Hansen Creek Quartz Crystals

Hansen Creek Quartz Cluster

Welcome to your online guide to Hansen Creek.  I created this blog in hope that I can help fellow Rockhounds to better prepare before they head out on their hunt for Crystals.  The Hansen Creek Crystal location is located just west of Snoqualimie Pass on Humpback Mountain.  This is considered to be one of the best and only locations in Washington state to collect beautiful, water clear, fully terminated Quartz Crystals as well as Purple Amethyst.

Amethyst

Hansen Creek Amethyst

Be on the lookout for some of the best Amethyst Scepter Crystals Washington State has to offer.  Though the pretty purple can be a little harder to come by, many people come here for the Amethyst Crystals alone.  The Amethyst at Hansen Creek tends to to be a very light purple color which can make it a little difficult to identify without cleaning them first.  There has been times when I have come home with a bag of dirty Crystals only to find the Amethyst after cleaning them up a bit.  It is for this reason that I suggest that you keep everything you find until you have properly cleaned and assessed each Crystal.

Hansen Creek Amethyst Cluster

The recommended Tools

There are many different methods and tools that one can use to dig for Crystals. Some folks enjoy picking through the loose dirt with their hands and nothing else.  You can find some nice over looked Crystals this way, but 9 times out of ten the loose dirt is someone else’s tailings pile.  In my opinion one can recover many more Crystals and of better quality with the right tools.

The following is a list of items that I would recommend taking with you on your trip.

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The first thing your going to need is a good shovel.  I have seen people using full size shovels but in my experience you can’t beat a good sturdy Mini Shovel.  You will understand when you get there and see how tight for space some of the holes are.

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The next thing that you are going to need is a Classifier Screen.  A Screen can make a world of a difference when it comes to looking for Crystals at Hansen Creek.  The dirt up there can very easily disguise even the biggest of Crystals, screening out the dirt is more effecient and will allow you to recover nearly 100% of the Crystals you dig up.

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Another recommended item one should definently consider taking with them is a good Head Lamp.  This is a must for getting into those productive holes that you will find under tree stumps.  Some of the holes go back 10 feet or more but even at the surface a good Head Lamp will make a world of difference.

Other things you might consider bringing would be Gloves, Knee Pads, a Hard Hat and of course plenty of Water, Snacks and Food.

Directions to the Rockhounding Area

To get to the Rockhounding area from Seattle, take I 90 East for about 50 minutes and take exit 47. Once you get off of I 90, take the first right followed by another right hand turn. From this point you are going to take the first left that presents itself. Follow the road a little ways until it curves sharply left.  Shortly after the curve you will come to another curve which is the parking area and the beginning of the trail.

Hansen Creek Crystals Map

Hansen Creek Map

If you are interested in knowing about more cool locations to go rockhounding in Washington State, you might be interested in Walker Valley Geodes.

I would also recommend that you check out Gem Trails Of Washington.  This is the new revised version and has much more info than the previously released version.  This is one of the best resources out there regarding Gems and Minerals in the Northwest, so make sure you have your copy.

Gem_Trails_of_Washington

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76 Comments Add yours

  1. Michael Garten says:

    Is this a fee site? Or is it on State or Federal land? Sounds like an interesting trip to make. Thank for preparing an informative description of this site.

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    1. Michael, it is not a fee site.

      Like

  2. udo andre says:

    this year .may be my last chance to break into a vug, copd taking its toll, cant hike far. entering 4th stage, so next year wont be able to hike at all, if still alive.may take hours to get to the hole, 50 ft at a time, stop, breathe, continue…but crystal fever will drive me up the hill . i know good spots between the purple pit and the garden slug that still have available vugs to break into…gotta hit at least one last one before i die. yep, i’m one hardcore, obsessed old school crystal hunter…..this your site, doug? when we going? -udo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nick90p says:

      Udo just spent my first weekend on the hill had a good trip but I wanna get into the deep stuff. If you are wIlling and able in two weeks I can carry all your gear to where we gotta go. I saw a udo was Here on a rock

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    2. Nicholas pflugh says:

      I am going to the hill this weekend. Would you be interested in going up. I can carry your gear and help you up to where we need to go.

