Monte Cristo Trail
The Monte Cristo Trail is an easy 8.5mi out and back hike that takes you to a spooky ghost town left from the mining boom days of Washington. This hike is mostly flat, quite scenic, and fun for kids with its relics from the past. A hundred years ago, this area was bustling and full of work. Now, it’s slowly being reclaimed by nature.
The hike itself is suitable for all skill levels. While it’s a bit longer, the relative flatness of the trail makes it an easy trip. It’s passable through most of the year before the snow starts to take over.
Note that the road to this trailhead is subject to seasonal closure. Check the conditions and the status of the road if you plan to visit in the wintertime. Additionally, bring enough water for the trail. Refilling isn’t recommended in the water sources here due to the risk of leftover materials from the mine. If you must drink the water here, make sure you filter it first.
The trailhead for the Monte Cristo Trail is on Mountain Loop Highway near the southern tip of Barlow Point.
|When to do|
Yes - On Leash
Out and back
Monte Cristo Trail
Monte Cristo Trail Description
Back in the 1890s, thousands of people came to work in Monte Cristo as the mining industry boomed. They mined ore to send to Everett via a newly constructed railroad. For a time, this little area was a boomtown. Eventually, funding issues, flooding along the railroad, and a shortage of mining materials caused most inhabitants to flee.
By 1907, mining in the region had mostly stopped. A few attempts to build a resort at the old mine site were short-lived, and eventually, Monte Cristo was abandoned. Today, a few remnants remain of the area’s boom and bust past.
The hike to the ghost town is quite relaxed. While it’s a touch longer than your average easy route, it lacks any significant elevation changes. It’s a scenic area, with old forests and mountains surrounding the valley.
There are also a few campsites along the trail, allowing you to stretch this adventure over a couple of days.
From the trailhead at Barlow Pass, you’ll hike along a closed road for the first 4.0mi. There are spots where the road’s been damaged by flooding, but it’s still easily passable on foot.
Hike past Hops Hill Campground, shortly after which you’ll be able to see exposed railroad tracks from the mining days.
Continue along the river past the Sauk River Campground. At Monte Cristo, you’ll cross the water on a log. While a bridge would be useful here, the USFS cannot build a bridge here. The Monte Cristo Preservation Association has not built a bridge, but they sometimes “Improve” the log.
Keep to the right to the town where a spur trail splits off to the left towards the campsite here.
Not many structures remain, so make sure you keep your distance from the ones that do to ensure they remain true to form for future hikers.
When you’re ready, you’ll turn around and return to the trailhead via the same route.
Hiking Route Highlights
Monte Cristo Ghost Town
Monte Cristo was a thriving mining town in the late 1800s. Here, iron ore was mined and shipped via a newly constructed railroad to Everett. For years, people flocked here to work. When an array of issues descended upon the mining industry in the early 1900s, Monte Cristo slowly began to lose its workers. Eventually, the town was abandoned altogether. All that remains now is a few structures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you drive to the Monte Cristo ghost town?
The road to the town has been disused for many years due to flooding damage. At this point, the ghost town is only accessible one foot or by horse.
Is the Monte Cristo Trail kid-friendly?
Yes, this route is suitable for children.
You’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass for this hike.
You can camp either near Monte Cristo or along the river here.
Poles can be helpful for the log crossing.
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