21.5 miles
Distance
4,843 ft
Climb
-4,838 ft
Descent
2 miles
High Point

Angel's Staircase is a physically demanding, epic loop that takes you far from civilization, so bring plenty of food and water and make sure that you carry tools that you know how to use. The rewards are fantastic views of jagged mountains and into beautiful alpine basins filled with flowers, trees, and small lakes.

Detailed Description
Angel's Staircase is a 21 mile popular expert route located near Twisp Washington. This hike primary route. This route includes 8 trails. This route climbs 4,843 ft with a max elevation of 8,079 ft then descends -4,838 ft.
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23 Reviews & Comments

  • + 1
blacktigercat16 (Sep 30, 2022 at 10:56)
Definitely under the Epic category. For two solid intermediate bikers, one on a Kona process 134 and the other on a 153, we did it in 8 hours and 20 minutes. Only had one long (15-20 min) stop and two shorter ones - One to pump water from a stream and another for a snack. Met a guy on the trail who has done it in 3 hours and 40 minutes! Guessing our technical stop time (photos, etc.) was probably around 2 hours.
We did the loop clockwise. I have to say that I was majorly impressed with the motorized portion of the trail (Martin Creek, Eagle Creek etc.). I was expecting deep ruts and long unrideable sections...the entire ride up Martin Creek trail was very enjoyable and I would call it a great mtb trail. Nothing was too challenging. The most difficult section by far was the hike a bike out of Cooney lake on the Cooney Lake trail. Very tiring to push a bike up such a long, steep, loose section. My shoulders were killing me! The downhill Angels Staircase trail was difficult at the top  - very chunky scree that I had to walk, but is rideable for more advanced riders. Maybe 30-40% down the trail it becomes completely rideable, except for the switchbacks. I had to walk many of those. Next - The Summit trail  - very easy and a nice break. DO NOT take Prince Trail to get to Boiling Lake. Just take the Eagle Lake Trail. Prince trail is not maintained. The hike a bike section out of Boiling Lake is not as bad as the Cooney Lake one. Honestly if I wasn't so tired I may have been able to ride more of it. Walking was easier Smile And then the Eagle Lake descent! It was awesome. Not too technical. I did not have to walk any sections. 
Overall I highly recommend this loop if you are looking for an awesome adventure. Its challenging but not to the point that I ever regretted being out there. Be ready for a long day of course. We brought a water pump, which I would recommend. By the end my uphill stamina was weak, but I could have biked downhill some more. All the pain is worth the views and the feeling of accomplishment!
[Reply]
  • + 1
Bmxanddie (Sep 24, 2022 at 6:42)
Just rode the full loop a day ago via martin lake - angel's staircase - summit trail - eagle lake. The larches were just starting to turn and should be fantastic in the next week or two baring any weather that comes in. Plenty of water at the lakes to pump and excellent views throughout the ride. The dirt was super dry/moon dust in places but was overall awesome! We ran into two bears at different times so as be aware.
[Reply]
  • + 1
dkscott (Sep 3, 2021 at 8:18)
Trail Summit Trail
Yep, pretty beat up. Phenomenal views and landscape, but the tread is a mess. It is still a necessary link for the Angel's Staircase loops, so still worth riding.
[Reply]
  • + 0
jimmyvincent (Jul 17, 2021 at 19:56)
