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Mount Washington

Snoqualmie Region > North Bend Area
47.4420, -121.6722 Map & Directions
Length
8.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain
3250 feet
Highest Point
4450 feet
Calculated Difficulty About Calculated Difficulty
Hard
Peek-a-boo view of Mount Rainier from Mount Washington. Photo by wenguin. Full-size image
  • Wildflowers/Meadows
  • Mountain views
  • Old growth
  • Summits
  • Dogs allowed on leash

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Discover Pass

This easy-access day hike delivers comparable—if not superior—panoramic views and lung-busting switchbacks to Mount Si, with significantly less foot traffic. Continue reading

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Hiking Mount Washington

This easy-access day hike delivers comparable—if not superior—panoramic views and lung-busting switchbacks to Mount Si, with significantly less foot traffic.

Start by following the signs for John Wayne Trail and Twin Falls at the south end of the parking lot near the bathroom structure. This short spur trail climbs immediately south then west before merging with a gravel logging road in a few hundred yards. Stay right at the junction, continuing to climb uphill for another tenth of a mile, and stay right at the next junction with the John Wayne Pioneer Trail/Iron Horse Trail—another wide gravel logging road. In just a few hundred feet, head south on the second trail into the forest, 0.3 miles from the trailhead, marked by a small rock cairn. This is the start of the Mount Washington Trail.

The trail climbs steeply to the southwest before easing to a moderate grade over rocky terrain and crossing several small creeks. While mostly switch-backing through an old growth forest of pines and sheer rock faces, the trail opens for occasional views to the North, revealing just how quickly it’s ascended from the parking lot. Less than a mile from the trailhead, hikers pass the base of a small cave-turned-climbing wall, with several anchors speckling the inverted hang of its upper reaches. Continue climbing and veer right on the main path when the trail reaches its first official marker—a hand-carved wooden sign that reads “MT WA.”

About 1.6 miles from the trailhead, a small clearing oft referred to as “Owl Hike Spot” offers the first westward views, allowing a brief photo-op of Rattlesnake Ledge. Previous trail guides often stopped at this point, but superior views are enjoyed farther along. Continue climbing and stay right at the junction with the Great Wall Trail at two miles, revealing the first views of the summit.

The trail eases, exiting the dense cover of forest as it approaches a small marsh and turns sharply east toward another unmarked trail junction. Again, stay left, following the main path east as it navigates long switchbacks and bursts into an alpine meadow decorated with scree slopes, boulders and spring wildflowers at about the three mile mark.

You'll soon arrive at a sharp switchback. At the curve of the switchback you're right on the boundary between public land and the Cedar River Watershed, the water supply for the city of Seattle. Signs along this section of trail ask you to respect the watershed, so be sure to stay on the trail here and practice Leave No Trace as you round a southwest-facing slope and make the final push to the summit of Mount Washington.

From the top, take in views of the peaks surrounding you, but be sure to look down at Chester Morse Lake and Masonry Pool. It's amazing to realize that these two lakes are what help keep the megalopolis of Puget Sound hydrated.

Hike Description Written by
Adam Setzer, WTA Correspondent

Mount Washington

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.4420, -121.6722 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

From Seattle drive east on I-90 to exit 38. Head south (right), immediately crossing the South Fork Snoqualmie River, and take the first right turn into Ollalie State Park, a few hundred feet from the highway. Follow the gravel road to the end, parking near the bathrooms at the west end of the lot.

More Hike Details

Trailhead

Snoqualmie Region > North Bend Area

City of Seattle

Guidebooks & Maps

Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Pass (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)

Buy the Green Trails Bandera No. 206 map

Download a map to plan your hike

You can improve or add to this guidebook entry

Mount Washington

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