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Monte Cristo Ghost Town

Our Hiking Time: 4h 15m
Total Ascent: 600ft
Highest Point: 2900ft
Total Distance: 9.5 miles
Location: N 47° 59.1180, W 121° 23.5620
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Difficulty: Easy

Nathan's Photo
As Halloween approaches, a lot of folks start thinking about ghosts, goblins and haunted houses. While we’ve yet to find a hike out to a haunted house, we do occasionally get the chance to visit a ghost town. Recently we trekked out to Monte Cristo, one of Washington’s most famous ghost towns and the site of the state’s biggest gold rush.

This is a decent hike that should be approachable for almost anyone, especially those interested in a little history. To get the most out of your visit, we recommend you stop at the Verlot Ranger Station on your way out to Barlow Pass to pick up a pamphlet that includes a map of Monte Cristo and explanations of the various marked sites in the town. After you are done touring the town you may be looking to do a little more hiking. If that’s the case you can continue up to Glacier Falls and Glacier Basin. Or you can retrace the pre-railroad approach to Monte Cristo with hike up to Poodle Dog Pass #708, named in honor of Frank Peabody’s dog, which he evidently took with him when he climbed the pass on his way to Monte Cristo from Mineral City.

This hike’s only challenge is the river crossing, but that may soon be changing. A new access road will be on the other side of the river, connecting with the current road after the washout. The road is being built to support a massive cleanup effort focusing on containing the arsenic and other heavy metals churned up by Monte Cristo’s mining past. The cleanup will begin in fall of 2013 lasting to the summer of 2015, during that time the plan is to close the townsite. How the new road will be used after the cleanup is still undecided. Luckily, even though a little snow has fallen, you still have some weekends left to visit Monte Cristo before it’s shuttered until 2015.

There's a lot more to Monte Cristo, and you can learn all about it in our book, Hiking Through History Washington.  You'll find a trail map, route descriptions, history, and more for this and many more hikes throughout the State. Help support hikingwithmybrother.com and the work we do by picking up a copy!

To get there, take I-5 North to Exit 194. Follow Highway 2 for about two miles. Stay in the left lane and merge onto Lake Stevens Highway 204. Follow for two miles to Highway 9. Take the left onto Highway 9 toward Lake Stevens. In just under two miles, you’ll reach Highway 92 to Granite Falls. Take a right and follow for about nine miles to the Mountain Loop Highway. Take the MLH for 31 miles to Barlow Pass. Park and find the gated Monte Cristo Road on the right side of the road, opposite the trailhead parking lot. -Nathan

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Monte Cristo


Unknown said...

I remember going there in the early 70's with our camp group and going all the way to the back of the "Boston American" mine (http://www.ghosttownsofwashington.com/Boston_American_Mine.html) which seemed like it must have been at least a mile. Later that night our counselors would tell us the story of the Hatchet Man of Monte Cristo so we wouldn't be able to sleep at night...

Monte Cristo is a beautiful exquisite place to visit!

Anonymous said...

I remember going up there in the 60's, camping in the campground, going into the hotel and some of the buildings. I also remember Peabody Mine. There should be free access to all taxpayers and the road must be opened to the public.

Jer said...

Thanks for sharing your stories! Very cool!!

Diane Evans said...

I also remember hiking through one of the mines, probably about 1974. My sister and I and our husbands found a little "glitter" on a wall of the mine; later on, we discovered that it was silver ore. It was a wonderful way to spend a nice summer day!

Anonymous said...

i have also been there with my dad back in the 70's and the story told up there is about the hand and how one of those miners pushed the other one off a cliff and in the fall his hand was severed and was never recovered and when the miner that pushed him was in the county jail (in monroe at the time ) while he was in jail by himself he was killed by strangulation and they found 5 fingernails inbeded in his neck. TRUE STORY

Anonymous said...

As clean-up work is slated for spring 2013, Im hoping to make it one more time and document all that I can. They think dredging will cure the problem but my opinion is that it will stir up sediment and produce more cancers in the puget sound region. My dream was Poodle Dog Pass so I may resort to the internet and pretend I did it!!!

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