Friday, July 22, 2016

Trail Report: Snoqualmie Mountain

Round trip distance: 3.8 miles
Highest point: 6,278 feet
Elevation gain: 3,105 feet
Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

WTA page:

My third hike since moving back to Washington was Snoqualmie Mountain. I usually say that Mailbox Peak is my favorite hike, and Snoqualmie Mountain is my other favorite. Like Mailbox, Snoqualmie goes straight up the side of the mountain, but it's a little less intense than Mailbox and more scenic. 

I really like this hike because of the variety of the terrain: it starts out climbing up loose rocks and over roots through the brush, then goes through a forest, and then breaks out of the forest and climbs a rocky section to get to the summit.

The last time I did this hike was in 2014. The first time the rocky section near the top had too much snow to continue, but I came back later in the summer and reached the summit then. I'll be using pictures from my 2014 hike to show the trail, because I didn't take any for this hike except at the top. For this hike, there was no snow on the trail, and unfortunately the waterfall was dried up at this time of the year.

Waterfall on the 2014 hike

This is as far as I got on my 2014 hike

To get to the hike, take exit 52 to West Summit, and then take a left and cross under I-90, heading towards Alpental. Continue on this road until reaching the large gravel parking lot. The trailhead for Snoqualmie Mountain isn't obvious. It's about 20-30 feet before reaching the Snow Lake trailhead. It's not marked, and it's a narrow dirt path through the brush.

Beginning of the trail

Once reaching the trees, the trail goes over rocks, roots, and branches. I think this part of the trail is a lot of fun, but I tend to like trails that are less maintained and more rugged.

Part of the trail

The majority of the trail is steep and the first portion is often wet and slightly muddy.

After traveling through the trees, the trail opens up to a boulder field and splits. Stay to the left to follow the Snoqualmie Mountain trail (this is often marked by cairns). Going to the right leads to Guye Peak.

Guye Peak

A neighboring mountain seen on the way up

I did this year's hike with a friend, MB, and I'll be using a few of the pictures she took as well. After hiking through more trees, the trail continues onto an open section of the mountain which has a rockier terrain.

MB beginning to get out of the trees and onto the rockier path. Photo credit MB.

The final push to the top. Photo credit MB.

Not at the top yet. Photo credit MB.

The rest of the pictures are mine and were all taken at the summit. I think Snoqualmie Mountain has some of the best views in the I-90 corridor. Usually Mt. Rainier can be seen, but there was too much cloud cover in that direction at the time of our hike.

Looking east to Keechelus Lake.

Looking north

Panorama from the summit. Click to make larger!

MB (left) and I (right) at the summit

I highly recommend this hike if you're looking for a physical challenge and awesome views from the summit!

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