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Grassy Top Mountain hike

Grassy Top is one of the easiest ridge hikes in the Columbia Highlands, but they payoff is grand. Magnificent meadows and splendid views of the Salmo-Priest country await you.

grassy2.jpgRound trip: 8 miles
Elevation gain: 1000 feet
Difficulty: (1/5) Easy
Trailhead: From Metaline Falls, follow Sullivan Lake Road east for 4.75 miles. Turn left (east) onto FR 22 and proceed for 13.75 miles to the trailhead, at Pass Creek Pass.

This is one of the easiest ridge hikes in the Columbia Highlands. The effort to reach the 6253-foot Grassy Top may be minimal, but they payoff is grand. Magnificent meadows and splendid views of the Salmo-Priest country await you. Primitive hiking and equestrian trails connect this area with the Salmo-Priest Wilderness to the north and trails into Hall Mountain Roadless Area to the west.

One of the closest wild forests to Spokane, this wild, roadless area contains productive habitat for grizzly bear, Canada lynx, gray wolf, and the rare mountain caribou. In the waters shooting down from the high peak also live cutthroat trout, bull trout, and pygmy whitefish, a "sensitive" and protected species. These and other rare aquatic species thrive in Harvey Creek, which borders Grassy Top on the west and south.

Grassy Top Roadless Area. Photo by Craig Romano

Starting with a little drop, the trail enters a cool, old-growth forest of spruce and fir. Angling around a scattering of ledges, the way begins to ascend via a series of long and gentle switchbacks. After 1.5 miles, the brunt of the climb is complete. It is now a pleasurable hike along a ridge that hovers between 6000 and 6200 feet. In 2.7 miles is a junction; go left. Soon the trail enters an expansive meadow carpeted in wildflowers. If the ending seems anticlimatic, retrace your steps for five minutes or so to find an unmarked trail that takes you off to the north from the main trail. This short, steep path climbs 200 feet to a 6375-foot knoll. The views here are even better than from the main summit, especially north, to the Salmo-Priest country.

© 2007. Text reprinted with permission of the publisher from Columbia Highlands: Exploring Washington’s Last Frontier by Craig Romano, The Mountaineers, Seattle.
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