The Cutthroat Loop is located off the Eagle Trail and provides for a nice hike along the bank of the Chelan River. The loop itself is .7 miles, but the total hike including the Eagle Trail and the short section along the Reach One trail make it a 3 mile round trip hike. This is a great wildflower hike in the spring. The hike is best done in the mornings in the summer as the trail doesn't have any shade, and pay attention to where you step, as rattlesnakes are occasionally encountered during the summer.
From the Chelan Butte trailhead, follow the Reach One trail for .4 miles, and then take the Eagle Trail for .7 miles at which point you will see signage for Cutthroat Loop on your left.
After forgetting my backpack with water and food the last time and only doing the Eagle trail, my son and I were better prepared and ready to tackle Cutthroat loop. There were a couple of cars at the Chelan Butte trailhead, but no hikers in sight as we set out along the Reach One trail.
Even this late in the season, there were still some wildflowers along the hike, with salsify/goatsbeard flowers having gone to seed and resembling giant dandelions. Farther along the trail I saw charming centuary, yarrow and fleabane.
The Chelan River had substantially less water than the last time we were here It was still pretty, but seemed to lacking the light blue glacial feed color we had seen in May. We reached the junction with the Eagle Trail without encountering anyone, and proceeded on our way. It was pretty hot out, but fortunately we had our water this time!
Cruising along the Eagle trail, we admired the wildflowers and as we neared the Cutthroat Loop, we saw a couple of deer standing on a slope above the Chelan River. They warily watched us as we hiked by, but went back to eating their shrubs once they determined we weren't a threat.
We reached the junction with Cutthroat Loop, and after a quick water and food break we went along our way. If it had been up to my son, we would have turned around at this point! But he agreed to continue with the plan of doing the loop - I couldn't live with two failed attempts at this hike.
As we followed the cutthroat loop north towards the river, it became fairly rocky once along the banks for the Chelan River. In general, the trail seemed a little less maintained than the Eagle Trail, but it was still a nice hike. Farther along the loop we found a fallen log to rest on and grab some water. It would have been nice to get some shade, but we didn't see any good shade spots nearby.
After our break, we finished the loop, passing by some rusted out metal along the way. This whole area must have been a dump at some point in the not too distant past, as the Reach One trail has a lot of old metal and glass strewn along the hillside. There wasn't quite as much old refuse on the loop, but it was still visible.
We made good time back along the Eagle trail, stopping once more for a quick water break. Along the Reach One trail we passed by our first and only other group during the hike.
The loop itself isn't anything spectacular, but all in all its a nice hike and worth doing. Now I just need to convince my son to hike a little farther so we can tick off the Coyote Loop. But that will probably have to wait until the fall and cooler temperatures.