BR1 - Boulder Lake to Appleton Pass

This entire route is scenic and alpine, with less than 5 miles of off-trail travel. Since both ends of the route join trails from the Boulder Creek trailhead, this makes an excellent loop hike of 18 miles - 13 miles on trail and 5 miles cross-country - which can be done in 2 days, or it can be done in a single day from the road by strong hikers. 

On the south end, this traverse can be linked with BR2 (Appleton Pass to Cat Basin). See the published Climbers Guide for detailed approach information.


From Boulder Lake follow a way trail that contours at 4500 ft. S to Lower Three Horse Lake.  Continue up the drainage a short distance W of lower Three Horse Lake.  Look for a way trail beginning near a large rock, ascending the E side of the gully that drains the basin W of Everett Peak. Hike on trail into this basin. From the pass in the ridge joining Everett Peak with the main ridge, descend SE through meadows on trail to Blue Lake.

From here, the route is S again, on the flat ridge just E of Blue Lake. Follow the ridge S into another basin where scenic (really!) Mud Lake  lies under the N face of Mt. Appleton. From Mud Lake, climb SW up a permanent 30-degree snowfield  (ice axe suggested) to a notch separating the basin from the Sol Doc drainage. If the snow slope is too icy, climb to a lower notch via elk trails, just WSW of Mud Lake, and north of the first notch.

Descend scree to the large basins of the tributary of the North Fork Sol Duc River. Hold to the upper basin and traverse S to reach the ridge separating this drainage from the main Sol Duc River drainage. This ridge should be gained at about 5500 ft. Next, contour the S side of Peak 6100, located NW of Appleton Pass, reaching the Appleton Pass trail one or two switchbacks S of the pass. This unnamed 6100-ft. summit, higher than Mt. Appleton, is located on the main ridge and thus is frequently confused with Mt. Appleton, which is 0.5 mile to the N.

An alternate route from the upper North Fork Sol Duc River is to climb to the saddle between the two peaks and then descend southeasterly to the Appleton Pass trail.

Links to other traverses in Bailey Range Area: