Boston-American Mining Company operations, Monte Cristo, 1919
Courtesy Everett Public Library (Nordlund Collection)
FEELING GHOSTY? HIKE TO MONTE CRISTO GHOST TOWN
There are many ghost towns in the Pacific Northwest and abandoned mines litter Snohomish County. One right out your door is the old ghost town of Monte Cristo, named for the Count of Monte Cristo. It was founded in the late 1800’s when gold and silver ore was discovered in the headwaters of the Sauk River. With backing from experienced mine developers, several mining companies were created, and a railroad was built to link Monte Cristo to the City of Everett. It remained a working gold and silver mining area until 1920, when an avalanche roared down and blocked the entrances. The last four miners hiked out. Two attempts were made in the 1960’s to develop the area into a resort, but access and snow not suitable for skiing made the efforts futile. The scenery in the area is stunningly beautiful. Tall peaks surround it on all sides. There are still some cabins, buildings and artifacts strewn around. After someone reported a fire, a volunteer group formed the Monte Cristo Preservation Association in 1983. Study up on this historical site before you go, by reading a more detailed history of Monte Cristo at https://www.historylink.org/File/8404, or http://www.ghosttownsofwashington.com. To reach the old ghost town, take the Mountain Loop Highway heading east to Barlow Pass where you can park and access the trailhead. There is a gate to prevent vehicles, but foot and bike traffic is fine. It is a four-mile hike to the site. Bring your camera, imagination and water. There is no potable water available. You will need a park pass, either an annual Discover Pass or a day pass ($5). You can purchase these online and print them before you head out at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbs/passes-permits/recreation. For those serious hikers, you can also take the trails from Barlow Pass to Silver Lake and Twin Lakes. Make it a day trip to the old town, or a weekend camping trip to fully explore this wonderful region.