First bike camping of 2009 — North Fork Snoqualmie River

Map of our area, click for a large version

Friday after work Andre, Andrew and I biked up the North Fork of the Snoqualmie River searching for camping spots. None of us had been very far up the river before.

The first section of the road is called 5710 and gives you access to Hancock and Calligan Lakes. It’s a really nice stretch of road with no traffic and good surface conditions. Beyond that we merge back onto 5700 which is more heavily trafficked (this means a car every hour or two) and looser gravel.

We had a few areas to check for camping in mind. There are two valleys that go into the National Forest, Phillipa Creek and Sunday Creek. We didn’t explore Phillipa Creek and Sunday Creek had snow right at the trail head. Across from Sunday Creek was an old road which looked promissing, but it ended at a broken bridge. This would be a decent camp spot most days, but it was a little damp on Friday. We kept heading up the main road until we got stuck in snow at the Lennox Creek turnoff. There was another (loud) group camping here, so we turned back. At this point it was getting dark and we needed to find camp pretty fast.My GPS showed an abandoned road a couple of miles back, so we checked it out.

The road looked like it hadn’t been used in a decade or two. It was very overgrown with shrubs and trees, but we pushed our way through. The area by the river was pretty nice and had an open spot for dinner and some good trees for hanging our hammocks. Andrew found a nice soft spot for his bivy. We made a quick dinner, enjoyed a small fire, and went to bed.

Themorning air was chilly andafter a bit of tea wehit the road and head back to the car.The blue skies of Friday night had been replaced with a low fog. The roads were clear andthe slight downhill trend made our ride back a little faster than the one the day before. At 9:30 we reached the car andwere heading home.

Ilike Friday night camping because you still have a full weekend for other stuff too. I look forward to exploring this area more in a month or two when more of the snow has melted. This would have been a great area last year because the bridge which makes it accessible cars had been washed out. Now it is open again and there is more traffic.

Blue skies and clear roads on Friday evening

Abandoned bridge across from Sunday Creek Trailhead

North Fork around river mile 20

Turning around at the snow

Evening fire and dinner.

Morning view from our campsite.  Not too shabby.

Andrew takes my bike for a spin

Andre fixing a flat on Saturday morning

All Photos


  1. rory says:

    i”m jealous

  2. AlexWetmore says:

    This is not the only bike camping trip of 2009. I”m curious enough to return to this area at least once and explore farther up into the valley.

  3. Rory says:

    I was jealous enough to pull out the map and look for areas within the kittitas area. the problem is its definately not as short a jaunt as this was, but it could offer some different terrain…

  4. AlexWetmore says: is my new favorite tool for looking at maps.

  5. Lee A says:

    Hey Alex,

    Where was the road closed? How far up did you get before you turned around. Can you get via car to the bridge at Lennox Creek?

  6. AlexWetmore says:

    There is a bridge that is “out” at Sunday Creek crossing (around mile 15). You can see a photo of that in Andre’’s pics (linked off of my first comment). People are obviously ignoring it and driving up to Lennox Creek, but that is at your own risk.

    The bridge is functional, but wood and sagging a lot.

  7. Maarten says:

    I tried to get to Sunday Lake once and found a foot-deep swamp across the lower part of the trail. It’’s something to save for late August after a few weeks of little rain, but rumor has it there’’s some nice old growth up that valley.

    The other attraction as you”ve probably noticed on the map is the old fire lookout tower in Sec 5 at the NW corner of the topo map you posted. I”ve been meaning to go check it out for a few years but haven”t gotten to it. There are pictures of it around on the web.

    Lake Hancock is on my list too, actually… seems like a great long climb conditioning ride. Also: Snoqualmie to Sultan traverse.

  8. AlexWetmore says:

    I”m very interested in that fire tower too. It’’s going to have to wait until later in the summer when the snow pack is gone.

    I was thinking of a Snoqualmie to Duvall/Cherry Valley traverse camping one night along the way. Maybe two nights if there are some good looking hikes.

  9. Tami Gleason says:

    I have been up to the bare mountain trail many times but I was wondering if you would know the little mountain in the snoqualmie valley. When I look from the parking garage at the Snoqualmie Casino, level 1, I can see a small mountain in the middle of the Snoqualmie Valley. What is the name of this mountian?

    Thank You,

    Tami Gleason