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Rooster Mountain

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If you're up for it, the steep hike up Rooster Mountain will have you crowing--in agony after the thigh-burning 4000-foot gain, and with pleasure over the outstanding views. The Rooster Mountain Trail takes advantage of old logging roads for much of the route, but then follows an old boot-built path up a side canyon above Quartz Creek. Not for the faint of heart, but this route does boast outstanding rewards for those willing to put in the (considerable) effort.

Follow the Taylor River Road/trail for about 0.4 mile to a Y junction, and stay left to climb through a broad, sweeping turn into the Quartz Creek valley. Following the old logging road up this narrow valley leads you in 2 miles to a road split at 2400 feet. The main Quartz Creek Trail follows the old roadbed to the left, to Lake Blethen. Rooster Mountain is off to the right.

As you veer right, you'll climb steeply for another few hundred yards before the roadbed disappears and you find yourself on a narrow, steep single-track path. The trail climbs ruthlessly, foregoing such extravagances as switchbacks, for another 2 miles, gaining nearly 2900 feet in that distance. But you'll enjoy remarkable views for much of the climb, and once at the summit you'll be able to stare in wonder at peaks including Russian Butte and Bessemer Mountain.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 34 (Edgewick Road). Turn left (north) onto 468th Street and follow it to the junction with the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road (Forest Road 56). Turn right and continue up the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road for 12.5 miles to the Taylor River Road (just past the Middle Fork trailhead parking area). Turn left onto the Taylor River Road and drive to a wide parking area at its end, in about 0.5 mile.

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 15 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Rooster Mountain — Aug 03, 2013 — Eric G.
Day hike
Issues: Overgrown | Mudholes | Bugs
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After following the directions, we reached the trail head and weren't sure we were in the right plac...
After following the directions, we reached the trail head and weren't sure we were in the right place. The posted map made no mention of Rooster Mountain.

We hiked forth and used a GPS to make sure we took the right split in the road, as it was again not labeled as Rooster Mountain but as Quartz Valley Trail.

The massive culverts, some 5 or so feet deep, should have been a sign to turn back. But We kept going, eager to find the amazing views the trail promised.

When we hit 2 mi., there was no sign of another split, and so we proceeded on the trail until we hit a split. We found nothing marked and proceed up until a split that had one better option than the other.

As the guide says, the trail quickly becomes a single person trail. However, it quickly become so over-grown that it was impossible to tell if we were on a human trail or a game trail. At times the trail becomes rocky and resembles more of a water run-off trail.

At this point, the bugs descended on us, biting through clothes. But we were getting close, so we fought through the thorny branches and bugs destroying us.

As we neared the top, the trail become nearly impossible to keep and at one point, it just stopped. At this point we encountered another party seeking roster mountain who had been there a while, scouting for the continuation of the trail to no avail. We had traveled well past the 4 mi. distance offered by the guide, so we could only assume we lost the real trail at some point during the bushwhacking.

This trail is in serious need of maintenance, and with the exception of two peek-a-boo views, is not a very pretty trail. Unless you know exactly where you need to go to reach the summit of Rooster Mountain, don't attempt this trail.
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Rooster Mountain — Jun 17, 2013 — AlpineLakesSpeedPika
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Blowdowns | Overgrown | Washouts | Water on trail | Snow on trail | Bugs
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Let me start off by saying this is the first trip report I have ever written and I'm a trail runner ...
Let me start off by saying this is the first trip report I have ever written and I'm a trail runner that is just now getting into peak bagging for training so I apologize if this isn't the best report.
This afternoon my friend and I made what we believe is the first 2013 summit of Rooster Mountain or The Arc as its also known. We began by using the traditional route which is the Quartz Creek Trail. The trail was in great condition minus the massive old culvert holes. At the final junction on the QCT the normal way to go is to take a right and begin the gnarly boot path. Every trip report we have read of attempted summits this year spoke of going right and then getting shut down at a large clearing not far ahead. So like idiots we decided to go left towards Lake Blethen but then almost immediately head north off the trail to ascend straight up a gully the ridge line.... bad idea. The next half to three quarters of a mile were some seriously heinous bushwhacking with more bugs than I have ever encountered. It was horrible. After the bushwhacking we hit a near 45 degree slab wall the ascended what appeared to be around 1000' to the ridge line. Do not go this way unless you are extremely confident in your abilities. Not only was the slab long and steep but it was also very featureless and had running water pouring down much of it. Although it wasn't true climbing due to the angle we both considered it class 4/5 (we climb) as it required hands at all time to stabilize and pull up and if you slip... well don't. We finally reached the ridge line and proceeded east over two false summits before the true one that had class 3/4 scrambling to ascend. The last few feet to the summit require some nimble footwork atop the knife edge spine of the ridge with crazy exposure on both sides. We made it! Now we realized we were late to get back to town so didn't linger though the views were amazing. On the way back we descended using a long talus field just to the east of the slab we had used to ascend. Had we known it was there earlier there is no way we would have gone up the slab. At the bottom of the talus field there was a bit more bushwhacking and an army of insects till we met up again with the trail. A quick three mile run and we were back at the car alive and well. Hopefully this report is useful and you can either learn from our mistakes or get a little crazy and use our nutty way.

