Trails for everyone, forever

Home Go Hiking Hiking Guide Elbow Peak
link

WTA is a nonprofit that depends on donations from hikers like you

To help fund resources like this hiking guide you're on right now, we're working to raise $150,000 on #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving. If everyone who visited this site this weekend gave just $5, we would hit our fundraising goal. A donation of any size helps us create the resources you depend on.

Please take 2 minutes to chip in $5.

$5 button

Thank you and stay warm out there!


Elbow Peak

Snoqualmie Region > Salmon La Sac/Teanaway
47.2953, -120.9650 Map & Directions
Length
11.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
3740 feet
Highest Point
5710 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
Mount Stuart from Elbow Peak. Photo by Rolan Shomber. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Summits

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

Be prepared for a real spring workout to reach Elbow Peak and its grand vista of peaks in the central and south Cascades. Along the way, be sure to stop and view the multitude of flowers. Continue reading

Rating
2.38 out of 5

(8 votes) Log in to rate

Hiking Elbow Peak

Elbow Peak is reached via the multi-user Yellow Hill trail, but you have to work to reach the expansive views. The lack of shade makes this a hot hike, even on a cool day.  The route climbs through a stark silver and black forest, burned in fires past, with a stunning understory of flowers. 

Spring is the best time for flowers, views, and stillness. Avoid mid/late summer with the oppressive heat and motorcycles and be sure to wear orange in the fall with hunters.  Plenty of water is needed as there is only one intermittent spring, and water from snowmelt has plenty of carbon from the charred trees.

From the trailhead, elevation 2810 feet, start north over or around the tank traps, then follow the road for 0.9 mile to an unmarked trail on the right, elevation 3390 feet.  Take the trail for a steep 0.2 mile and then step back onto the road for 0.1 mile to a marked trail on the right. Take the trail for a steep 0.6 mile, past an unmarked junction, to a good rest stop, elevation 4400 feet, with views of Mount Rainier and the Kittitas Valley Wind Farm. 

The trail descends slightly 0.6 mile to a stream crossing, elevation 4370 feet. After the stream, the trail alternates steep climbs and level sections for 0.9 mile as it climbs to reach an open area, elevation 5150 feet, to the east of Yellow Hill.

The trail enters the surviving forest and makes a climbing traverse for 0.4 mile around the north side of Yellow Hill.  This area is the last area to melt out in the spring due to the shade. At the end of the traverse, just before the switchback and descent, is a great view of Elbow Peak and the Stuart Range.

In the next 1.3 miles, the trail is a set of descents, climbs, and sidehills along the ridge to the base of Elbow Peak.  The trail has many places with a “roller bearing on rock” feel to the gravel, trekking poles are useful.  In early spring, cornices can make travel a bit more difficult in this section.

Once in the last gap, the trail makes a direct climb for 0.2 mile to the southwest end of Elbow Peak, elevation 5670 feet, before continuing along the ridge for 0.3 mile to the high point on the northeast end, elevation 5710 feet.

At many points along the ridge crest are 360-degree views with Mount Adams peeking over the Goat Rocks in the south, Mount Rainier to the southwest, many peaks in the Snoqualmie Pass area, Mount Stuart to the northeast, and peaks of the Teanaway to the east.  From the northeast end, the Yellow Hill trail is evident as it continues to Jolly Mountain, about 4 miles away.

Hike Description Written by
Rolan Shomber, WTA Correspondent

Elbow Peak

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.2953, -120.9650 Open in Google Maps

Before You Go

See weather forecast

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

WTA Pro Tip: Save a copy of our directions before you leave! App-based driving directions aren't always accurate and data connections may be unreliable as you drive to the trailhead.

Getting There

Starting from the end of I-90 Exit 85 in Cle Elum, follow WA 970 toward Wenatchee for 10.5 miles. Turn left onto Teanaway Road and follow it for 7.3 miles. Turn left onto West Fork Teanaway Road and follow it for 0.7 mile. Turn right onto Middle Fork Teanaway Rd and follow it for 4.2 miles to the Middle Fork Teanaway bridge. Continue on the road for 0.3 mile and turn right onto an unmarked road, which reaches the trailhead area in 80 yards.

The trailhead is unmarked and has no amenities.  

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Snoqualmie Region > Salmon La Sac/Teanaway

Yellow Hill (#1222)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Cle Elum Ranger District

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass ed. II (Nelson and Bauer - Mountaineers Books)

100 Hikes in Washington’s Alpine Lakes (Spring

Spring

& Manning

1993)

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Elbow Peak

42 Trip Reports

Hiked here recently?

Submit a trip report!
 
Trip Reports