Review: United Flight 409 Crash, Snowy Mountains—1.5 Mile Walk
The Snowy Range is a small island range that I have mostly used for XC skiing in the winters. It’s pretty popular with people as the road goes right pretty much right up to the cliffs and thus one can see most things from one’s vehicle.
One thing that you can’t see from your vehicle is the wreckage of United Flight 409, which crashed in 1955 and killed all 66 people onboard. After the crash the government further blew it up to discourage visitors, but you can still see plenty of the wreckage. I’ve made a little KML file/map that you can download with a free Gaia account if you’d like to know more, but it’s pretty simple to access.
Since it’s more of a neature walk than anything else, this won’t be a detailed review. Starting at the Mirror Lake parking lot, follow the trail until just before Lookout Lake and then cross down and walk up the little ridge and across the boulderfield toward the mountains. A small, tarn-like pond is right beside one of the engines. You can climb the slopes about 500 feet or so to see all of the wreckage. Watch out for falling rocks during times of thermal expansion and contraction; a few boulders were flying off the cliffs when I visited in the fall and they would easily kill a person.
On the way back, you can sometimes cross the pinched area of Lookout Lake via rock-hopping. Otherwise, just reverse course.
This is a great little jaunt that everyone should do!