Polallie Ridge by Cooper Lake via Pete Lake Trail / 波拉里脊

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Polallie Ridge by Cooper Lake stretches over five miles across the top of Pete Lake Trail. Directly to the south stands the notable Red Mountain and Kachess Ridge. Then on the east in Salmon La Sac lies the massive Goat Mountain, home to Davis Peak.

Polallie Ridge high point
Polallie Ridge high point

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Polallie Ridge at a Glance

Access: Pete Lake Trailhead
Round Trip: 12.3 miles
Elevation Range: 2840′-5560′
Gear: microspikes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Preface

We had a low-key outing last week and the weekend before last. In other words, our season of big mountain adventures likely had come to an end. But I kept my fingers crossed for another overnight outing before calling it for good.

It rained hard last night, so I ditched my initial plan up north to avoid the wet brush. A last-minute check of the weather, and I found the sunny forecast in Salmon La Sac. So that’s where we ended up going.

See more trip photos here.

Pete Lake Trailhead to Tired Creek Trail

We’ve been in the area once on a freezing winter day on an arduous snowshoeing trip to Cooper Lake. The road was decent until many potholes appeared from the fork to the trailhead. Then we started hiking under a cloudy sky with one other car in the lot.

Due to low clouds, the walk through Pete Lake Trail didn’t offer much to see except the marshes. We hiked Tired Creek Trail a short way to the upper road at the first fork. Then we turned right and walked to the upper trail by the creek.

Marshes
Marshes

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Tired Creek Trail to Polallie Ridge Lookout Site

We made over a dozen switchbacks through the steep forest with spotty views. Other than the sound of my heavy breathing, it was overall quiet. Patchy snow appeared at 5000′, where I saw days-old boot tracks under fresh powder. But the sun couldn’t have made its way to the shade soon enough.

Microspikes worked well in the slick snow with more fresh powder in the meadow. Soon, I got a clear view of today’s destination but needed to go north to the ridgeline first. Then we’d make our way south through a few ridge bumps. Soon, we turned onto the Polallie Ridge Trail and hiked up to the former lookout site at the next fork.

Polallie Ridge lookout site
Polallie Ridge lookout site

See more trip photos here.

North Ridge Traverse to Polallie Ridge High Point

I could see out to the east from the lookout. But the tall trees blocked the bulk of the views to the west. After a quick photo pause, we went southbound on the crest. Though unexciting, it was scenic over the 1.5-mile woodsy traverse to the finish.

There were great views to the east, like on the lookout site. The cloud-covered places by Salmon La Sac included Davis Peak, Goat Mountain, The Cradle, Harding Mountain, and Solomon Mountain. I also saw Mount Daniel and Cathedral Rock to the north.

Lemah Mountain
Lemah Mountain

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Outro

After 45 minutes on the occasionally windy summit, we began returning to the lookout site. Right before reaching Point 5575, we curiously followed a game trail to the west of the ridge crest. I got a better look at the western landscape as it began to flurry. There were more familiar high points: Three Queens, Lemah Mountain, Chimney Rock, plus others.

Contrary to the forecast, dark clouds filled the sky as soon as we were back at the lookout. But thankfully, the dreary weather only lasted about an hour. Soon, we were hiking in the sunshine once again. There were now new boot tracks in the snow. Back on the main trail, we met a family of four with a pup. They all looked to be enjoying the beautiful weather.

Thanks for a beautiful afternoon
Thanks for a beautiful afternoon

See more trip photos here.

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