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Mount Catherine

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Cross-country skiers and snowshoers have long enjoyed Mount Catherine, but hikers have pretty much ignored this Snoqualmie Pass peak since the middle of the twentieth century. The route is short, and the close-in views encompass sprawling clear-cuts, so perhaps hikers simply decided it wasn't worth a visit--even map makers have neglected to include the trail on their maps. But when the masses wrote off this route as unworthy, they actually made it more enjoyable for the rest of us. You'll find fine views from Mount Catherine once you lift your eyes above the logging scars on the slopes below. You'll also find broad thickets of huckleberries and an array of birds and animals that take advantage of that abundant juicy fruit.

The trail climbs east up the flank of Mount Catherine, utilizing an old logging track for the first 0.5 mile. After crossing an old berry-filled clear-cut the trail runs into the forest before climbing switchbacks for 0.7 mile. Most of the elevation gain comes with these hairpin turns. Visit in early August most years and you'll find a rich crop of huckleberries in the trail's first mile.

Once on the ridge top, the trail turns and runs steeply up the spine to the summit of the mountain. Along this section the trail pops in and out of forest, providing grand views as you hike. Tinkham Peak and Silver Peak can be seen to the south and, once atop Catherine, look north to the peaks of Snoqualmie Pass.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 54 (signed "Hyak"). At the bottom of the ramp check your odometer, then turn right, followed by a left onto a gravel road leading into a broad parking lot at the base of the Hyak Ski Area. Stay left as you cross the parking lot and find a road (signed "Hyak Estates Drive") leading east out of the center of the parking lot. Continue east through a series of vacation homes and public works buildings. The road soon turns to gravel and becomes Forest Road 9070. Continue up the road past the Tinkham-Silver Peak Trail to a small parking area signed "Mount Catherine" (if gun nuts haven't blasted the sign to bits again), about 8.5 miles from the freeway.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 87 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Mount Catherine — Nov 15, 2012 — binliu.seattle
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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It's blue sky in Seattle, and remained that way even after North Bend. But at Snoqualmie Pass cloud ...
It's blue sky in Seattle, and remained that way even after North Bend. But at Snoqualmie Pass cloud coverage was almost 100%. Car had to stop at the lower end of the hairpin of forest road, 1.5 away from trail head. 2-4 inches of snow on road/trail. Trail easily recognizable. Only ran into one person - a cross-country skier. Snow's generally hard so travel easy and pleasant.

Album: http://tinyurl.com/clx7nsz
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Mount Catherine — Oct 21, 2012 — onehikeaweek
Day hike
Issues: Overgrown | Snow on trail | No water source
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Originally wanted to hike up Gardner, but the service road was closed five miles before the trailhea...
Originally wanted to hike up Gardner, but the service road was closed five miles before the trailhead. My other option was Mount Catherine so the dogs and I went here. Luckily I was able to drive all the way to the trailhead despite the few inches of new snow. Three cars parked just down the road in fear of getting stuck in the snow and they were smart.

We ran into one hiker on his way down and met another hiker on the summit. The weather turned out to be better than the forecast, thank god! The dogs and I spent half hour at the top for some photo ops and then headed back down to the car.

Traction device optional, not enough snow for snowshoes.
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Mount Catherine — Oct 20, 2012 — Wendy W
Day hike
Issues: Water on trail | Snow on trail
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The first snow of the season made Mount Catherine special today! The fresh powder on the fall leaves...
The first snow of the season made Mount Catherine special today! The fresh powder on the fall leaves was so pretty especially when the sun peeked through the clouds.
We were the first ones to drive up the snowy FR 9070. It's in good shape but with some pot holes.
There were about 2 inches of snow at the trailhead and it was snowing when we started. It stopped before we got to the top.
The fresh powder was nice to walk in.
We had the place to ourselves until we were on our way down and passed a man with dogs heading up.
There was a lot of water on the trail in a few places so we did we we could to improve the drainage.
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Mount Catherine — Sep 16, 2012 — hikergirl
Day hike
Features: Fall foliage
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The directions on the hike description are pretty acurate, but as you follow the road out of the par...
The directions on the hike description are pretty acurate, but as you follow the road out of the parking lot, you will see construction, the road bends right, keep going. The trail is down the gravel road about 5-6miles, after two hard switch backs. 1345 is the trail number. The gravel road is doable in a Camary, but would caution cars with less of a clearance to do this. OR take it really slow. We got to the trail head at 12:30PM and were the only people there. Shortly there after joined by two more ladies.

This is a short and steep hike, the trail is in great shape. The WTA did a lot of great work last fall to repair the trail. Rocky in the beginning(maybe first quarter mile or so), then gets pretty smooth. Steep, with several switchbacks, gains about 1600ft of elevation gain in roughly 1.5 miles. The last 10 feet, are very steep, but cables, and tree branches or poles make it very passable. Lots of bugs at the top(gnat type, no biting) At summit, 3 people total in addition to us two. On the way down, saw one other pair.

The views are 360degrees, and unfortunatley for us today it was very hazy from the forest fires. Looking West you can see Granite mountain and its look out, Rainer to the south and of course the I-90 "river".

Time to top: 1 hour, time down 40mins.

No water on the trail and a bit exposed, so make sure you have your needed water for the hike.
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Mount Catherine — Sep 08, 2012 — rodgowdy
Day hike
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We were hoping to find some huckleberries, but they were all gone. About half of the "Huckleberry" p...
We were hoping to find some huckleberries, but they were all gone. About half of the "Huckleberry" plants were actually Wild Blueberries, but they were also mostly gone.

It was a real pleasure to chat with the WTA Volunteers working on the trail!WAY TO GO WTA!

The weather was beautiful, vista of Silver Peak, Tinkham and Mt. Rainier were exquisite.

There were bugs at the top, but weren't interested in humans.

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Mount Catherine by Foxterrierguy.jpg
Mount Catherine by Foxterrierguy
WTA worked here!
2011, 2012
Location
Mount Catherine (#1348)
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Cle Elum Ranger District
Statistics
Roundtrip 3.0 miles
Elevation Gain 1300 ft
Highest Point 5052 ft
Features
Wildflowers/Meadows
Summits
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 207

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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Red MarkerMount Catherine
47.3701333333 -121.4443
  • Trail Work 2012
  • Trail Work 2011
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