McLaughlin Canyon

  • McLaughlin Canyon
  • McLaughlin Canyon 1
  • McLaughlin Canyon 2
  • McLoughlin Canyon 3
  • McLoughlin Canyon 4
  • McLoughlin Canyon 5
  • McLoughlin Canyon 6
  • McLoughlin Canyon 7
  • McLoughlin Canyon 8

McLaughlin Canyon is the jewel of the Okanogan - it doesn't always have the best quality rock in the region, but the combination of variety of routes, easy access, beautiful scenery and wildlife habitat (still stunning even after the devastating fires of 2007 and 2015), and colorful history (site of the 1858 Caribou Trail Indian ambush and skirmish - with BC bound gold miners) make for a great all-round experience.

It has wonderful opportunities for hiking and climbing, and although much of it is private land with the boundaries on the ground mostly unmarked, it is an easy place to explore and do some great climbing. (Consult the drawn map in the photo gallery here, and also it is recommended to look at the aerial photo of property boundaries on the Okanogan County Assessors map, especially when heading for the Northern Crag.)

The canyon cliffs are gneiss, and over 400' tall in areas. Most of the rock on the north and east sides of the county road is private, although there are small sections of cliff around the trailhead, as well as an extensive section of cliffs to the far north which are public. There are also several good bouldering sites on both public and private lands.

Note: with a few exceptions ALL the rock north of the county road is private and thus off bounds for climbing. All the rock south of the road is public (BLM), and there are many cracks and corners that can be led with gear. Most of these old school trad routes have no publicly shared beta and so provide a true sense of adventure. But be careful, especially if you plan to explore these lines ground-up; be aware of the abundance of dirty, brittle and/or loose rock, bring a full rack of cams and nuts, some long slings, a wire brush, helmet, and trusted partner! The new face climbs (many bolted) are concentrated in the more remote South Canyon and other lesser surrounding crags, leaving the Main Canyon for the trad inclined...

Also, be aware that the few remaining snags along the valley floor sometimes fall over, and no matter where you hike or climb here be alert for rattle snakes (especially from early April to late October).

Getting There :
From "The Junction" in Tonasket travel south on Hwy 97 for 4 miles and turn left just before the Janis Bridge. Follow Janis Rd for 0.3 miles, and turn left up McLaughlin Canyon Rd. Park on the right after 1.6 miles (elevation 1450'), and enjoy the gentle mile long trail down the main South Canyon, which was devastated by fire in 2007 and 2015, but still makes for a beautiful hike