Duncan Hill + Anthem Peak via Duncan Ridge in Entiat Valley / 鄧肯丘

  • Reading time:6 mins read

Duncan Hill and Anthem Peak rise above Entiat River Valley. The peaks share an extensive ridge with Gopher Mountain as well. Meanwhile, the ridgeline continues upward through Saska Peak, Emerald Peak, and Bearcat Ridge.

One final look at Duncan Hill
One final look at Duncan Hill

See more trip photos here.

Duncan Hill and Anthem Peak at a Glance

Access: Duncan Hill Trailhead
Round Trip: 14.8 miles
Elevation Range: 5160′-7936′
Gear: helmet
Route Info: cartman
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

Road 5608 off Entiat River Road

It’s six miles from the Entiat River Road turnoff up to Duncan Hill Trailhead. In 2014, Chiwaukum Complex Fire devastated the entire Duncan Ridge. Then Wolverine Fire swept through the lower roadway the following year.

The road was free of debris in the first couple of miles or so. Higher up, small rocks and branches started to show up. I even removed a couple of big stones en route. The final mile was dusty with small ruts and brush in the middle.

Morning colors
Morning colors

See more trip photos here.

Duncan Hill Trail

The pups and I started walking at 6 AM under a cloudy sky and cool temperatures. I had expected to see the aftermath from the fires, with dead trees strewing the path. But glad that there was only a handful en route to Duncan Hill.

It rained a few times as we hiked through the open forest full of lupines. Meanwhile, the moisture had made walking the otherwise dusty trail more pleasant. Later we left the trail directly south of the summit.

Duncan Hill this way
Duncan Hill this way

See more trip photos here.

Duncan Hill Summit Without Views

A short, steep climb then put us on top of Duncan Hill, a former lookout with a small radio tower. Clouds had been looming over the top of the mountains since dawn. So we were in the mist the entire time with nothing to see.

Perhaps I didn’t look hard enough, but I didn’t see a register on the summit. Since we had no views to savor, we didn’t stay long. Besides, we could use the extra time to explore the route to Anthem Peak.

The old lookout site
The old lookout site

See more trip photos here.

Leaving Duncan Hill

I didn’t find route info on the ridge traverse between Duncan Hill and Anthem Peak. But I kept my fingers crossed for dog-friendly terrain. Later we hiked down to the north saddle and left the trail.

We bypassed Point 7801 from the west. Then from the northwest ridge, we dropped 200’ through tall granite steps down to the north saddle. Later we walked to 7400′ below Point 7800 from the gentler east slope.

Leaving Duncan Hill for Anthem Peak
Leaving Duncan Hill for Anthem Peak

See more trip photos here.

Point 7800 to Anthem Peak

The woodsy west flank of Point 7800 looked pretty steep. I didn’t feel like climbing over the high point. So we gave the west side a try. Then we sidestepped for a bit before a buttress appeared before us.

Not wanting to drop down on the steep slope, we moved straight up instead. Soon, we were on Point 7800, looking down the sheer north side. Then we scrambled west of the rocky ridgeline to Anthem Peak’s south saddle.

The rocky north ridge of Point 7800
The rocky north ridge of Point 7800

See more trip photos here.

Final Stretch Through Fern Lake Basin

Fern Lake has been the place for fall colors in recent years. But I didn’t need to hop on the bandwagon by waiting until then. Though, I’ve never understood the fascination with larches–seen one, seen them all.

Later we dropped onto the east slopes in the mist and stayed at 7700′ through to the east ridge. Then we went in a clockwise motion to reach the north ridge. Afterward, a short traverse over the rocks put us at the top.

The final stretch on Anthem Peak
The final stretch on Anthem Peak

See more trip photos here.

Anthem Peak Summit With Spotty Views

The small summit didn’t seat the three of us comfortably. But we had some views of Anthem Creek Basin and the west. Though, clouds never moved away entirely to show Choral Peak.

We waited a while for the clouds to break up to see Duncan Hill from here. But the most we got was its ghostly silhouette behind Point 7801. So we left the top after a short visit.

Choral Peak
Choral Peak

See more trip photos here.

Outro

Back at Anthem Peak’s south saddle, we dropped down the west at 7400′. Then we went through milder terrain and bypassed the buttress from earlier. Slowly, we sidestepped back to the south side of Point 7800.

From there, we kept the same altitude and bypassed Duncan Hill. Then we picked up the trail by the fork and walked out in the afternoon sunshine on a dusty trail. There were two other cars back at the trailhead.

Duncan Hill in the afternoon sun
Duncan Hill in the afternoon sun

See more trip photos here.

Back on Road 5608

As luck would have it, a couple of dead trees fell onto the road during the day. It was the first time something like it had happened during our trip. So I wasn’t sure what to do in the middle of nowhere without cell service.

As I pulled out my inReach, two dirt bikers came down the road. One said they usually carried a chainsaw. But because of the fires, the forest service had banned the use of one. So they offered to stop by Silver Falls ranger station afterward.

Big rig to the rescue
Big rig to the rescue

See more trip photos here.

Pulling Trees with the Big Rig

I texted a few friends to contact the Entiat ranger office just in case. Shortly came the truck I saw up at the trailhead. Thankfully, the driver could tug and yank the tree off to the side. Then his wife, kids, and I broke off the branches to drive past the debris.

Just when we thought the ordeal was over, not far down the road was another fallen tree. Once again, the driver pulled on it until there was enough room to drive past. Thank you, Adam, Stefanie, and the kids, to the rescue!

Pulling tree #1

See more trip photos here.