Mill Pond Hike, Selkirk Mountains, Washington

     I had been wanting to check out the Mill Pond area before they remove the dam to return Sullivan Creek to the free flowing stream it once was. After passing through Metaline Falls we found the turn off for Sullivan Lake and in a few miles found the trailhead for the Mill Pond. After loading provisions we headed over to the spillway to checkout the falls. From below the outlet the view is stunning, a torrent of whitewater drops 75 feet to a beautiful Creek sweeping left out of view. I wondered if the outlet falls could be negotiated by raft, only if you had a death wish. After taking in the falls we crossed the dam on a sturdy bridge to a finger of land extending into the pond, the view across the man made body of water toward Hall Mountain and the rest of the Washington Selkirk mountains was splendid. After taking in the view we picked up the elevated trail around the west side of the pond on a man made dike, at a trail junction we went left, sticking to the lakeshore.

     We entered the cool forest along a lightly traveled path that started out a little overgrown before becoming a well trodden boot path. The forest here is young with a few larger trees sprinkled about. The trail spent most of its time above the pond shore and only offered the occasional glimpse to the pond below. We rambled along, sometimes up and sometimes down, I loved all the green moss that covered the forest floor. It didn’t take too long to reach a sign that read “end of maintained trail”. We continued on, crossed a muddy area, then found ourselves at the inlet of the Mill Pond at a sand beach loaded with enough rocks to entertain the arms of my children for days. I poked around a bit while they skipped rocks. I wandered over to Sullivan Creek, nothing quite does it for me like a mountain stream. Above the creek Hall Mountain dominated the upstream view, someday I gotta get to the top of that mountain, it beckons. After taking it all in I called the kids over to check out the creek, we explored a bit more before calling it quits. I briefly entertained fording the creek and making a loop out of the hike, but it would have been a production with the kids, we hiked out the same way we came in.

     Back at the dike we went left on a wide dirt path that was part of the old flume road to Metaline Falls. We walked the short interpretive trail reading up on the history of the trail. At one point we reached the site of an old latrine that was capable of seating 5 people at one time. A little further down we found an old homesteaders cabin that had been well preserved. It’s amazing that this is how our ancestors lived over 100 years ago, amazing. We opted not to enter the cabin as the floor was littered with all sorts of things, it wouldn’t have been safe. Continuing with the tour we stumbled across an old blacksmiths cabin, what a treat, even still preserved with a few artifacts from its heyday, how lucky are we that these things haven’t been stolen, too cool. The kids got a kick out of rooting around the area discovering relics from the past,  after saying goodbye to the blacksmith cabin we soon met back up with the trail along the elevated dike and not much later, the trailhead. We said goodbye to the Mill Pond for this was the last time we would lay eye on her, with the removal of the dam away goes the pond. I’m looking forward to coming back to check out Sullivan Creek carving its way along the valley floor flowing how god intended. For more pictures click the link. Mill Pond Hike Pictures


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