Red Pass

Gary was free for a mid week after work hike. Days are getting shorter but we still had time for a hike near Snoqualmie Pass that would end before sunset. We met in Issaquah at 2:10 pm. It was my turn to drive. I had my tires replaced a week earlier. The previous day I was on the freeway for the first time since the new tires and had bad vibration over 55 mph. The same this time. I pried off a hubcap and found one missing lug not. Not good. Gary decided he would drive. We arrived at the Pacific Crest Trail parking lot at 2:50 pm. We were on the trail at 3:00 pm. There were quite a few cars in the lot though it was far from full. Very quickly we turned off on the old trail to Commonwealth Basin.

I have been up and down this trail more times on snow than on dirt. My recollection of the bare trail trips is that it was steep with loose rock climbing to the basin. It does have a few steep spots but it was better than I thought. We started off fast then settled down to a steady pace. I did not expect there to be much water in Commonwealth Creek. There was not. While we did have a couple rock hop crossings it was easy to keep dry feet. With all the cars in the lot we were curious how many folks we would see on the trail. It's safe to say that the PCT is much more popular.

We passed the PCT connector trail and crossed the creek one last time. Soon after the route gets down to some steady climbing. The route follows the nose of a ridge. Either on the top or short switchbacks just below. The grade is steady and makes for quick elevation gain. I was a bit concerned about heat on this war day. While it was clear for most of the way to the pass it was partly cloudy in the mountains. The sporadic clouds did make for a very comfortable climb. We reached the basin below Red Pass and Red Mountain. The pond was really low. More of a big puddle. Views did start to open up. On the last climb to the ridge top the views kept getting better. We thought we could see Mt. Rainier but the clouds were so thick down there it was impossible to be sure. Closer by, most peaks were plainly visible.

When we reached the ridge, views to the north appeared. Mt. Thomson is very easy to pick out. Quite a big rounded summit. Across the Middle Fork Valley we could see Big Snow Mountain. Red Mountain was no longer so far above us now. There was a bit of leaf color on the slopes above the pond. Not great yet but green has give way to yellow. A nice big flat rock above the actual pass provided a spot for a break. It was right about 4:55 pm. Good views and total solitude. The highway and the Snoqualmie Pass were right below us. I could not see anyone atop Red Mountain. A zoomed photo showed one person just starting down.

We dropped a very short distance to Red Pass. The old Cascade Crest Trail down the north side is still visible. Not too bad up high but it gets very sketchy farther down. Someday it would be fun to hike the abandoned trail. Not this day. We went back to the rock and packed up. We headed down at 5:23 pm. We made better time. With a little over two hours of daylight we were not worried about having to use headlamps. Part way down from the pond to the lower valley we were passed by the Red Mountain climber. He was the only person we saw all day.

This route is a full mile shorter each way than the PCT route to Red Pass. We were down to the parking lot at 7:00 pm. A fun hike. Near total solitude near Snoqualmie Pass on a sunny afternoon. A few clouds but pretty good views from the 5400' pass. Soon the days will short enough that we will be doing our headlamp hikes closer to town. It was nice to get out to the high country once more mid week.

PCT Parking Lot
Commonwealth Creek
Red Mountain
Kendall Peak
Ridge To The West
Red Pond
Guye Peak
Fall Color
Mt. Thomson
Big Snow Mountain
Little Lundin Peak
Hiker On Red Mt.
Framed Red Mt.
Kendall Peak Summit
Gary At Break Spot
Old Trail Route
Red & Kendall Peaks
Mt. Thomson Again
More Fall Colors
Very Old Sign
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2017