Slate Peak

Slate Peak, Winthrop: Address, Slate Peak Reviews: 5/5

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One of the highest peaks in the park can be reached by car: a scenic drive to the top of the Olympic mountain range.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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Steve J
Selah1 contribution
Jul 2013 • Family
As with previous reviews, I suggest a stop at the Mazama store on the way up. They make fresh sandwiches that make for nice picnic fodder at the top. The road is decent most of the way and the two times I have gone up have seen sedans at the top. There is indeed a 1/2 mile section of the road that is narrow and cut from a sheer cliff that will put even a seasoned driver on edge....no pun intended. Watch closely over the bank to the left shortly after leaving the narrow section, you will see a cut up dirt covered area just below the road,....the mountain goats hang out here. I have seen them both times I have gone up and they are hams for the camera, also watch the alpine bowls/fields as you continue up the high valley (to the left), we saw a beautiful big bear on our first trip. Once you reach the forest service cabin you take a right to continue up towards the tower, this is the last leg of the drive to the top. You go thru several switchbacks to end at a gate. The road bed continues to the tower, which can be seen from the gate but you must walk the last 1/4 mile and although it's a road bed it's steady up hill and we had to stop a few times to catch our breath....remember, the air is a bit thin this high up. The top of the mountian was blown (dynamite) off by the military to make a platform for a radar station listening for migs and bombers during WWII, etc. In it's place now stands a fire watch tower which is the same height as the mountain used to be. The tower stairs are blocked off and it is posted as not safe but you can get up them with minimal effort if your gut will take it. It goes without saying that the views are amazing and it's an experience you won't soon forget.......Go late summer.....we went in early July the first time and got stopped by a snow drift just after the cabin and never saw the tower. On our second trip (7/31/13) all was clear. Oh and the horse flies like to bite as there isn't much food that high up...I'm still nursing a big bump on my head so be ready. My Gazetter says this is the highest drive in the state....Enjoy!
Written August 9, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

darkswede218
Fall City, WA331 contributions
Aug 2015 • Family
HINT: start early in the morning to avoid parking issues up top. Make sure to top off your gas tank and use the bathroom in Mazama.

If you have a passenger vehicle with 'normal' ground clearance, avoid this drive. Even low Subarus like Imprezas or Legacy's should avoid this drive. You'll need higher vehicle clearance for the primitive road conditions. Normal SUV or Subaru Outback is sufficient.

Also, the road is VERY exposed. There are no guard rails. If your tires slip off the shoulder, you and your car might go rolling for hundreds of feet down a steep boulder field. Some long or narrow grades may not have a good pullout for hundreds of yards. You should be comfortable backing your car for long distances on a primitive road. AND you passengers should be comfortable with steep precipices outside the window and confident on the driver's abilities. Otherwise there will be undue stress and hate & discontent in the car.

But the view at the top is breathtaking. The surrounding peaks of the North Cascades are not up close and personal but the they are all around you. You can see into Canada. Bring water and food. Bring binoculars and telephoto lenses. Go to the bathroom at Mazama and top off your gas tank. The long slow grind up sucks your gas tank dry. This is a remote location suitable for off-road RV'ers.

If you have heart or lung issues like angina, COPD, emphysema or the like you should be warned that you will gain serious altitude and some sea-level people may be short of breath at the top. The air gets a little thin up top. The road ends at the Slate Peak lookout at about 7,500 ft (2,300 m).

Written February 21, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ted S
San Jose, CA89 contributions
Jun 2015 • Solo
If you're a physically fit mountain biker who can climb 5000 feet, you're in for a treat. Ride from the Methow Valley floor near Mazama to the Slate Peak summit at 7488 feet on a well-mainted Forest Service dirt road.

Between the floor (~2500') and Harts Pass (6198') you're slogging up a hill with only glimpses of what's to come. Once you leave Harts Pass, the scenery opens up and the views of the North Cascades and the Pasayten Wilderness are incomparable. I've seen plenty of pictures of Nepal and think even veteran trekkers there would be impressed by the Slate Peak climb. No singletrack, just 15 miles of dirt road, but exceedingly well worth it.

