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This trail follows old logging roads built atop long abandoned mining roads used to access the quartz and copper from the Rainy Mine, worked intermittently until 1957. Today the road is lined with second-generation hemlock and cedar, now shouldering out the alder and huckleberry that took over after clear cutting in the 1970s, making for a pleasant—albeit challenging—road hike.
Beginning at the end of Forest Road 56, just before the Taylor River Bridge, veer to the left at a signed juncture pointing toward Quartz Creek along the often muddy and rocky roadbed. The sharply pointed top of Mt. Garfield can be seen to the east, as well as Quartz Mountain across the valley. At roughly two miles a spur veers up to the right toward Rooster Mountain; keep left to continue on to the Blethen Lakes. As the route progresses, the quality of the road/trail progressively degrades. Occasional blowdowns block the trail, and the creek crossings are not bridged, with the exception of a single log that spans one ravine.
The road ends and gives way to real trail at a creek roughly a half-mile from the first lake. Lower Blethen Lake is not overly impressive, but you’re almost guaranteed solitude. To reach the next lake, continue around the lakeshore and up the 500’ pass at the far end to reach Upper Blethen Lake and a close encounter with the craggy top of Bessemer Mountain. Enjoy the splendid isolation, and keep a watchful eye out for wildlife: rabbit, coyote and deer.
Mapped by Nathan & Jeremy Barnes Hiking With My Brother
- Distance: 8.8
Location: 47.56051, -121.532533
Snoqualmie Lake Trail #1002. Park and cross the bridge over the Taylor River to start the hike.
Location: 47.566181, -121.530105
Road Junction; turn left up Quartz Creek Trail #1236.
Location: 47.569499, -121.549863
Trail fork; continue right and uphill. The trail left leads down to Quartz Creek.
Location: 47.571686, -121.554404
Viewpoint and small camping area.
Location: 47.573611, -121.556932
Trail fork; continue left toward Bethlan Lakes. The route leading up goes to Rooster Mountain and beyond.
Location: 47.574372, -121.558848
Bridge out; descend the embankment to the left of the log bridge, cross under it and walk up stream to a 20ft waterfall.
Location: 47.575333, -121.562541
Location: 47.573881, -121.605889
Lower Lake Blethen. The saw blade cliffs of Bessemer Mountain command attention.
Location: 47.568752, -121.610784
Upper Lake Blethen.
Location: 47.560586, -121.532285
Left at Signpost
Location: 47.566233, -121.530225
Location: 47.571662, -121.554451
Looking across the valley to a seasonal waterfall skipping down the mountain side as a lonely cloud floats by.
Location: 47.574267, -121.559043
Location: 47.575194, -121.562347
Location: 47.577655, -121.579299
Lower Lake Blethen
Location: 47.573717, -121.605263
Location: 47.573341, -121.607237
Up the Pass
Location: 47.570214, -121.609211
Top of Pass
Location: 47.568911, -121.610241
Upper Lake Blethen
Location: 47.568622, -121.611099