I wanted to mention briefly that we both practice "leave no trace" and we do not bushwhack if we would be destroying foliage/fauna. Sure we grabbed the occasional conifer for stability but now ground plants beyond the occasional patch of moss died because of us. Happy trails!
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Rooster Mountain — Jun 07, 2013 — GratefulWanderer
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Overgrown | Mudholes | Water on trail | Snow on trail | Bugs
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After reading the trip reports on, it appears that most people have reached the same locatio...
After reading the trip reports on, it appears that most people have reached the same location before turning back: the large clearing at about 4000'. We reached this same location, but by a bit more unconventional means.

After the long drive down NF-5600 (SE Middle Fork Rd), we started our hike at the Lake Snoqualmie Trailhead (Taylor River Gate). The junction of the Lake Snoqualmie and Quartz Creek trails comes up quick, but it is obvious and there is a signpost to point the way. The Quartz Creek trail (QCT) is actually a road, but it is in pretty good condition. Well, except for the numerous valleys across the road where it looks like old culverts have been removed. The smallest of these were only a foot or two deep, but the largest was probably over 10' deep. The sides are a little steep, but there is really no other way around.

We continued through the downs and ups of the QCT for about 2 more miles until we reached the next "junction". To left is a nice viewpoint looking out across the valley. To the right, the QCT continues with a switchback and about 3/4 of a mile before the next junction. The QCT continues to the right, while to the left there is supposedly a trail leading to Lake Blethen, but I did not see it.

Taking the trail to the right, we followed the QCT road along a couple long switchbacks for another mile to where the trail splits once again. This is where things got interesting. The trail toward Rooster Mountain continues with a switchback on the left, but the road actually continues straight for a little less than a quarter mile before it hits some trickling water and a dead end.

Having missed the turnoff for the trail, we decided to bushwhack straight up hoping to intersect the trail shown on the Green Trails map. We gained 1000' of elevation in just about half of a mile. That side of the mountain was directly in the sun, so the hillside was very dry. In fact, it looked as if there had been a forest fire there at one point in time. After an hour and a half of bushwhacking up the very steep and bushy hillside, we intersected the trail. Despite the scratches and burning legs muscles, the bushwhack was definitely worth the view and the solitude of standing in the open on the side of the mountain.

Back on the trail, we came across the first patches of snow we had seen all day. At that point, we were around 3900' - 4000'. We decided that after 5 hours on the trail and a rough bushwhack that we would follow the trail down to see where had missed the turnoff. Just under a half mile of hiking brought us to the point where most people have turned around; the large clearing at 4000'. There were some patches of snow in the low areas of the clearing, but for the most part it was snow free except for where the trail was. It was a bittersweet moment as we could see the summit of Rooster Mountain poking up just behind the trees, but since it was getting late we decided to soak in the view and continue back down toward the QCT.

We picked up some footprints in the snow and followed them down along the trail to about 3500' feet where the snow ended (or started, for the ascent). At that point the trail had turned back into the familiar look of a logging road until we popped out at the previously mentioned turnoff. It was easy hiking from there on out, following the logging road down to the QCT and back to the gate.

There is definitely a second attempt at the summit in the near future.

Trail Notes: In a few spots there was some water and mud on the trail, but nothing to soak your boots. There is snow starting at about 3500', but it is pretty solid for now. We only post-holed a couple times. Bugs were swarming, including mosquitos, on this trail. Be sure to bring some kind of repellant. There were many very small streams tickling along and over the trail that could be used as a water source.

-- More pictures on Instagram (@gratefulwanderer) and Flickr (Grateful Wanderer) --
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Rooster Mountain — May 30, 2013 — Harris
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Overgrown | Mudholes | Washouts | Water on trail | Snow on trail
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I couldn't make it to the summit. Is there anyone who made this? It rained crazily today, overgrow...
I couldn't make it to the summit. Is there anyone who made this?
It rained crazily today, overgrown and unmaintained trail, too much snow on the trail, white-out, and lost.
I started this hike around 1pm because the guidebook said it's only 8 miles round trip.
I hiked 9 miles (my "ramblr" app and my Garmin Oregon show the same distance) but still couldn't get to the top.
I heard many people who attempted this trail insist that there is no trail to the summit of Rooster Mountain.
I also recommend this trail who really want to hack your route to the top.

More pics with map @
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Rooster Mountain — Jul 06, 2012 — Tacoman
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Overgrown | Snow on trail
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I was able to follow the prior trip report instructions from until about 4100 or 4200ft (GPS reporte...
I was able to follow the prior trip report instructions from until about 4100 or 4200ft (GPS reported) where I lost the trail. At this point the road had turned into a trail. There were scattered snow patchs. There was a fork in the trail, neither looked well traveled. I went left and walked a couple hundred feet to an untracked patch of snow. I backtracked and tried the right fork and hiked a quarter mile and gained some elevation to where the trail died out. I was not equipped for snow/mud travel so I went back. I was using Garmin GPS with Mapsource maps. The trails roughly followed the roads in Mapsource.

But.. The weather was great and it was a really nice hike in the woods. It was midweek and after turning off the Taylor River trail I only saw one other hiker when I was walking in and one on the way out. I expected a lot more traffic based on the number of cars at the trailhead (about 20). Next time I will try Lake Blethan.
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Rooster Mountain hikingwithmybrother.jpg
Summit of Rooster Mountain. Photo by Hikingwithmybrother.
Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District
Roundtrip 8.0 miles
Elevation Gain 4100 ft
Highest Point 5340 ft
Mountain views
User info
Northwest Forest Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Mount Si No. 174

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