Come join us for a fall hike to see and learn about the historic gold mining town of Monte Cristo and enjoy the autumn colors one last time before this area is "improved" by the USFS. After this Fall, Monte Cristo will be closed to the public for several years.
Over 120 years ago, the 1890’s gold rush miners left behind mine tailings that are still leaching heavy metals today. The USFS has decided to remediate the mining area as part of a massive excavation project. To do this, they are building a new road into Monte Cristo through an inventoried roadless area in an old growth forest that is prime low elevation Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet habitat. They will build roads into the old mine sites, even to mines located within the HMJ Wilderness Area on unstable steep slopes using large excavators and bull dozers; and then haul the tailings several miles with dump trucks from above the town site and burry them in an 18,000 CY disposal pit near the Hap's Hill Campground. The USFS is not even sure that the disposal pit construction is even feasible given the steep, rocky terrain; but they are building the road anyway.
One of my favorite fall hikes, the Naches Peak Loop is accessed from Chinook Pass on Highway 410 and circles Naches Peak. It's a fairly easy hike -- you start high and stay high. About 4.5 miles. elevation gain 600 feet.