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Mount Catherine Trail

Parent Category: Hiking
Created: 23 November 2015
Location: Snoqualmie Region, Snoqualmie Pass Area
Roundtrip: 3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1330 feet
Highest Point: 5052 feet
Season:  The Forest Road, leading to the trailhead, is usually  snow-free from July till November
GPS Coordinates: N 47 22.208 W 121 26.658
Visitor’s Information:

Northwest Forest Pass Required

Pictures below will show you the gorgeous views provided by the Mount Catherine Trail. Enjoy the virtual tour to the top of the summit!

Photo of the Mount Catherine Trail and the views it provides, Snoqualmie Region, Washington State
General Information:

If you are looking for some great vantage points opening spectacular panoramas in front of you… If you are yearning for the breathtaking views of gorgeous mountains, but are limited in time, then the Mount Catherine Trail will perfectly suit you. Being only 3 miles long (roundtrip) the Mount Catherine Trail will take you to the very top of the Mount Catherine’s summit in less than an hour. But mind, that your payment for the trail shortness will be the grade of the ascent, which will make the hike quite strenuous for casual hikers.

Photo of the Mount Catherine Trail and the views it provides, Snoqualmie Region, Washington State

You can reach the Mount Catherine Trailhead by driving the Forest Road 9070, which leads to several trailheads in this area. Be prepared for quite a tough drive as the road has a lot of potholes and some big sharp rocks. 

You won’t actually find a usual trailhead; there is only a widening of the road with the parking space for 3-4 cars. Thus be careful not to miss the trail sign. There is also no restrooms or water sources at the trailhead. 

Photo of the Mount Catherine Trail and the views it provides, Snoqualmie Region, Washington State

At the beginning the Mount Catherine Trail follows an old logging road, branching from the FR-9070 on its north side. But already after approximately 300 yards it turns into a rocky path and starts ascending a steep hill in a series of switchbacks.

Striving the steep hike do not forget to look up from time to time to enjoy the old-growth forest you are walking through, the conifers of which include some subalpine fir trees as well as western and mountain hemlocks. From time to time you will also meet the patches of huckleberry bushes, providing the hikers with a tasty treat in August-September and with magnificent colors in October.

There are quite many huge trunks of the fallen trees along the trail, a couple of them blocking the way, but it’s easy to pass them either hopping over them or going under it.

Photo of the Mount Catherine Trail and the views it provides, Snoqualmie Region, Washington State

After 0,7 miles (which is almost the half of the trail distance), you will reach the ridgeline. The grade of the ascent is getting milder here, which will give you about 0,6 mile’s rest before the final scramble.

Here you can get the first glimpse of the fantastic views preparing you for what is waiting for you ahead. 

The last 20-foot climb to the top of the summit is really steep and hard, but to help the hikers there is a bolted cable there, which you can grab helping yourself to scramble up the hill. And here at the top of the summit you will get your payoff for all the efforts during the climb!

Photo of the Mount Catherine Trail and the views it provides, Snoqualmie Region, Washington State

Check the weather forecast before planning your hike to choose a sunny day for the trip, as fog and clouds may cut down the view, preventing you from enjoying the incredible mountainous scenery around you. Mount Rainier, Tinkham and Silver Peaks, Humpback and Red Mountains – these are just some of the impressive features waiting for you to take your breath away. Look down and you will see the deep blue waters of Keechelus Lake with I-90 running along its shore. Priceless serene views, which create precious unforgettable memories!

On the top of the summit of Mount Catherine you may find some old and rusted cables and bolts. These are the remnants of the navigation beacon, built in 1930s and intended to guide the planes through this low area of the Cascades.

 

These pictures were taken in August, 2015

Driving Directions:

Coming from Seattle you should drive east on I-90 until reaching Exit 54 (which is labeled Hyak). At the bottom of the exit ramp take the right turn. If you reset your odometer at this point it will make the process of trailhead finding easier. Then you should cross the State Route 906 and turn to Hyak Drive after o,2 miles. Follow the Hyak Drive for 0,6 miles, until the end of the paved road and the beginning of FR-9070. After driving for 4,4 miles along the FR-9070 on your right you will see the trail sign, which has numbers 1348 on it.

GPS Coordinates: N 47 22.208 W 121 26.658

In order to get directions click on the map below:

 

Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska

Information: Svetlana Baranova

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