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The hike up to Gothic Basin along the Weden Creek trail has long remained one of my perennial favorites. Most likely because it is the site was my first solo overnight destination and my first solo scramble up Del Campo.
The first section of the trail along the Monte Cristo Road was in excellent shape. So was the new trail to gothic basin established in 2015.
Despite rain falling, the first views of Skykomish peak were fantastic as always.
I thought after my recent hike up to Vesper Lake there was a good chance of encountering substantial snow cover. But Until reaching the are past Kong’s tower, the hike to the gothic basin is snow-free.
In some spots there was around a foot of snow on the ground. The difficult part was that in several sections the trail had frozen into a several inch thick layer of ice. microspikes were definitely a huge help to get through these areas. Without them it does not seem possible to get all the way into the basin this time of year.
Despite the heavy cloud cover and rain of the day, the views inside of the Gothic Basin were as astounding as ever. Del Campo and Gothic Peaks were both covered up but Foggy lake was, well, foggy.
Getting up to Foggy lake was the toughest part of the day. The Snow was of questionable quality everywhere and the rock was all icy. I managed to make it but for the less experienced you may want to enjoy the lower basin for the time being.
It is sad to see so little snow in this basin in mid-June. Normally you can’t get up the Gothic Basin hike until early August. Nonetheless, it was a perfect two days to make the trek. There was sun forecast and I thought I may actually take a dip in Foggy lake. I was also planning to attempt another scramble of Del Campo.
The cleanup underway at the Monte Cristo Townsite has pushed traffic toward this hike. There is always a lot of people along this trail but it was hard to walk sometimes on this trip. Hopefully next year it goes back to normal. Despite the increased traffic we still found an excellent campsite near the lake.
I tried to scramble Del Campo again but tore my injured finger back open. I have a full trail description at the link.
The hike to Gothic Basin is a more a steep rugged climb. Its proximity to the nearby Monte-Cristo townsite limits the number of people that hike up to the basin. So, many will use this as an alternative to the Townsite. Each time I have come here it has solidified its place as one of my favorite destinations in Washington.
With ample places to camp and side trips to two peaks available, it makes for a great one night escape from life. Make sure to start early as the trail is largely exposed to the sun for the majority of the day.
To get to the basin, follow the Monte-Cristo road until just before the log crossing of Weden Creek. At this point follow the Weden Creek trail as it winds alongside Weden creek. After about a half-mile or so the trail starts to climb with urgency as it switchbacks upward. This part will feel like an eternity and is where many people give up. You will gain 1300 feet in a little over a mile.
*****Since the trail renovations during 2013 and 2014, there is now a path that leads directly away from Monte Cristo road. There is an obvious sign on your right about 1 mile in. No need to walk to the river anymore.
After the first steep climb, you exit the woods your reward is an up-close view of Skykomish peak. You will also encounter the first of three creek crossings. Depending on the time of year you hike Gothic Basin the creek crossings will vary. I have seen them be everything from snowfields to trickling creeks. WTA almost always has fresh trip reports for the trail.
For the last 4 years I have visited the basin each year. I have found the easiest time to get into the basin is usually after July 1st. It will limit severe creek crossings and snowfields. By mid-July the trail is almost always snow-free. Past the creek crossings the trail continues to wind along the side of Del Campo as it gains elevation.
After about 3 miles you will reach a magnificent waterfall formation named Kong’s Tower. I am not sure how it got its name, but never the less it makes an excellent spot to stop.
From here it is around 1 mile of steep climbing into the basin below Gothic Peak. When you first enter the basin there is a small pond.
Follow the scramble route that goes around to the left, it will take you to foggy lake. It is another 300 feet of elevation gain, but, this is where the best camping is for an overnight trip.
If you feel the courage, and have the skill, try out the scramble route up Del Campo as an excellent side trip.