I did this loop from the Crater Creek trailhead, and my log shows 5900+ elevation and 23.6 miles. Amazing views, awesome terrain, but the whole section from the lake below the Staircase to the second pass felt like foolishness on a mountain bike. I’m a strong climber, but this was an insane amount of pushing up steep scrabble alpine hiking trails. Next time I would opt for an out and back on Martin’s Creek or Eagle to the pass and skip going over to the back side. PS, mid-July biting flies are evil and relentless anywhere near the lakes to the summits.
[Reply]
  • + 3
alfotsch (Mar 29, 2021 at 10:34)
Is there a standard time of year that these trails tend to be fully thawed and melted?
[Reply]
  • + 1
freerideposer KCTS (Sep 27, 2019 at 7:59)
Trail Summit Trail
If you want to see what a horse blown out trail is ride this. Troughs 1.5- 2 feet deep, rooted sections 8 feet wide - what a mess. Horse sh*t.
[Reply]
  • + 0
freerideposer KCTS (Sep 26, 2019 at 9:29)
This is not a biking trail. And most of the trails in the Angels Staircase loop after this are not either. Don't waste your time. The best trails of the loop are lower Eagle Creek and Martin Creek that you ride in to Conney Lake. Ditch your bike at Cooney Lake, hike up to the ridge for the awesome view (and very short section of trail on the ridge), hike down and ride out on Martin Creek, Eagle Creek
[Reply]
  • + 1
vikb (Sep 1, 2019 at 8:13)
I put in a lap on the AS Loop a couple days ago. Everything is running well with a bit of rain to keep the dust down. Highly recommended.
[Reply]
  • + 1
maffein (Jul 11, 2019 at 6:15)
Rode the loop July 9. Trails all clear. Bring bug spray if you plan to stop near any of the lakes. Eagle Lake Trail is a little beat up/loose from horse traffic. Tough ride, fair bit of hike-a-bike, but gorgeous views.
[Reply]
  • + 2
rpinney206 (Aug 3, 2018 at 7:51)
what's up with the trail head closure? is it just parking that is closed? Seems weird that access to the entire trail is restricted. The foggy dew entrance adds a lot of climbing to an already big day.
[Reply]
  • + 2
rpinney206 (Aug 3, 2018 at 7:51)
what's up with the trail head closure? is it just parking that is closed? Seems weird that access to the entire trail is restricted. The foggy dew entrance adds a lot of climbing to an already big day.
[Reply]
  • + 1
boxxerace TRAILFORKS (Sep 19, 2018 at 8:09)
@rpinney206 it Appears the USFS has reopened the trailhead and trail as of Monday this week. I'm quite familiar with the route up Foggy, it's chunky in places! If you hear of anything else or talk to a ranger, please let me know so we can keep the record correct for everyone.
[Reply]
  • + 1
boxxerace TRAILFORKS (Sep 19, 2018 at 8:09)
@rpinney206 it Appears the USFS has reopened the trailhead and trail as of Monday this week. I'm quite familiar with the route up Foggy, it's chunky in places! If you hear of anything else or talk to a ranger, please let me know so we can keep the record correct for everyone.
[Reply]
  • + 2
rpinney206 (Sep 19, 2018 at 8:44)
@boxxerace I talked to the ranger yesterday and they said that construction didn't start because of fire danger and that the trail head is currently open. Construction will begin this Monday however so this is the last weekend it will be open, from what I was told.
[Reply]
  • + 2
rpinney206 (Sep 19, 2018 at 8:44)
@boxxerace I talked to the ranger yesterday and they said that construction didn't start because of fire danger and that the trail head is currently open. Construction will begin this Monday however so this is the last weekend it will be open, from what I was told.
[Reply]
  • + 1
boxxerace TRAILFORKS (Sep 19, 2018 at 8:52)
That seems to jive with what I just read here: www.fs.usda.gov/detail/okawen/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5371608

