Spider Gap - Buck Creek Loop

My big hike for July was the Spider Gap - Buck Creek Loop with a side spur over to Image Lake. This 4-day hike is one of the iconic backpacking loops in Washington. It is in the Glacier Peak Wilderness in the southern part of Washington's North Cascades. The loop itself is about 36 miles but anybody who has not been there would be crazy not to add in the spur from the loop along Minder's Ridge over to Image Lake.

Spider Gap itself is just over 7000 feet high and does not have a regular trail on either side. The south side requires you to hike up Spider Glacier and there is a permanent snow field on the north side. Neither is steep or particularly hard or dangerous as long as the snow is soft, which it was for me.

I thought this loop was really popular, but only at Image Lake did I see anybody camped near me. I was lone at Lower Lyman Lake, and though I saw two other campers at Buck Creek Pass, I did not see where they were camped.

Day 1 - Over Spider Gap to Lyman Lakes Basin

This hike was 14 miles and over 4000 feet gain. I started 2.3 miles below the actual trailhead at a road junction so that I wouldn't have to walk up that the day I hiked out. The hike eventually gets to Spider Meadow before climbing to the Gap.

Day 2 - To Miner's Ridge hike

Day 2 started by going over Cloudy Pass and Suiattle PAss befer reaching Miner's Ridge, a long grassy ridge that has amazing flowers. I'm not sure I was there at the flower peak, but they were still good.

Day 2 - Image Lake and Glacier Peak

Miner's Ridge leads to Image Lake and it's iconic views of Glacier Peak. This is a mere 3.5 miles off the the loop, which needs to be retraced the next morning.

Day 3/4 - Buck Creek Pass and out

11 miles of up and down hiking leads to my final camp at Buck Creek Pass