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    3. Chris says:

      4th stage? You should really look into MMS by Jim Humble…might keep you a live.

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    4. Not my site My dear friend. Wishing you well. Sorry I got scared and turned back. I sat there in my truck that night. Saw Cowboy, and Big Joe- Then well, stuck, like a scared child anxiety. Apologizing now. This year, doing a bit better? I have a wheel barrow? Got a scooter? Be well my hard core hard rock mining friend. Rox and I signing off. I did create a blog site. This one far surpasses mine. Before I ever got started. Same site, I mean, Word Press any way. God damn it. I’m sorry Udo.

      Like

      1. udo andre says:

        Doug: Missed you, barely survived. Contact me asap. udoandre@hotmail.com I want to try and make one last trip. but will need help.

        udo

        ________________________________

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    5. Anonymous says:

      What’s your secret spot?! I’m a newbie with a fire to dig!

      Like

  3. robert jackson says:

    thank you very much for taking the time to help fellow rock hounds!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anonymous says:

      you rovk Bob!!!

      Like

  4. Joe Barreca says:

    Is this a fee site? It is mighty nice of you to share so much information if it is not.

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  5. Nicholas pflugh says:

    Udo please contact me.

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    1. udo andre says:

      sorry about the delay, been out of action for a while. my e-mail is udoandre@hotmail.com if you are still interested.

      Like

    2. Anonymous says:

      Just a random popular spot in the Cascades, some of my Seattle friends go all the time.

      Like

  6. Shannon Russell says:

    How hard of a hike is it… I have a really bad ankle so I want to be prepared. I wear flip flops 24/7 unless I’m asleep but have been able to hike on open trails depending on how steep the hills are. Thank you for taking your time to do this site.

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    1. The Hansen Creek digs are on a very step hill, so I wouldn’t recommend you go up the hill. The actual walk in isn’t too bad at all and you can still access some of the diggings right off the main trail. The good stuff is usually found up the hill a little but I have heard of nice amethyst being found right near the main trial, so have at it!

      Like

    2. I strongly suggest you dont try to hike up in flipflops. It’s about a mile hike up hill in dirt and rocks….then more hiking up or down the hill at the end of either trail. I suggest hiking/cross country shoes.

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      1. Frank says:

        The road in has a pretty good incline the first 1/2 mile and levels out after the rock quarry, for the remaining.4 of a mile. You could probably make it in with a light shoe. The hard part is when the trail turns into dig sites. There is a lot of climbing. You could maybe dig close to the trail and might find some crystals, but the good digging is 200 yards up the hill or more. For this trees are your friend and so is a good boot with ankle support. Hope this helps, Enjoy the dig!

        Like

  7. lauren says:

    This post got me to Hansen Creek. Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together.

    Question – there was a sign towards the top of the hill that said “Private Mine” and a few people up their picking away. So we just dug along the hillside instead. Do you know if that site is still actively private?

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    1. Hi, Lauren….Not sure about the private mining signs.

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    2. Hi Lauren. Yes that is an active claim up there. It might be a “pay” site. Thank you for being a great rockhound and not going into someone’s claim 😉