NOTICE: Crater Creek Trailhead will be closed for trailhead improvements starting SEPTEMBER 24, 2018. The Crater Creek Trail remains open at this time, however, access will be from the Foggy Dew Trailhead starting SEPTEMBER 24.

Bummer. Up Foggy it is!
[Reply]
  • + 1
boxxerace TRAILFORKS (Sep 19, 2018 at 8:52)
That seems to jive with what I just read here: www.fs.usda.gov/detail/okawen/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5371608

NOTICE: Crater Creek Trailhead will be closed for trailhead improvements starting SEPTEMBER 24, 2018. The Crater Creek Trail remains open at this time, however, access will be from the Foggy Dew Trailhead starting SEPTEMBER 24.

Bummer. Up Foggy it is!
[Reply]
  • + 2
jefe (May 9, 2018 at 13:58)
Amazing scenery aside, this is one of the best descents in WA. There's that beautiful part of sharing trails motos occasionally ride where the trail actually flows for a 2 wheel thing (unlike hiking trails) and there's always just enough of a rut to give you support in every corner. The one word for this trail is FAST! You will be gaping 30 ft out off of 6 inch bumps the whole way without even trying. What a hoot the perfect end to a mega ride!... writing this I guess I should warn you not to kill anyone, be careful around blind corners (luckily most of the trail has great sightlines), don't be the dick that kills someone else's experience; it's just a few corners you have to ease up on to stay safe, life's not a race... despite what Strava tells you.
[Reply]
  • + 2
jefe (May 9, 2018 at 13:58)
Amazing scenery aside, this is one of the best descents in WA. There's that beautiful part of sharing trails motos occasionally ride where the trail actually flows for a 2 wheel thing (unlike hiking trails) and there's always just enough of a rut to give you support in every corner. The one word for this trail is FAST! You will be gaping 30 ft out off of 6 inch bumps the whole way without even trying. What a hoot the perfect end to a mega ride!... writing this I guess I should warn you not to kill anyone, be careful around blind corners (luckily most of the trail has great sightlines), don't be the dick that kills someone else's experience; it's just a few corners you have to ease up on to stay safe, life's not a race... despite what Strava tells you.
[Reply]
  • + 1
Joeintern (Sep 24, 2017 at 20:09)
The snow above Cooney Lake (~7200 ft) made the hike-a-bike longer and more difficult than it should have been... but it was heartening to follow in your footsteps. : )
[Reply]
  • + 1
Joeintern (Sep 24, 2017 at 20:22)
Ha, whoops... I thought you were the Bham rider I was following yesterday... wrong year.
[Reply]
  • + 5
lacykemp (Sep 25, 2016 at 21:42)
Rode this loop on Saturday, September 24th. It is a big day, but not nearly as challenging as I had expected. We lucked out with stellar weather and tacky dirt (a rarity on this side of the pass). The climb to Angel's Staircase is long, but not impossible. The big challenge comes with the hike-a-bike on the last ~1000' of elevation gain. It feels vertical. Carrying our bikes seemed like the most practical thing.

The rest of the ride until the second peak is pretty fun. A long descent down the backside of Angel's Staircase was challenging with some big shale sections mixed in. The climb to the 2nd peak was much faster, not as steep, but very rocky so, again, we hiked most of it. The descent down Eagle Lake trail is absolutely ripping and one of most fun rides I've had on my bike in a long, long time.
[Reply]
  • + 4
boxxerace TRAILFORKS (Oct 20, 2015 at 12:20)
Note: The advanced double diamond rating applies mostly to the last 1/4 of the trail at the top of the climb, cough, er, hike up the steep switchbacks, or descending this area. This portion of the trail is virtually un-rideable on most bikes you'd have way up here. That being said, this part of the trail is pretty safe to hike up provided you don't kick any boulders loose, hitting people below you.

So call this a "soft" double diamond trail. The rest of the trail is a mix of blue and black, including a short hike a bike at the first climb just out of Cooney Lake.
[Reply]





Details

  • Riding area
  • Primary Activity
    Hike
  • Other Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Trail Running
  • Difficulty rating
    Black Diamond
  • Route Type
    Loop
  • eBike Allowed
  • Ridelogs
    1
More Stats for Angel's Staircase mountain bike route
  • Altitude min
    4,757 ft
  • Altitude start
    4,757 ft
  • Altitude end
    4,760 ft
  • Grade max
    -59.8%
  • Grade min
    130.6%
  • Distance climb
    11 miles
  • Distance down
    10 miles
  • Distance flat
    2,064 ft
Avg: 3.75 (8 votes)

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Trail Conditions
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  • Snow Packed
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  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
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  • Prevalent Mud
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  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
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Recent Trail Reports Along Route

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Summit Trail
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  • By mtbjornski & contributors
  • #1822 - 25,619 views