapped by Nathan & Jeremy Barnes Hiking With My Brother

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 2.1

Waypoints

IND001

Location: 47.817636, -121.57125

From the gravel parking lot, head up the path toward the railroad tracks.

IND002

Location: 47.817839, -121.571798

Cross the railroad tracks, turn right and follow the gravel road paralleling the tracks.

IND003

Location: 47.819471, -121.569051

Drilling test site, and small camping area.

IND004

Location: 47.819012, -121.568069

The climber's trail heads up to the north.

IND005

Location: 47.821327, -121.567664

Trail junction; turn right. Left leads to climbing area.

IND006

Location: 47.821727, -121.567326

Trail junction; turn left to continue to the top. Right leads to the bottom of the cliffs.

IND007

Location: 47.822671, -121.569192

A short path leads to a viewpoint.

IND008

Location: 47.82355, -121.568946

Trail ends at a road fenced with a park boundary sign. Turn right, cross over the fence, and continue up the road.

IND009

Location: 47.823524, -121.56738

Road ends in a small clearing. This is the main overlook on top of Index Town Wall

IND010

Location: 47.824043, -121.565807

Another small overlook.

Tracks and Mt. Persis

Location: 47.818068, -121.57107

Camp and Drilling Site

Location: 47.819386, -121.569042

Wall and Trail

Location: 47.819278, -121.568034

Signpost

Location: 47.823565, -121.568828

On the Ledge

Location: 47.823514, -121.56739

Hanging out on the ledge of Index Town Wall. Mt. Index and Mt. Persis are across the valley.

Index View

Location: 47.823532, -121.567326

Straight Down

Location: 47.824033, -121.56577