From 1899 to 1907 Monte Cristo was a mining town. Harvesting mainly gold and Silver. Later on it became a resort town and now a well preserved ghost town. Something we don’t see enough of in the dampness of the great PNW.
The hike out to the townsite is an adventure in its own. You start out on an old road bed about a mile (I’m guessing here) and just before the trailhead to Gothic Basin you will veer left crossing a giant log across the South Fork of the Sauk River. Once safely on the other side you will watch for remnants of an old bridge and follow it on toward Monte Cristo.
You will total 8 miles roundtrip and climb a gradual 700 feet in elevation while passing by some stunning Mountain View’s. You know you’re getting close when you start spying a few private cabins hiding in the forest below. Eventually a sign marking the townsite will indicate that you’ve arrived to your destination.
Cross a couple bridges and wind your way up to the first structure, the powerhouse, and then to an open grassy field encircled with historical structures. There are countless artifacts to fuel your curiosity along with the vertical mountain faces jutting through the background.
You can get a good workout attempting to push in circles the incredibly heavy railroad turntable that sits between two buildings. I nearly made it a full rotation one time before losing the strength to finish. Thankfully another hiker jumped in to help me with the final push to make this adventure complete. However, there’s still so much adventure beyond this point.
Further up trail you can head left up Dumas Street where more deteriorating structures can be found as well as the route to Glacier Basin. If you stay straight from the townsite you can find, hiding behind a structure, the steep and scenic trail to Poodle Dog Pass, Silver Lake and Twin Lakes. Not to mention all the mines in the area awaiting to be explored.
From Granite Falls, Wa follow the Mountain Loop Highway east for 31 miles to Barlow Pass.
*Campground on site
*Water is not safe for drinking. Pack in drinking water.