With the year’s first snow accumulation crunching under our feet and melting quickly in the October sun, I climbed, slipped and shimmied to the top of Granite Mountain for amazing views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Mountains with my Everest Base Camp hiking buddies.
Taking advantage of the sunny weather this fall in the Northwest a group of my Everest Base Camp hiking buddies and I made our way out to Snoquamie Pass to tackle the ever-populate Granite Mountain. With a recent snow, the trail proved to be the challenging and breathtaking hike we were looking for. If you are looking for a winter, snowshoe hike I imagine this would be a great option as well on a sunny, winter day in Washington. Just be forewarned, your calves might be crying at the end.
The four mile trip to the top, starts in the dense woods of the valley floor and gradually traverses its way across the mountain. Gaining about 3,800 feet, the hike pops out above the tree line and then follows the ridge east for awhile and then back west to the upper spiral and the fire lookout tower. The final stretch loops back and forth across the regularly rocky summit before the final turn to the top and 360 degree views awaiting.
During my visit, we started to see snow about 2/3 of the way up the trail as soon as we darted out of the tree line. By the summit, we were trudging through knee deep snow and slush and stepping with care to avoid holes in the boulder, filled ground. So always make sure to check weather and trail conditions and be prepared! I was very thankful at the end of the day to have my waterproof, trekking boots and sunscreen in my pack!
Length: 8 miles round trip
Highest point: 5,629 feet
Getting there: Follow I-90 east from Seattle to exit 47. Take a left off the exit ramp and then another left at the T intersection. Drive and park just down this road at the Pratt Lake-Granite Mountain parking area.
2 thoughts on “A Snowy Hike up Granite Mountain”
Once the snow comes in earnest make sure you check avalanche conditions with NWAC (http://www.nwac.us). Granite Mountain is not a place you want to be when the snow is unstable.
Great point John! Yes, all hikers and snowshoes should check the weather and snow conditions on this hike. Best to be prepared!