Of course most people will do this in a motor vehicle. You can do it in a two-wheel-drive car, but it will be challenging in places. There is a locked gate 1/3 mile before the Slate Peak summit and if you drive you will have to walk up that.
Written June 30, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

PLCallo
Woodinville, Washington, United States70 contributions
Aug 2013 • Family
Slate Peak itself is not all that spectacular, but the drive up the Hart's Pass road is amazing and the meadows near the parking lot are full of wildflowers. It's a great, easy way to access the alpine high country - maybe the easiest way in Washington.

Drive up on a sunny day and spend the afternoon wandering the alpine meadows and smelling the flowers. No better way to spend the day.
Written August 26, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Stewart W
Olympia, WA21 contributions
Aug 2013 • Couples
Slate peak is a good drive from Winthrop. You drive up the mountain to a Forest Service lookout a the top of a peak. It is dirt road and rocky most of the way, so take it slow, however the roads are ok and someone took a Prius up there. I was glad to have my F150. Once at the top where the road ends, its a short climb to the lookout. You can do it in tennis shoes, nothing difficult, but steep. From the lookout you have a 360 degree amazing view of all the great peaks of the Cascades. Go on a clear day, you won't regret it.
Written August 23, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

western u
Marysville, WA877 contributions
May 2012 • Couples
Supposedly this is the highest road in Washington State. The drive up to Hart's Pass is bumpy and not for the feint of heart. There is a narrow stretch that looks like a clip from a Discovery TV show about roads in Bolivia (except the fatal fall from the cliff will be a lot less than in Bolivia.)
Written November 1, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ryanwalkr
Tri-Cities, WA43 contributions
Aug 2019
Went 8/4/19, and feel I should give some hints and tips for those interested.

For us, it took us a good hour to hour and half from Mazama store to the peak, simply because the road was in bad shape, and we wanted to be careful to the SUV. There were enormous ruts, and it is very rocky. If you have a nice car and care a lot about it, consider a rental, if you don't care too much, feel free to drive as fast as you want, but be warned.

The one bad thing about the road is when you meet another car going in the opposite direction, it can be frustrating to maneuver when you're on the edge of an almost cliff so to speak. This also adds time to the journey. We went on a Sunday fairly early, and there were some cars, much more cars passing us on the way down though.

It's unbelievable up top, but a shame that you spend a good hour, hour and half, and don't spend too much time up top. We spent about 30-45 minutes here before heading down. We got super lucky and was a blue sky day, I know this must be rare.

We actually had trekking poles, but didn't use them; if going back we would use them in a heartbeat, it is a pretty steep hill you must climb when arriving.

Feel free to message me for any questions.

If given the choice to travel and conquer the most dangerous, and highest road in all of Washington, go for it!
Written August 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

waterworld40
Bellevue, WA29 contributions
Sep 2016 • Friends
If you are not afraid of exposure and dirt roads take this drive to what feels like the top of the world!
Written September 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sarah A
Lynnwood, WA24 contributions
Jul 2015
After an aborted attempt several years ago due to poor road conditions not surpassable by my VW Jetta, my husband and I were finally able to make this drive this year. The road condition was much improved. It is a long, windy road to the top with some harrowing moments due to the sleep cliffs that are very near at certain points, but it is all completely worth it when you get to Slate Peak. We read that it is 1/2 a mile from the parking area to the top of Slate Peak, but it seems a bit shorter than that. The views are breath-taking and should not be missed.
Written July 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Stephanie H
Seattle, WA9 contributions
Sep 2012 • Family
This drive up the mountain is totally worth it. Beautiful scenery. There is also some kind of tower that was used in war or something up there. It's interesting. Fun place to drive up to but be careful it gets steep and narrow. We have a Subaru Forrester and I am 28 yr old female and drove our family up there. It takes about 30 min. up but it's beautiful. It definitely isn't just a quick trip up and back. There are signs up there to tell you what you are looking at. It's a must see. And make sure to go in the Mazama store. Such a cute little store. Tons of natural products.
Written September 2, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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