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Readers' Choice Northwest: Golden Larches – Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA

See this deciduous pine turn electric-yellow.

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Golden Larches – Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA | Wahtum Lake, OR | Lost River Range, ID | South Spur, Mt. Adams, WA | Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier NP, WA | North Cascades NP, WA


Surprise! The Pacific Northwest has pilgrimage-worthy leaf-peeping, too: larch trees. Although deciduous, the larch produces coniferlike needles and cones; the needles change to a brilliant yellow in October and alpine basins glow with the gold.

“The larches are the next best thing to New England hardwoods when it comes to autumn foliage,” raves New Hampshire native Craig Romano. The trek nonpareil for larch madness is the rugged, 24.4-mile out-and-back to Chiwaukum and Larch Lakes. Both are ringed by larches and sit within spectacular cirques below the Chiwaukum Mountains.


PLAN IT

Driving From US 2, 25.8 miles east of Stevens Pass and one mile west of Tumwater Campground, turn south on Chiwaukum Creek Rd. Bear right at the first fork to reach the trailhead.

Map Green Trails Chiwaukum Mts. and Leavenworth ($6, greentrailsmaps.com)

Contact (509) 548-2550, fs.fed.us/r6/wenatchee

Trip ID250649