Windy Peak in the early morning sun soon after leaving the Iron Gate Trailhead at 6:30 am.

Windy Peak 8,334'


In the Okanogan National Forest and the Pasayten Wilderness

July 25, 2004

One of the Bugler's 100 highest of Washington



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Windy Peak is one of the big Bugler 100, located in the Pasayten Wilderness, about 3 hours north and east of Winthrop, Washington. Number 92 to be exact.

Windy is probably the easiest of the High 100. There is a trail all the way to the summit. The challenge for us was getting information to get us to the Trailhead.

I found three possible routes, Windy Creek Trail, Windy Peak Trail, and the Iron Gate. We chose the Iron Gate, which turned out to be the longest and hardest of the three possibilities.  

We drove around the long way through Omak, and Loomis, spending a leisurely afternoon. The dirt road is slow to the Iron Gate, and suitable for high clearance vehicles. There were about 20 cars parked there, most everyone was somewhere in Horseshoe Basin. We car camped for the night.

On the South Ridge leading to the summit of Windy. There is a Trail all the way to the top.

On the horizon is the famous Horseshoe Basin.

About one half mile from the Trailhead we turned on to Trail 343 and descended almost 800' through Lodgepole Pine and then a beautiful Aspen Grove to the Middle Fork Toats Coulee Creek. We were glad to see the water and looked forward to jumping in on the way back. After crossing the creek we immediately gained 800' plus to the ridge on the other side.

The Trail continued around the Ridge to finally join with the Windy Peak Trail 342 after 5 miles. (The Windy Peak Trail from Long Swamp Campground is probably the best choice. It is 12 miles round trip.) We followed the trail for two miles up the Ridge at 7,600', through green flowery meadows, and finally up some easy class 3 to the summit. As usual we were off the Trail and taking the most direct route.

Famous folks in the Summit Register!

On the Summit we were treated to no wind, and wonderful views in all directions. North Gardner, 8,956', Silver Star, 8,876' could be easily seen. Also, Cathedral, 8,601', and Remmel, 8,685'.

We were surprised to find someone already on the Summit. Lynn from Tacoma, had been doing a peak a day in the Pasayten. It was fun talking to him. He said he climbed Mount Adams 113 times!

Easy livin' on the Summit and big views.

To our right is Cathedral, and to the left is Remmel.

It was fast and easy return, but a little hot. The afternoon winds came up beginning at 12 o'clock. Doerte and I made sure to take a cowboy bath in the creek. Refreshed, it was easy to do the last mile.

The Trail passes through many meadows filled with flowers like these.

 8 hours round trip, 14 miles, 3,100' in plus 800' out, 3,900 total elevation gain.

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