      Like

    3. It’s been a mystery. Even Hansen is a bit of a mystery. But I don’t think a tank and guns could keep people outta there. The upper has in the past had 5 private claims. Formerly maintained/owned by Jack Zexterite.
      Then he later sold them to one some say, “Rick Werst, or Dick Werst/West. Many claims made about Dick. i’ve met he and his wife. A few years back more like over 5. He was up on his claims, and walked a group of us down to the lower Hansen site. There was a period, That I was told he had lost his claims for certain reasons. But then when I hiked up there last year, i still saw his signs. I believe perhaps, still active. Try the Washington State Mineral Council. They also had an interest for a season at Hansen. The lower site at least. I am trying to remember the man who had the claim, before or after them? I am thinking it was like Charlie Biggs? But i don’t recall. Then there is the fact or allegation, that there are NO Quartz crystal claims allowed in Washington state. So maybe the Bananna, Garden, Slug other and the Purple pitts are, in fact, gold claims. Be well. Also the Gate or road to those upper claims has been closed by the US forestry service. with huge boulders. So Who knows if Dick still has his claims. But he has to walk in like everyone else. Udo mentioned that to me last year. And I also saw with my own eyes, it is so. Peace. Pack out what you pack in. Hopefully we will have this site until the end of time.
      Doug.

      Like

  8. can you get to site from the uphill side?

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    1. That I don’t know….

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      1. Udo Andre says:

        That’s where the garden slug claim is, and further, straight across through the woods, the purple pit. That upper road ends right at the claim. It’s got a gate on it now, but it was always off limits, big sign 50 yards in stating it to be a private claim, no trespassing, etc. Sure was easier way to get to the pit than hiking up that steep hill, but you’re taking a chance on getting busted as soon as you get there if Rick happens to be there at the time. You pass the banana slug claim on your way, about 3/4 mile up that road. Not much there, though.

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    2. No it’s someone’s claim 🙂

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Where is the purple pit and the garden slug?

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    1. I’ve heard of the two spot you mentioned but I honestly have no idea. If anyone else here can elaborate on where exactly the purple pit is or the garden slug I myself would be interested…

      Like

  10. Justin says:

    Super excited. ..headed up tomorrow with the family…thanks for the site and info. Keep your fingers crossed for something worth finding…lol… rock hounding cheers

    Like

  11. deb says:

    How does one know where to dig? Do you just guess?

    Like

    1. When you get there you’ll see a lot of places where people have been digging… Try any of these spots and you will find something for sure! I suggest moving around a little, one dig might have crystals of a slightly different character than another dig. Have fun exploring!

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      1. Please don’t dig underneath the live trees. It’s better to dig under the stumps of the logged trees so the roots of the living trees aren’t damaged so 🙂

        Like

  12. udo andre says:

    been kinda out of commission for a while.uh.. purple pit is the fairly open area which the main trails/talings lead to.quite a hike up steep terrain. you will know it when you reach the “top”- i.e. no more holes any higher. the garden slug is the claim, i believe, still owned by rick west. it is directly through the woodsy area to the right of the purple pit (looking up) about 100 yards or so. it used to be zetsgers mine. it is wide open, huge dirt/rock area- cant miss it. (although i suggest you do miss it ’cause otherwise you would be tresspassing on private claim, and rick is a real a-hole about that, guess i cant blame him.) the purple pit was the hottest area for scepters and purple for at least the 20 years i been working it, however these past 3 or 4 years have been lean, maybe it’s fished out, in any case, the real mineral zone now is in the woodsy area between the pit and the mine. lots of holes there now, but i remember when there were none. you can still break into vugs here and come away with beauty plates (clusters) and buckets of singles. big tree came down on my digs years ago, along with boulders and debris. buried about 12 to 15 nice clusters i had wrapped in newspaper ready to go. (at least i got out of the way!) so if you find clusters already wrapped- THEY’RE MINE! up and around now so maybe i will try a slow hike out there soon.
    udoandre@hotmail.com

    Like

  13. Erik says:

    Great write up. Wondering how bad the road in is? Can I take a car I care about?

    Like

    1. The road up ain’t bad. Remember that it is bout the same elevation as Snoqualmie pass. And it’s in the shade in the winter. I have been up there when the ice was too much for the car. But if ya been there and know the way you can cut through the woods to find the beginning of the trail 🙂

      Like

  14. tamuraj says:

    what about little kids? I would like to take my grandkids up, 6, 7 and 9 years.

