With expansive views of the Selkirks and a wildflower-lined trail, northeast Washington’s Sherlock Peak is an ideal August hike. While Abercrombie, its taller neighbor, receives all of the attention, Sherlock Peak is an equally gorgeous destination. For explorers with a little extra time, test this opinion by taking advantage of the nearby campground at Silver Creek and exploring both Sherlock and the more prominent Abercrombie (see Hike of the Month, October 2014 for a description of the long route for this hike). But if you only have time to explore one, try Sherlock for the trail less traveled.
Hikers will pass the remains of the Keystone Mine in the early portion of the hike, and there are additional old mines nearby. The early miles of the hike are on an abandoned roadbed, which eventually narrows to nice singletrack switch-backing up the southwest flank of the mountain. At 3.4 miles each direction, the trail stops short of Sherlock’s summit at 6,365 feet. However, peak baggers can easily make it to the top by ascending the open slopes. Groups should consider fanning out to avoid beating a path through the fragile meadows. From the top, Abercrombie and Hooknose are the prominent peaks to the northeast. On a clear day, the views southeast extend to the Pend Oreille River.
Adventurous hikers can take the unmaintained route leading to Gunsight Pass and South Fork Silver Creek Trail. Or, they can stick to the Sherlock Peak trail proper, which boasts rocky outcroppings with spectacular views, even without gaining the true summit. Time a visit right, and hikers may even be rewarded with ripe huckleberries along the trail.
Distance: 6.8 miles round-trip.
Getting There: Take Highway 395 north to Colville, then Highway 20 east to Aladdin Road. Continue 25.5 miles, then turn right on Deep Lake/Boundary Road. Continue 7.3 miles, passing Deep Lake, then turn right on Silver Creek Road, which becomes Forest Service road 4720. Take a slight right and follow the signs to road 75, which ends at the Sherlock Peak trailhead. No pass/permit required. //
Holly Weiler wrote about the Thunder Creek loop in July.