Barlow Cut Trail is Easy and Historic
Most hikers are very familiar with Barlow Pass up the Mountain Loop Highway from Granite Falls because it is the starting point for a hike up Monte Cristo or Gothic Basin. We didn't have a whole lot of time to wander up that way, so we took the trail that leaves the small parking area on the North side opposite the gate to Monte Cristo.
This trail splits after a few hundred yards of forested trail, we first went to the left and found an interpretive sign after 0.3 miles from the trailhead, telling us about Barlow Cut. The trail was a bit over grown, but it was a step back in time seeing this spot where the railroad was forced to blow through a huge rock outcrop from the hillside.
It is very evident where the tracks used to lay as we walked through this overgrown historic spot. This was a pivitol spot for the railway as it climbed from the stop at Big Four Inn and headed up toward the mining town of Monte Cristo.
We headed back to the junction and now headed up the trail toward Barlow Point. The trail climbs a small ridge a then descends to drop below a large rocky cliff that has an old turnpike that we found was picturesque.
This is also the spot that we turned around. We stopped off at the Verlot Ranger Station to ask about the trail. The explained that it is 1.2 miles one way to a ridge that first offers views to the East down the South Fork Sauk drainage. It then ends at a viewpoint looking down toward the South Fork Stilliguamish River drainage and Big Four Mountain.
If you find yourself looking for a great less used trail to explore, then check out this spot. The parking lot offered a pit toilet and a picnic table.
Get There: Drive the Mountain Loop out of Granite Falls all the way to the point that it turns from pavement into a gravel road. The trailhead is in the parking area to the left just up a short hill at the sign marking Barlow Pass.
For a picture of the view from Barlow Point and some more information by Craig Romano go HERE.