    Like

    1. Many kids go up there 🙂

      Like

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wow, thanks for making this website!

    I am wondering how the houding is when it is wet. It is forcast to rain the day I would be able to go.

    Like

    1. udo andre says:

      best time for “surface mining”. rain clears the mud from beauties laying in the talings that diggers overlooked, or didn’t recognize. at the higher elevations, better crystals found on the surface- you may even end up not digging at all! only drawback- coming down is slippery. i suggest wearing football/baseball shoes with spikes- makes a major difference.

      Like

      1. Anonymous says:

        Thank you so much! Sounds like a perfect time for me to go as I prefer to just surface mine. Thanks for the tip about the shoes, too.

        Like

  16. udo andre says:

    you going tomorrow? (sat.) may see you there! i’ll be the little guy with the big crystals!

    Like

    1. Winter says:

      Really trshuwortty blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading..

      Like

  17. udo andre says:

    p.s. if you hear any heavy breathing in a hole, yep, that’s me.

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  18. Wanda Boothe says:

    My daughter informed me she needs a crystal as part of her Halloween costume.
    How slick is that dig site now that things are wetter?

    Like

    1. If you just take the trail to the dig sites you should be able to find what your looking for. If its raining and you try to go up the hill it can get pretty slick…but you don’t have to go up hill to find crystals…

      Like

  19. NikiP says:

    Hi everyone! When does the snow start to melt up there to start diggin?! 😀 I’m anxious!

    Like

    1. I haven’t been back up there yet myself… Anyone?

      Like

  20. Andy says:

    Hi folks,

    We just did our very first dig after I bought my Wife gem trails of washington for Mother’S Day at the rockshop in Lake City (nice folks). I had no idea what i was getting into and have no geology education. our 3 year old found the first and best clear quartz crystal!

    Thanks for this post. I had no idea some digs go back 10 feet. I was just digging on the sides of the stumps because I figured the crystals formed around them? next time go up I’m bringing a light and a screen and going deep. if you see a pair of morrel’s sticking lifelessly out of a hole like the wicked witch’s ruby slippers under the house, tell my family I loved them!

    Any other tips would be great like do the crystals form in clay veins, are there clusters? the main one we found was in someone else’s tailings. see you up there!

    Like

  21. Aries-Shane says:

    Very much appreciated info. I’m also curious as to what the best depth to be digging at is also. Like the darker gravely stuff with pyrite? Or the softer tan Sandy stuff? I’ve dug 2 seperate holes under different stumps. Found a few pretty pieces but nothing mind blowing that I’ve seen. Tips on finding that “sweet spot” would be amazing. Thanks again!!

    Like

    1. Udo Andre says:

      10 feet! Ha! Back on ’03 a friend of mine dug a hole/tunnel about the center of the purple pit, excavated for two years. He went straight in rather than following the slope, hit bedrock at 47 feet in! (We measured it.) Lined his crawlway with tree limbs bent shoring up the ceiling- looked like a Vietnamese tunnel!

      Scary as hell. I was the only one to ever follow him in all the way to the end. (A Russian ex-miner even backed out halfway through) Remember, Boris?

      The crawlway led to an open room about 8-10 feet in diameter and 8 feet high, this is no lie. the opening of the crawlway was maybe 3 feet or so off the floor so you literally had to drop in.He had dug holes in the walls of the room, half of them hitting vugs. Buckets of cluster, beauty plates.

      He started a hole in the floor, and I dug it down a little over three feet, chasing a milky quartz vein. (that’s one of the secrets- you see veins of milky quartz, or druss, in the hard rock, take hammer and chisel and break out the surrounding rock- follow the vein, many times you will hit a vug.)

