The Dark Divide is neither as dark nor as ominous as its name implies. In fact, should you venture down to this infrequently-visited part of Washington, you'll find a wild country filled with high meadows, lush old-growth trees, and vistas among the best of what Washington has to offer, all with the added bonus of solitude. Use this resource to start exploring some of the area's best trails.
Round Trip: 3.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 1400 feet
Visit Sunrise Peak at the right time, and you'll see why it got its name. The site of a former fire lookout, the trail is steep but short. Along the way, you'll have views of Mount Adams and Mount Rainier, and from the summit, you can enjoy a 360-degree panorama of the incredible geology in the Dark Divide.
Round Trip: 6.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 1900 feet
With ridgetop meadows and views stretching for miles, Juniper Ridge is not to be missed. It's a steep climb from the valley bottom, but once you're up high, you'll stay high, traipsing through fields of wildflowers and soaking in the views. Jumbo and Sunrise Peaks dominate the views ahead of you, and further afield, the Goat Rocks and Mount Adams lie on the eastern horizon.
Round Trip: 8.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
This 10-mile nonmotorized trail is one of the most spectacular old-growth valley treks in southwest Washington. It's a rugged, undeveloped trail with few bridges and steep grades, but the solitude you'll find here makes it worth the effort. It's possible to backpack to French Creek and circumnavigate Dark Mountain on French Creek and the Boundary Trail.
Round Trip: 5.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 900 feet
This short, hiker-only trail in the Dark Divide connects hikers to an arresting, appropriately named blue lake jumping with fish. If you can get past its quiet shores, it's a short jaunt to connect with the Craggy Peak trail and miles of ridgeline hiking that the Dark Divide Roadless Area affords.
Round Trip: 1.75 miles
Elevation Gain: 700 feet
While it's possible to assemble a 10-mile trek in this area, Badger Peak and Lake are also accessible via a much shorter route from the Mosquito Meadows trail. You'll still get to the lake, peak, and awesome views, but without having to invest as much time to get there.