Mileage: 2.2 miles
Elevation Gain/Highest: 1040ft/2159ft
Favorite Eats After Hike: North Bend Bar & Grill,
It may be hard to believe but last April when looking up hikes on the I-90 corridor, I found this one buried somewhere on the internet and drove up with my friend Elizabeth but when we got to North Bend it was pouring rain (the hard to believe part) so we kept going to Roslyn where it was all blue skies to hike instead for a view of the Enchantment peaks and Rainier . But it has been on my list to check out so when one the leaders of my Mountaineers Scrambling course suggested it as a possible scramble to meet the requirement for my badge, I figured it was a sign.
Don’t worry, it isn’t a scramble like most folks would think. In fact, we talked during the hike about how it could possibly have been designated a scramble in the first pace. My guess is that it may have been one at one point but with enough folks using it, the trail has become more defined and easier to travel.
We parked in the same parking lot for the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail that I did last week and crossed over the expansive wood and steel bridge. Turning right, we then walked about .2 miles to where the obvious turn was to head up the slope.
There was really one main path up the fall line, but we could see a few side trails (off to viewpoints?) blocked with branches to let us know that wasn’t the way to go.
I was a nervous about doing this trail one-handed, but there were just a few places I had to use three points of contact and hop over downed trees. The leftover remnants of logging were interesting to note as we made our way up in the forest.
We reached the first knob about 9:24am and had a great view of the tumultuous clouds swirling around Garfield Mountain.
But we had a summit in mind so we continued across the level, salal covered “false summit” and down a small saddle and then back up again. Just 12 minutes later we were standing at what our GPS told us was the highest point at 2159ft, a small clearing in the middle of the trees. Then, we made our way back over to the south side of the summit to a rocky ledge and celebrated completing our course with views of Pulpit and Preacher Mountains in the background.
Our trek down was uneventful and we were back to our cars a little after 11am. This trail took us about 2.5 hours to complete, which included a stop at the top for snacks and pictures. It had started to sprinkle (say what?!?) and we admired the ripples on the water under the bridge. I loved the contrast of the rusted iron with the translucent teal green flowing below.
Some of our group remarked that this would be a great alternative to Little Si for a workout hike without all the crowds! And top off our hike, we made our way over to the XXX in Issaquah for treats. It wasn’t my normal kind of thing but they do make their own rootbeer and you know I’m a sucker for that!
Directions: Drive east on I-90 from Seattle to exit 34 or Edgewick Road. Turn left over the overpass onto 468th Avenue past the truck stop and gas station area to the T junction with the Middle Fork Road (FR 56). The sign is on the left in trees and easy to miss. Turn right, pass a school and continue up the Middle Fork Road for 11.8 miles to the large Middle Fork trailhead parking area on the right (there are several times you will go left but it is still FR 56). Although the road is mostly paved, there is constant construction due to washouts in one particular section at the river’s bend. It is best to check conditions at Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Road Slope Stabilization. Privy available and NW Forest Pass is required.