Snoqualmie Pass after the Lifts Shut Down
Be creative in your activities during this transition month of April. Here are my tips for some trips to the Summit at Snoqualmie.
By Doug Emory
For those still hanging on to winter, you can start out at the Summit at Snoqualmie’s Hyak’s Nordic Center, following the Mount Catherine Loop from its beginning on the Cold Creek Trail to the upper area and then its finale on the Summit’s downhill runs.
Cold Creek melts off early, so I make some changes after the lifts end operations. The Silver Fir run west of Hyak often holds snow into June, and for those willing to don skins and hike, it offers a non-committing spot for telemarking. For traditional cross-country skiers, I recommend a start at Silver Fir lift and an ascent up the left fork that is visible from the parking lot. Just after this branch steepens, you’ll find a cut heading left under power lines and depositing you at Grand Junction, the central point of the area’s upper trails.
For those of you dying to pull on your boots and get an early start hiking, you can drive or hike about four kilometers from Hyak on FS road 9070 to the Twin Lakes trailhead. The main trail, which meanders past a string of forested lakes, or a southwesterly branch that leads up Mount Catherine, both provide you with an up-close look at that peak you skied around all winter. From the site of Catherine’s old lookout, you can gain a beckoning first glimpse of those Cascade peaks that will open to you once summer finally arrives.
Located 50 miles east of Seattle, Snoqualmie Pass offers a range of experiences for outdoors enthusiasts. The trips described above are centered around Hyak, found on the south side of I-90 at exit 54.
Silver Fir is one mile east of the main Summit ski area. To reach the Twin Lakes trailhead, go into the Hyak area and take the road that runs just below the Nordic area’s parking lot. This road hooks up with FS 9070, and the trailhead is found on the left hand side, where the road makes a sharp right turn and begins a steep ascent.
Doug Emory is an avid cross-country skier and mountaineer who live in Kenmore, Wash. He has climbed 193 different peaks, including the Cascade volcanoes from Hood to Baker, 22 of the Colorado 14’ers, and three Mexican volcanoes over 17,000 feet. In his off-hours, he works for the community and technical college system.