      I popped the lid on a vug, came out as a plate about a foot and a half to two feet in diameter, with beauty scepters clustered. I gave it to him for letting me dig. Over the next three weekends I pulled maybe 60 to 75 pounds of crystals out of that one vug! Awesome plates, had to break them to get them out, no other way, but still got some good sized ones,

      I hit a pocket that was filled with singers. (diamantine crystals) Usually rare, there were over hundred. Kept those. The hundreds of single crystals just got tossed- no room when plates and scepters were so abundant.
      Decadence…yeah, good times.

      He used to cover the crawlway entrance with a piece of plywood, then cover it with rock so nobody would find and enter it. I told him not necessary, nobody’s got the guts to crawl that far in anyway!

      He would spend days in there, sleeping even! The air was thin that deep in, I could tell. I think it affected him cause the next year he got committed to the nuthouse. Haven’t heard from him since.

      Oh, yeah, Rick West took over, kept everybody out of the purple pit and collapsed most of the best holes, including that one. Tried digging it out, but seemed impossible, the way it weaved through the rock. Gave up.

      Like

    2. Udo Andre says:

      The area is a slump zone. Anything you find has worked its way down underground from above. I have found many nice specimens, but very rarely ever a plate. Many times one can find scepters and good crystals still embedded in the roots of the trees. Worthwhile to shke and clean them out.

      The real mineral zone starts up high, about the lower end of the purple pit.That where breaking hard rock, chasing milky quartz veins, one can still break into a vug. For a crystal hunter, there’s nothing like that experience of first breaking a vug, seeing those plates. Many times thay can’t be seen, still encased in mud. A collapsed vug will have this special kind of sticky dark brown mud associated. You find that, start scooping it out. Some vugs are small, with an opening you can just get your arm into. I’ve collected many small plates and clusters by “tickling” them out with a pair of long handled tweezers (12″ or more) best tool.

      Like

  22. Drew M. says:

    Hi. The family is looking to go there this weekend possibly. Is it still open legally to the public and is there anything we should know or prepare for before we go? Thanks in advance!

    Like

  23. John says:

    I’ve been collecting at Hansen for 30 years and found at lot of nice stuff, beautiful amethyst, nice clear crystals, some clusters, lots of scepters and double terminated crystals. Some are really good size, 3″, but mostly 1″-2″. Haven’t been up this summer but finally get a chance to go next week during the nice weather. Can’t wait. It’s like fishing. Never know what you’re going to catch or how big it will be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shane H says:

      I haven’t been lucky enough to find the purple, yet. Found a view scepter and some neat twin specimens about 3 inches long. Still hoping for the perfect floater that’s double terminated. And hoping for the purple someday. Hansen creek has a very interesting amethyst type. Also would be neat to pull a Japanese law twin. Happy hunting to everyone.

      Like

  24. Cattoo says:

    Going to Hansen Creek in a month. Good info on the cleats idea. I thought of that a year or two back and have since acquired a pair. They really do help a lot.

    Like

    1. Udo Andre says:

      You’ll be glad you did. I thought of it myself after my first year there. A couple guys I met first time out gave me some pointers, one of which was, “the trees are your friends.” I thought that rather cryptic until I headed down, slipping and sliding, I grabbed the limbs and the small trees and went, “Aha!”

      Make it up to the purple pit if you can and head into the woods to the right, halfway to Zetsgers mine is best spot for vugs and plates. Good luck.

      Like

  25. JohnWhite says:

    Lots of good info. here you all! Friends or ours went up a few weeks ago and we saw a nice little box full of crystals they found. They probably can’t lead us up this coming weekend, but with all the info. here, I think our group can find some crystals!

    Like

  26. William Rogers says:

    Just wanted to thank you for this blog. As a relatively newer rock hound (8 years), I am always looking for exciting and prosperous areas. I will be checking out this toward the end of March, in the next week or so.

    Like

  27. letticiadiaz says:

    Are there “rules” for crystal hunting here? I’ve never been before, but very interested in trying!

    Like

  28. Erick a says:

    Do you need a northwest forest pass or a discover pass? Can i still go if i have neither?

