HIKE OF THE MONTH: Granite Mountain
Snoqualmie Pass views worth the steep ascent
Hike to a restored fire lookout and some of the best views in the Snoqualmie Pass area. Marvel at bear grass and wildflowers galore. What’s not to love about this hike? Perhaps the climb! It’s a steep and rocky-at-times bear of a hike! But even that doesn’t keep the crowds away, so opt for a weekday when you can enjoy more of this peak for yourself and give the marmots a little break from the commotion.
The trail starts as a wide path. Start hiking through mature second growth with the freeway humming in the background. Cross twice a cascading creek and reach a junction. You want to go right and after some gentle side-sloping, switchback along the edge of a brushy avalanche chute. Then cross the chute enjoying an excellent view straight down to I-90.
The climb eases as the way snakes through beautiful meadows. Much of Granite’s upper reaches succumbed to wildfires leaving bear grass, blueberry bushes and mountain ash in its wake. All three provide excellent forage for the mountain’s resident pikas and marmots.
The trail enters the Alpine Wilderness Area and bends west reaching a little basin graced with some pools. It then works its way through boulder fields, snow patches and mud holes. Careless hikers have trampled
paths through the meadows—stick to the trail and help guide wayward hikers back to legitimate tread.
Reach a small gap; then traverse a basin beneath the summit block before making the final grunt to the rocky 5,629-foot summit topped by a restored fire lookout. Check it out and the sweeping views. Rainier dominates. Look east to west all along the I-90 corridor at its popular peaks, lakes, and ski hills. Walk to the northern end of the summit for an excellent view of Crystal Lake in a basin directly below—and out to scads of other lakes and craggy summits in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
Try out this hike
Location: Snoqualmie Pass Region, in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Land Agency: National Forest Service
Roundtrip: 9.0 miles
Elevation gain: 3,700 feet
Notes: Northwest Forest pass required; Alpine Lakes Wilderness use permit required May 15—Oct. 31, free, self-issued at trailhead; Dogs permitted on leash; Practice Leave No Trace Principles
Directions: From Seattle, take I-90 east to Exit 47 turning left and reaching a junction in 0.1 mile. Then turn left and reach trailhead in 0.3 mile.
About the author
Craig Romano (www.CraigRomano.com) is an award-winning guidebook author. He has written more than 20 books on Northwest hiking destinations. Check out his “100 Classic Hikes Washington” (Mountaineers Books) for detailed information on many other spectacular hikes in the Snoqualmie Pass region.
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