Noble Knob

Kirsten planned a birthday hike and Kim, Deb, Kurt, Janet and I came along. Reports were that the Corral Pass Road was still closed (it wasn't). Kirsten had done the hike one time before via the Dalles Ridge Trail. There is yet another route via the ridge above George Lake. I have been up twice via the Deep Creek Trail. We had no info on the road to Dalles Creek and the trailhead is at 5400'. We hoped that snow on the north side of the ridge would not be a problem.

We met in Seattle just before 7:00 am. After a stop in Enumclaw we made it to the trailhead by 9:30. Here is info on getting to the trailhead . The road had been logged out and most rocks removed. There were a number of smaller rocks we had to drive over and a few logs we went around. Otherwise, the road is in very good shape for most passenger cars. A little before the trailhead we stopped for a great view of the morning light on Mt. Rainier.

There was one other vehicle at the trailhead. Parking is not overly plentiful but seven or eight cars would fit fine. Based on trip reports, this is not a very heavily used trail. It is only about 2 1/2 miles to Noble Knob. There is 700' of elevation gain plus ups and downs. Something like about 1000' of gain out and back. Flowers began almost immediately. We saw beargrass, buttercups, a few trillium, glacier lilies, and more. Not a huge flower show but not bad either.

A short ways along we came to the Ranger Creek Trail. This one comes up from Highway 410. We met the owner of the other vehicle soon after. He was finishing a 10 mile ride to Corral Pass and back. He did mention some snow up ahead. Since the trip would be short we spent a lot of time on photos. Kim more than most. We went from no snow to a few feet very quickly. It was easy enough to walk on the consolidated snow. I doubt it will last much longer.

The snow did not last very long as we crossed a sloping meadow and climbed up the other side. We soon met the trail from Corral Pass. A little farther brought us to the short descent to the saddle below Noble Knob. It was getting pretty warm by now and a little breeze was appreciated. Bugs were not much of a problem all day. Nice flowers here as we crossed the meadow and followed the trail up and around Noble Knob. As we climbed Mt. Rainier came back into view.

Magenta paintbrush here along with stonecrop, penstemon, and others. Even the backside of the summit is now snow free. We had just a few foot long patches left. After a very leisurely ascent we arrived at near noon. The sky was clear and the views outstanding. Mt. Rainier is really close from here. We were looking right across to Steamboat Prow. To the north we could see Kaleetan, Chair, Rampart Ridge, Daniel, and Mt. Stuart. Glacier Peak was visible in the distance too. Lots of clear cuts to the north but most are growing back. We could even pick out Kelly Butte across the Greenwater River.

Since we were in no hurry we spent a good long time on top. Others came and went. Deb broke out the watercolors to draw a scene of George Lake right below us. We found a patch of very bright penstemon below the summit. It is a color I don't recall seeing before. Folks started down one at a time and eventually we all headed down. We met up at the end of the saddle meadow. There was still a good sized patch of snow I used to cool off. It's refreshing to lie down on snow on a hot day.

Just as we passed the Corral Pass Trail junction we met a group of very young kids coming in. They were running and screaming and having a good old time. Just as well we left the summit before they arrived though. The rest of the way back was just a nice walk in the woods. It was getting very hot but most of the way was in cooler forest. We did have a few looks out. At one of them I was able to see and photograph the lookout on Sun Top Mountain.

We did come out a lot faster than we went in. The drive home was strangely easy as the roads did not seem to be as busy as I'm used to on summer weekends. Maybe theat $4.30 a gallon gas is starting to have an effect. We concluded the day with a birthday dinner for Kristen. Deb did most of the cooking and Kim helped out. The mileage and elevation gain was not impressive but we all had a very good time. I made it home at 10:30, some 16 hours after leaving. A good time was had by all.

Kirsten's trip report is here:   Nwhikers Report & Photos

Mt. Rainier From Road
Yellow Flower
Noble Knob
Nearing Summit
Old Bleached Log
Rocky Pinnacles
George Lake
Long Indian Paintbrush
Mt. Rainier From Summit
Looking East
Group On Summit
Colorful Penstemon
Penstemon Close Up
Final Penstemon
More Yellow
More Paintbrush
Heading Down
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2008