    Like

    1. udo andre says:

      Only one rule: NO GLOATING ! When you find that 4 inch Amethyst scepter with awesome inclusions and mobile air bubbles. Yeah, I broke the rule a few years back and was informed about it several times!

      Like

    2. Frank says:

      yes, no parking pass required.

      Like

  29. Kathy Silke says:

    Any directions for getting there from other than Seattle? GPS coordinates of the parking area or something? Would like to head there sometime but I’m from Oregon. Thanks!

    Like

    1. Frank says:

      Getting there from Oregon, the directions would be the same Exit 47 is the way in from I-90

      Like

  30. Shaun Glodowski says:

    Very new to hunting gems, I’ve looked at this page many times. Hoping to head up soon and add to my collection. I’ve always wanted to mine my own crystals. My daughter loves this stuff! Great blog and alot of great info. Cheers and happy hunting!

    Like

  31. Frank says:

    Hello, I have heard that to access this site you may need a Weyrehouser pass. Are there any restrictions on getting to the site?

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    1. Frank says:

      So now that I have been there I will answer my own question. There were no restrictions as this is on Forest service property. My son and I had a great 2 days! read below.

      Like

  32. Anonymous says:

    How far down the actual trail are the crystals? Hiked for at least 30 to 40 minutes and didn’t see anywhere that looked like dig sites.

    Like

    1. udo andre says:

      There wasn’t until they put them big damn boulders across the beginning of the road. Now you have to hike the mile or so up the road to get to the trail.

      Like

      1. udo andre says:

        You were 5 minutes away from the end of the road and the beginning of the trail. Sucks, huh?
        (It seems my prior comment was deleted. Too bad. Had lots of valuable information in it.) Oh well…

        Like

    2. Frank says:

      The hike in is .9 of a mile. You climb a incline for about 1/2 of it then it levels out after a stone query, for the other half. The trail literal ends into dig sites. So keep walking till then, then start climbing the hill. The higher you go the better!

      Like

  33. Frank says:

    So I just got back from a 2 day dig and camp out. The directions and map to get there are spot on! We parked our rig and hiked in the .9 mile. The first half has an incline after that it levels out after the stone query. The trail literal ends into a hill of dig sites. The first day my son and I only ventured up from the trail a total of about 100 yards. we dug in several holes and found small crystals and lots of pieces (small). We did dig under old stumps that did produce the best. We found about a quart size baggy of pieces the first day, keeping anything we found. The second day we climbed up the mountain through many dig sites going up about 400 yards. What a difference! After exploring a couple of stumps we hit a mother load! We were in a hole about 10 feet down and about 8 feet around. It had a crystal vein just full of stuff. My son could barely contain himself. The day before we were using a shaker screen with 1/4 inch mesh. This day everything changed. We hardly needed it and when we did use it we could pick out the rocks instead of the crystals. This second day we filled a 5 gallon bucket over 1/2 full, of finger size crystals, clusters and lots of fragment pieces. Not all of it was high quality but my son went for quantity. The hike back down the mountain was miserable. The bucket was very heavy and hard to manage trying to hold onto trees on the way down. We camped about 2 miles down from spur 5510 on the Tinkham rd. We found a spot next to the South fork of the Snoqualmie river. It made it great place to rinse the crystals at the end of the day. Hope this helps and happy digging! 8/30/18

    Like

    1. Talee says:

      First thank you for the great comments. Frank, since you was the last post, I have one question. Is there room for a truck and pull behind RV to get to the parking lot?

      Like

      1. Frank says:

        Talee, The parking spot is a wide corner in the road. The old road in to the crystals has been blocked by boulders. All together there is enough room to park about 8 vehicles. The wide shoulder there could fit a vehicle with maybe a 20′ camper. Turning around could be a bit tricky but doable. The Tinkham rd though offers many pullouts and side spurs that people camp on. Then you could drive just your vehicle to the trail head for digging. Hope this helps. Have a great time!

        Like

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