|The Enchantment Peaks from Sauer Mountain|
Access: Paved road to trailhead; trailhead parking on private land, no access fee
Sauer Mountain is an inconspicuous forested ridge that rises just to the east of the town of Leavenworth, Washington State's cute but tacky take on a Bavarian village. There are many nearby peaks that offer much better views and more enjoyable hiking: in fact, both Stuart Lake and the Enchantments, which offer breathtaking views of mountain lake and jagged granite peaks, are accessible from Icicle Creek Road just out of Leavenworth. However, Sauer Mountain, a dwarf compared to the nearby high peaks of the Stuart Range, has the advantage of melting out earlier in the year, making it a perfect spring hike while nearby alpine terrain is still snowbound. Spring wildflowers are an added bonus for hikers who choose this low-key but enjoyable hike.
I hiked this trail on a nice April weekend, one of the first weekends of truly clear weather after an abysmally rainy and gloomy Northwest winter. We set out from Seattle early in the day, taking about two and a half hours to follow US 2 east across Stevens Pass and past Leavenworth to the left-hand turnoff for the town of Peshastin. Crossing the Wenatchee River on the Peshastin Main Street Bridge, we made a few turns to stay on Main Street, passing through the tiny town. Main Street became North Road; about half a mile out of town, heading north on North Road, we turned right onto Anderson Canyon Road and followed that road uphill three-quarters of a mile to a marked trailhead parking lot on private land. A man who appeared to be the owner of the property directed parking and was selling bottles of local wine.
From the trailhead, we headed uphill on the marked trail. The initial terrain was very unconvential for a Washington state hike: as the trail passed through a tract of private property, we saw some intricately carved totem poles and figures of different animals. One sign welcomed visitors to the mountain.
|Welcome to Sauer's Mountain!|
Beyond the trailside art, we passed a vineyard before the trail left that more manicured landscape for the less developed slopes of Sauer Mountain. About a quarter of a mile into the hike, the trail came to an unmarked trail junction with a smaller trail making a sharp switchback from the main, wider trail; both of these trails lead to the same place, but we chose to hike the main trail straight ahead. This trail started a vigorous ascent up the grassy east side of the mountain.
|Trail up Sauer Mountain|
|Balsamroot at Sauer Mountain|
|First views of the Stuart Range from the trail|
After following the viewpoint trail for a bit, we came to a no trespassing sign indicating that the trail ahead passed onto private land. Fortunately, a use trail had been created that stayed on national forest land, so we followed this use trail as it climbed steadily up to the ridge of Sauer Mountain. From here forward, the trail was mostly forested as it followed the main north-south ridge of Sauer Mountain.
After passing over a small knob, this trail rejoined the other trail from the earlier fork, about a mile from the trailhead. We continued following the trail along the ridgeline, passing through small meadows of blooming glacier lilies.
|Icicle Ridge rises above Leavenworth|
|Cashmere Valley and the Entiat Mountains|
|Enchantments, Icicle Ridge, and Leavenworth from Sauer Mountain|
|Glacier Peak and attendant North Cascades peaks|