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Commonwealth Basin, Red Pass

Oct 08, 2009

by George & Sally last modified Oct 09, 2009 10:10 AM
Type of Outing
Day hike
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Hike: Commonwealth Basin
Region: Snoqualmie Pass -- Snoqualmie Pass
Agency: Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie - North Bend District
Trails: Commonwealth Basin (#1033)
Avg Rating: 3.33
Read More in our Hiking Guide
Hike: Red Pass
Region: Snoqualmie Pass
Trails: Red Pass (#1033)
Avg Rating: 3.40
Be Aware Of
Water on trail
This was a solo hike up the old Commonwealth Basin trail that starts a short distance from the PCT parking lot. The Forest Service has it as an abandoned trail, but some of us hikers still use it. It shows on the 1976 copy of GT map 207 before the new section of the PCT was built to Spectacle Lake past the Kendall Katwalk. I had been up into the basin several times in the winter months snowshoeing, but not with the trail bare. So thought I would check the trail out up to Red Pass. The first part of the trail is on an old overgrown road, then heads steeply uphill to the basin and Commonwealth Creek. The creek crossing is a rock hop as the trail goes along the west side of the creek. There are a couple more creek crossings before the trail switchbacks up to meet the spur trail coming down from the PCT. The distance to the junction is 1.5 miles via the CBT or 2.5 miles on the PCT. The trail continues up the basin with two more creek crossings, then gets with the program. It turns steep and rocky up a ridge line with many swithbacks before getting to a small basin area at a pond at Lake Camp. From there the trail heads up to the ridge near Red Pass crossing a boulder field/scree slope. Once up on the ridge you get great views of peaks to the north with Mt. Thompson across the valley. The Middle Fork Snoq. River valley can be seen far below. Mt. Rainier can be seen to the south. I found a nice lunch spot while taking in the mountain vistas. I could see the old trail from Red Pass swithbacking down the north side that ends up at the old PCT by the Mid Fork Snoq. River. After taking more photos it was time to head back down. Only met 3 other hikers on this old trail, 1 on the way up and a couple on the way out. The only wildlife I saw all day was one Clark's Jay. After I had made the last creek crossing, about 100 yards down the trail I heard a loud growl, but did not see any animal. So don't know if is was a bear or maybe a cougar. Although the steep parts of this hike are somewhat tough, the views from the upper ridge make it worthwhile. George
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