Hex Mountain via Trail 1343
This is a popular Snowshoe or winter hike to Hex Mountain near Cle Elum in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The trail begins following old logging roads through Nature Conservancy land. Follow FR-116, this is easy on busier days because there will be many tracks. The road climbs at a steady grade and weaves up to the old trailhead sign “HEX MNT. TR. NO. 1343” at about 1.75 miles. This is where the hike becomes more serious as the trail begins climbing straight up the ridge line. Use caution through the rest of the climb as wildfires have left this area full of standing snags. About a half a mile later you will cross another road and continue straight up the ridge. As you crest the ridgeline, you join the Sasse Mountain Trail which runs for miles all the way to Sasse Mountain to the north. Turn right and continue straight for about .25 miles to the highest point you can see. With snowshoes its fairly easy to just walk straight up to the high point, but if you continue around the west side of the hill, a more gradual route exists. Enjoy views of lake Cle Elum and the surrounding forest. On a clear day you can see many other peaks to the north. Look east and down into the west fork Teanaway valley to see the core of the the 2017 Jolly Mountain fire. In the summer you can follow the ridgeline down to Corral Creek to the south. Exercise caution along the fragile serpentinite slopes, rare and fragile plants (Chaenactis thompsonii or Thompson’s pincushion) clings to the loose dry soils so please stay on the trails!
This trail goes by Lake Cle Elum.
Finding the trailhead can prove challenging. After you pass Roslyn continue down State Route 903. The parking area is about 1.5 miles past the Last Resort. Some parking can be found at the base of FR-116 but the snow can make this area unreachable. Park at a small pullout on the west side of the road just after the fire station but before Newport Creek. Walk north down the road until you reach FR-116. You should see a yellow gate just up the hill and a sign from the Nature Conservancy. There are several other small roads in this area so make sure you find the gate.
This is a challenging hike through recently burned forest. Children could easily manage the first 1.75 miles along the roads, but caution should be taken when entering the burned area.
Sights to See
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