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Mount Washington

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Grand views, spectacular spring wildflowers, and easy access make this a great after-work outing or an early spring escape. The route follows an old logging road turned trail up a rock-rimmed mountain, providing hikers a good workout absent crowds.

Find the access trail near the restroom building. This short spur trail cuts up to an old roadbed, which leads in turn to the Iron Horse Trail. Follow the Iron Horse rail-trail west a few hundred yards before turning left (south) onto an unmarked trail which dips down slightly as it heads into the woods and then begins to climb. This trail continues in long switchbacks, climbing the northern face of Mount Washington.

Much of the landscape has been logged at some distant point in the past, but as you climb, the cleared areas--now thick with green growth--offer grand views. The road/trail winds up the steep face of the mountain, over and around rocky bluffs, craggy cliffs, and deep ravines. On sunny summer weekends you might find superhero wannabes doing Spiderman impersonations on many of the rock walls.

Your route climbs continuously from the Iron Horse. Any time you en-counter a spur trail, stick to the main trail and continue up, up, up. At 2 miles you'll find grand views from a bench on the flank of the mountain. This area provides great northwest views. Enjoy them, and then head back the way you came.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle drive east on I-90 to exit 38. Turn right (south) onto old US 10 and just after crossing the South Fork Snoqualmie River, turn right again into Olallie State Park/Twin Falls Section.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 233 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Mount Washington — Mar 22, 2014 — Norm
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Issues: Snow on trail
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Weather report looked favorable for a trip avoiding open avalanche slopes, so Don and I decided on M...
Weather report looked favorable for a trip avoiding open avalanche slopes, so Don and I decided on Mount Washington. We drove to exit 38 off I90 and parked in the Olallie State Park, making sure to have our Discovery Pass displayed before departing the trailhead. We left the vehicle at 0800 and headed up the road to an unmarked trail on the left, and continued up following many other tracks to a basin and junction at 3600’. There we decided to go right (trail on map goes left) and continue up slope with ever deepening snow and steeper slopes. We finally had to put on the snowshoes to prevent post-holing up to our knees in the powdery white stuff. We arrived on top at 1200, had lunch in the sun and took in the great panoramic views, both visually and with our cameras. Don mentioned we might take another route back so we went down to the south and followed the road around an easterly point and back to the junction at 3600’, making a complete loop and getting more strenuous exercise with the snowshoes in the soft snow.
We arrived back at the vehicle at 1610 and Don’s GPS said we had gone 10.25 miles.
The snow on the road from the parking area (1300’) to the unmarked trail on the left had melted off by the time we returned. Traction devices might be in order with the warming days and cool nights. We used our snow shoes above 3700’, due to recent snowfall, along with our trekking poles. A mountain axe might be helpful on the very steep areas toward the north side of the mountain. See map in link below for route.
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Mount Washington — Mar 16, 2014 — byrondailey
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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This is a very pretty trail and, at this time of year, a deserted one. I was the first one in the pa...
This is a very pretty trail and, at this time of year, a deserted one. I was the first one in the parking lot at 7:30am, and I only saw one other small group on the trail in a period of 4 hours. It has been raining heavily lately, so there is a lot of water and the streams (one of which you need to ford) are fairly high and moving quickly, so you need to be ready to walk through a lot of water. About 3/4 of the way up, there starts to be a lot of snow, and it gets deep quickly as you ascend, so snowshoes are very helpful.

Although I didn't have a way to measure it accurately, I think the round trip is quite a bit more than 5 miles (based on my time and other reports available online), and the parking lot seems to be at around 1200' rather than 1500'. Also, at least in the winter, it's not at all clear where the trail ends. The actual summit appears to be at 4400', but it looks like you'll be using other trails to get there.

Even without the expansive views, due to fog, this is a gorgeous trail. But be prepared for a much longer hike than this website says it is.
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Mount Washington — Feb 28, 2014 — thetreemusketeers
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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It was a beautiful day for a snowshoe! The trailhead was snow free and we were the first people ther...
It was a beautiful day for a snowshoe! The trailhead was snow free and we were the first people there at 9am. We only saw three other groups the whole day. Snow started on the trail at about half a mile and we switched to snowshoes at around 3300 ft when the postholing began to get annoying and knee deep. We pasted a few people on the way down that were having a difficult time post holing up to their waists about a mile from the summit so I would definetly recommend snowshoes. We made it to the summit around 12:30 and had a beautiful view of Mt Rainier. There was only one tricky spot near the top where the snow piles up really high overhead but we managed to get around it.
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Mount Washington — Feb 15, 2014 — grummer
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Mudholes | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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The forecast predicted high winds and heavy rain. It was spot on. It rained on us all day, only t...
The forecast predicted high winds and heavy rain. It was spot on.

It rained on us all day, only turning to snow for a few minutes near the top before turning back to rain. About half the trail was covered in snow, but most of it was turning to a slushy mess by noon. We had poles but no snowshoes or spikes and we managed just fine. The winds were pretty brutal at the top, but fortunately there is a small shelter of trees to stand in near the cell phone tower.

The most interesting part of the trip was a sinkhole that formed in the middle of the trail as we were walking down it. It was a clear section of trail near a small stream but no water passing over the trail. The ground began to collapse when my friend in front of me stepped on the area but then I watched as the dirt and rocks around it caved in and the hole grew to about a foot deep and at least 2 ft in diameter with us standing back to watch in amazement. I wish I had taken a picture but the pouring rain deterred me from opening my pack to dig out my camera. You'll have to hike this trail to see it for yourself!
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Mount Washington — Feb 09, 2014 — Christopher
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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A quick jaunt up most of Mt. Washington with K. & J. Blustery at the bottom, but calm and seemingly...
A quick jaunt up most of Mt. Washington with K. & J. Blustery at the bottom, but calm and seemingly warmer up higher.

The lower trail is rocky and a bit slick, but after the Owl Lookout (2 miles) the snow depth increases and it gets easier. The snow was relatively fluffy, and easy to hike in without traction. We turned around about 500 vertical ft shy of the summit due to time constraints, and there was a bit over a foot of snow there.

Lots of amazing ice formations...made for a beautiful hike, despite poor visibility!
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mount washington whitebark.jpg
Location
Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Washington State Parks
Statistics
Roundtrip 5.0 miles
Elevation Gain 2500 ft
Highest Point 4000 ft
Features
Wildflowers/Meadows
Mountain views
User info
Dogs allowed on leash
Discover Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Bandera No. 206

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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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