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Trip Report

Salmo-Priest Loop

Eastern Washington

Trip Report By


Hiked Jun 26, 2020

Type of Hike


Trail Conditions

Obstacles on trail:
    Trees down across trail,
    Difficult stream crossing(s),
    Muddy or wet trail.


Road suitable for all vehicles


Bugs were not too bad


Intermittent snow - not hard to cross

My cat and I drove out from Seattle late Thurs night and got to the trailhead around noon on Fri 6/26. I was somewhat surprised to see a bunch of people there - a WTA work party, as well as a group of day hikers and a group of backpackers. I was told that some people had recently been turned around due to snow.

I decided to do the loop clockwise. I almost started at the wrong trailhead - to go clockwise, the trailhead is actually behind the first sign. The trailhead lined with boulders behind the second sign goes counterclockwise. Anyways, down to the river, the trail was clear. To cross the river, I went downstream a little ways to a logjam. There was maybe 4-5 trees down across the trail between the river and the ID border. The side trail down to the cabin is marked by a sign that just says Salmo River. There was a bunch of trees down on it, and I decided it was not worthwhile. Past the ID border, there was a lot more trees down, but nothing terrible. There was a always a log I could use to cross the river. The ascent to Snowy Top Pass was a mess of snow melt. Wear appropriate footwear, or be ok with wet feet!

I intended on camping below the pass, but that campsite must've been covered in slush because I never saw it. I camped where the trail tops out at the pass. There was a bit of snow there, but a good portion of it melted overnight. An elk (or some sort of ungulate, hard to tell from semi melted tracks) walked through camp during the night and woke us up.

The next day, I carried on across the divide. Wonderful views! I took the side trail up to the lookout. The lookout itself was burned down years ago, but it made for a great second breakfast spot. I encountered a pair of backpackers there. There was lots of patches of slushy snow along the divide, all easy to cross, never lost the trail, no microspikes or poles needed. I also encountered the WTA work party again (hi guys! thanks again for everything you do!).

I got back to the trailhead late afternoon. I was putting stuff away in my car and whatnot, debating whether to camp or sleep in my car, and the weather decided my evening plans for me. The forecasted thunderstorm decided to include hail. So sleep in the car it was! Got up this morning and drove back to Seattle.

Wonderful leisurely overnighter I would happily recommend to anyone.


Susan Elderkin on Salmo-Priest Loop

We saw you at the trailhead! You made the right decision to go clockwise. We were ahead of the WTA work party on the route to Shedroof Mountain and the blowdown situation was so horrible that we turned around after about two miles. The way back, however, was so much better, as the crew was making quick work of the logs across the trail. Thanks WTA! Someone mentioned on the trail register that there were 37 blowdowns in the first three miles. I suspect that the trail crew got to most of them by the time you looped back around. Very cool cat, BTW!

Posted by:

Susan Elderkin on Jun 29, 2020 12:13 PM

RichP on Salmo-Priest Loop

The trail is cleared to about 5 miles from each end of the trailhead. Another WTA crew will be going in July to finish the job.

Posted by:

RichP on Jul 01, 2020 06:08 AM

billgris on Salmo-Priest Loop

I was trying to figure out what "cat" meant in hiking terms, but it's literally your cat. That's awesome.

Great review and lovely pics!

Posted by:

billgris on Jul 02, 2020 10:59 AM