Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin are popular overnight destinations but are also great as long day hikes. Multiday hikers use Spider Meadow as a first stop on backpacking trips into the beautiful areas to the east of Glacier Peak, and incorporate the trail in thru-hikes to Holden Village above Lake Chelan.
As you head up the old mining road that makes up the first couple of miles of this hike, you will quickly come upon the first of approximately 16 seasonal creek crossings, most unnamed and not noted on most maps. This crossing gives you a good idea of conditions to come. Early in the season these crossings can make getting up to Spider Meadow a wet boot challenge, but take it slow and use your trekking poles. If you feel uncomfortable, there's nothing wrong with saving the trail for another day.
Immediately past the creek crossing, the trail goes around a tight corner, opening up to fabulous views back on the glaciers that hang on Chiwawa ridge.
Within a quarter mile, pass the Carne Mountain trail junction bearing up and to the right. Carne provides great views, beautiful larches in the fall and a very good workout--3500 feet in four exposed, south-facing miles.
As the trail climbs in shaded second-growth, you cross Box and Chipmunk creeks before arriving at Leroy Creek, the largest tributary of Phelps Creek. Just before Leroy Creek, the trail crosses a small unnamed creek. At this crossing, look for a large cement block and rusted piping that looks like it held a pelton wheel, a part for an old water turbine. This relic, in addition to distinct rock piles visible across Phelps Creek, are leftovers from the mining in this area in the 1920s.
Leroy Creek can be the most challenging stream crossing of the hike into Spider Gap. Once across, there is a signed, but unmaintained trail up Leroy Creek; this trail leads up to popular climbing routes to Mount Maude, Seven Finger Jack, and the Carne High Route.
From Leroy Creek the trail frequently crosses meadows hollowed out of the forest by winter avalanches coming down from Phelps ridge to the west or off the Entiat Ridge to the east. These meadows provide bright splashes of sunlight and wildflowers to break up the forested trail.
At 5.5 miles the trail breaks out at the base of Spider Meadow. Marmots whistle a welcome, wildflowers bob their heads in the meadow, and beautiful views roll out in front of you in all directions.
The trail continues on to the head of the meadow. In normal snow years, there are sometimes lingering slabs of avalanche snow well into August on the meadow floor. It is well worth the effort to hike up across the meadow and climb 300 feet to the junction of the Spider Gap trail.
There is a fisherman’s trail that leads to the right, roughly 300 yards to Phelps Basin, a perfect place to have lunch.
Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin
- 13.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 1,900 feet
- Highest Point
- 5,400 feet
Hiking Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin
Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 48.0829, -120.8350 Open in Google Maps