Distance: 7+ miles
Elevation Gain: 5,700 feet
Summit Elevation: 8,459 feet
Access: Good gravel
Chiwawa Mountain is a remote peak in the glacier peak wilderness area. It has a nice approach trail and makes for a good day trip. Chiwawa makes it at #65 on the Bulger List or the 64th highest peak with 400+ prominence in Washington State. Because of this, it is a sought after peak, although the nearby bigger Fortress Mountain probably gets a few more visitors.
From Highway 2, look for the exit signs to Lake Wenatchee and then proceed to the bridge over the outlet stream from Lake Wenatchee and bear right. Find the signs to Chiwawa River Road and proceed to the end at about 20 miles.
Follow the Buck Creek Trail for about a mile and a half to the junction with the Red Mountain Trail. Take the Red Mountain Trail for 3.7 miles to another split. Here you have two options, the majority of people go left into Chiwawa Basin. This Chiwawa Basin trail continues a mile or more through forests and into meadows toward the Fortress-Chiwawa Col. From that area, just scramble up the southwest slopes to the summit. My route took the right fork, heading up toward the eastern ridge of Chiwawa. Realizing this wasn't the best route, I found an easy ledge system to get me over to the southwest side of the mountain (see map and picture). From there I joined the standard route up to the summit. (My friend and dog stayed behind with the camera so I have no pictures from the summit).
There are all kinds of car camping spots along the Chiwawa River Road, some developed, some primitive. You'll probably want to wait until the Chiwawa River Road is melted out to Trinity and beyond. The trailhead is at 2,800 feet but it's pretty deep into the cascades so probably mid-June or so most years.
Fortress and Chiwawa from Red Mountain
On the trail with Chiwawa above
East to Mount Maude and Seven Fingered Jack
Looking down the Chiwawa River Valley
Working over to the ledges
Climbing up the SE slopes of Chiwawa
On the Red Mountain Trail
Showing the southeast face with the route shown to reach the southwest side
Fortress Mountain from Red Mountain Trail