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