Friday, November 12, 2010

Priest Backpacking Trip - Crabtree Falls

Chris and I had packed everything up from camping out the night before, wolfed down a couple of fig newtons and some trail mix, and prepared to hit the trail. First we admired the great views from Priest Mountain one last time, but this time in morning light.
We headed down off the mountain, passing these really cool frost tubes at many points along the trail. We had never seen anything like them before.
We had dropped about 1,200 feet by the time we reached Crabtree Meadows, and then the trail leveled off for the next mile or so until we reached the top of Crabtree Falls, with great views of the surrounding mountains.
It was a good place for a late brunch, so Chris fired up his Jet-Boil stove, and we had hot chocolate and tea, then noodles and chucky bars for lunch.
It was now time to complete the trip by hiking down to the bottom of Crabtree Falls. During the 1.7 mile trail, the falls drop 1,000 feet in five major cascades and countless minor ones. It was perhaps the most beautiful falls I have ever seen, even in the low water of fall. The trail was steep with many switchbacks, and often wet and slippery - even icy in spots. We each took a tumble at points. Here are some photos of the sights along the way down. We stopped many, many times to take pictures of the beautiful falls.
At the end of the trail, we started walking along the the road 4.5 miles back to the car, virtually all up hill. We hitch-hiked as we walked, and after a mile and a half, a couple stopped and gave us a ride to the fish hatchery. What a huge help that was. Our trip was over. It had seemed like a good idea a month ago, and despite the cold, it had turned out that way!


  1. I have enjoyed looking over your backpack while you were on this trip. I relate to the dilemma of nighttime tree visits and fitful sleep. On our recent camping trip I took along something my doctor gave to help sleep the first night. It worked perfectly, but I was cotton-headed the next day.

    Years ago on one of my first solo backpacking trips I went to Crabtree Falls. I started at the falls parking lot and hiked up, thinking I could get to the meadow before dark and that I would enjoy the solitude. I was not aware you could drive to the top and when I got there it was like a parking lot, full of people enjoying Jack Daniels and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

  2. This looks like a really great place to hike. It looks like you've been to a bunch of places. If you haven't done so, you guys should check out the Porcupine Mountains up in the UP of Michigan....really amazing hike.

  3. Hi Les - yeah, that balance between staying warm and staying dry! Man, those were cold trips outside the tent! I woke up with a "not enough sleep" headache and ended up taking some Tylinol, so maybe fuzzy headed would have been better. OMG that area around Upper Crabtree Meadows was like a carnival after being on top of Priest Mt. for the night. Art

  4. Hi Rohrerbot - thanks for the comment, it was indeed a great trip. I would love to hike in the Porcupines some day. For one thing I have not been to the Upper Peninsula. I heard that is a great and remote hike. Better not in black fly season, I guess. Some day...