Boulder River Wilderness
Established in 1984, the 49,000-acre Boulder River Wilderness occupies the low range of mountains between Verlot and Darrington. A handful of trails provide access to the wilderness from various sides, but travel off these paths can be a challenge in this rugged and oft-brushy terrain. The main attraction is Three Fingers, a 6,850-foot peak offering outstanding alpine vistas.
The 6.7-mile one-way trail to Tin Pan Gap and Three Fingers Mountain is a popular overnight hike. From Verlot, go west on Mountain Loop Highway for four miles, then head north on Forest Road 41, following it 18 miles to the trailhead at Tupso Pass. The trail climbs through dense forest for 2.5 miles to four-acre Saddle Lake; continue for another 2.3 miles through meadows to Goat Flat, an oft-crowded camping spot. Use only a campstove; fire rings leave near-permanent scars in these fragile meadows.
The trail reaches Tin Pan Gap after about six miles; from here, the hike becomes a technical climb (not for the inexperienced) over Three Fingers Glacier and a scramble to the top of Three Fingers Mountain and the old fire lookout.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition