Noble & Ignoble Knobs

Gary was free and suggested a hike up Ignoble Knob. Back in March 2010 Gary, John, and I did a snowy hike on the Ranger Creek Trail off Highway 410. We hoped to reach Noble Knob but deep snow slowed us down. With no hope of reaching Noble Knob we climbed up to Point 5781 which we dubbed "Ignoble Knob". That was the only time I was on the Ranger Creek Trail. I did a trip in 2008 up Noble Knob via the Dalles Ridge Trail. I had done this entire trip but not via this route. After a hot week it would also be much cooler. I was fine with that. The only parking is right alongside the highway. We wanted to arrive early enough to be sure to find a spot. The drive from Enumclaw was nuts as traffic was bumper to bumper for as far as I could see ahead and behind. We reached the trailhead at about 7:45 am and were on our way at 7:50 am.

The trail grade is very steady. It gains roughly 500' per mile for the six miles up to the junction with the Dalles Ridge Trail. It is never steep and is mostly soft tread. A very good trail to lose 3000' of elevation without bashing your knees. The way is mostly in forest. Not much sunshine gets in. That makes it a pretty cool trail. The most interesting part was all the saprophytes we saw. Some coralroot, pinedrops, and mostly candy stick. They were mostly near peak. Low down there is some ground cover. A bit higher the forest floor is mostly bare. At 2.8 miles is a short side trail to a viewpoint. We went on by and checked it out on the way down.

As we ascended we entered the area of the 2017 Norse Peak fire. For the rest of the way up we would have a lot of silvered burned trees and also green forest. One mountain biker passed us heading up. At 4.8 miles we reached the site of a log shelter building. It was in fine shape in 2010. Now there are no remains at all. It must have burned and any remains removed. Just some black ground now. We took a break here at 10:15 am. A few minutes later a group of three hikers came up the Palisades trail. The were heading down the Ranger Creek Trail. We did not pass anyones hiking up and down the Ranger Creek Trail. Just the one biker and these folks while we were taking a break. Social distancing was no problem.

After a nice long 19 minute break we headed up. The trail was rockier higher up. Still not bad but less good. There were several creeks still running. Arnica was in bloom at most crossings. Also a few other flowers. We heard voices as we neared the Dalles Ridge Trail. Three hikers had started at the Dalles Ridge Trailhead and were ahead of us as we reached that trail. The next section was a highlight of the day. On my 2008 trip on this trail it was in forest. Now it is silvered trees and views out. We had overcast skies but could see out to Mt. Rainier through the limbless silver snags. The fire opened up the slope and it was now covered with wildflowers. There was a lot of yellow arnica. A virtual sea of it. Add in some purple lupine, red columbine, and orange tiger lilies. There was one slope covered with blooming thistles. Throw in the silvered trees for a backdrop and it was great scenery.

The trail contoured below Ignoble Knob to a saddle where it switches to the north side of the ridge. More flowers along here. There is a narrow spot on a very steep slope and of course we met a group of hikers here. It was tough to get off the trail while they passed. After that the slope grew more gentle and we passed a meadow full of Indian paintbrush in bloom. At the junction with the trail to Noble Knob we turned left and began to descend. We were sure that there would be folks at Noble Knob. The trail from Corral Pass is short and is the usual starting point for Noble Knob trips. The route drops to a meadow and another junction. A left turn goes down to George Lake. Just beyond that is a right turn heading down to Lost Lake and a left turn for the Noble Knob summit. Lots more wildflowers here and all the way to the summit.

Magenta paintbrush is a flower seen at Mt. Rainier. We were close to the part and there were magenta flowers here. We could see the three Dalles Ridge hikers up above. On the way to the top we stopped for a number of photos. Paintbrush, harebells, stonecrop, lupine, and more. Lost lake was now in sight far below. As we approached the summit two hikers left the rocky point and we chose to stop for lunch there. Folks were coming and going up to the top. We arrived at 12:06 pm.  Now there was a little sun shining down on Mt. Rainier. We were still under clouds. A little wind had us putting on jackets. The cool temperature on 6011' Noble Knob was nice after 80s and low 90s in Seattle this week. We spent 45 minutes at our lunch spot. Before leaving we headed to the summit. One group was on top. Another was leaving.

The summit has some great views. Mt. Rainier is in your face close to the south. To the north we could see from Mt. Stuart to peaks of the Cascade Crest north of Snoqualmie Pass. Glacier Peak was in the clear. Gary thought he saw Mt. Baker mostly hidden by a lower closer peak. The other group headed down. We then had 20 minutes of solitude on top. There were other folks coming up or going down the trail below the summit and others were where we had lunch. On top we had solitude. It was 1:20 pm when we started down. Back to the Dalles Ridge junction then onto that trail. We saw a couple groups coming in. Where the trail crosses back to the south side I asked Gary if he wanted to run the ridge out to Ignoble Knob. I was not surprised when he headed uphill. The ridge is mostly silvered burned trees and a lot of wildflowers. Lupine is the predominant flower. The ridge has several bumps of similar size. We continued to the far one which is the point we reached on our 2008 snowshoe trip. It looked a lot different without several feet of snow.

Time for another break. More great views. We also had a view back to Noble Knob. We could see folks on top. 35 minutes later it was time to head down at 3:00 pm. The drop down to the saddle was steep but short losing 280'. We found the trail easily. The Ranger Creek junction was just to the left. One group was at the junction. They were the next to last people we saw. We had 6 miles and 3000' of elevation to lose. The nicely graded trail made it pretty easy. At the creek crossings Gary noticed that in addition to the yellow arnica there was yellow Tilings monkeyflower in bloom. It was at most of the crossings. Neither of us noticed it on the way up. At the short side trail to the viewpoint we turned right. It is not far to the point. To reach the view there is a short scramble around a rock to the point. We could see them from above. No point dropping in. We had some food and water and headed on.

The rest of the way down went pretty quickly. It is unusual for me to not have some foot soreness on a 15 mile trip. Not this day. The trail was very smooth and soft. Where we had views of the sky it was now all blue. The clouds had burned off. That allowed for lots of sun in my eyes for the drive home. We reached the highway at 5:40 pm. We were still the only two cars parked there. The drive home was better than expected. We did not have the crazy traffic we faced in the morning.

This proved to be a great hike. 15 miles with 4200' of gain is a good workout. The cool for summer temperatures were helpful. Since this is the year of the pandemic a hike with relatively few others is a blessing. Most people also had masks on when we passed. We had two summit breaks with great views. The flower show up high was much better than expected. The recent fire really added to the wildflower show. Down lower we had some great saprophytes to see. Deep Creek is a shorter route to Noble Knob with a lot of elevation gain. Ranger Creek is longer but is a very enjoyable trail. I will likely be back in future Julys for the views and the wildflower show. Thumbs up for Gary's choice for this week's hike.

Gary On The Trail
Candy Stick
Bare Trail
Unknown Saprophyte
More Candy Stick
Candy Stick Close Up
White Flower
Big Rock
Old Shelter Site
Palisades Trail
Grass & Arnica
Blackened Trees
Tiger Lilies
Nice Contrast
Dalles Ridge Trail
Forest Is Now Open
Lupine Close Up
Lots Of Lupine
Arnica Slopes
Gary & Wildflowers
Indian Paintbrush
Arnica Up The Slope
False Summit
Mt. Rainier
Big Paintbrush
Sin On Rainier
Glacier Peaki
Chimney Rock
Looking North
Gary Atop Noble Knob
George Lake
Heading Down
Colorful Lupine
Beautiful Paintbrush
Magenta Paintbrush
More Arnica
Meadow Of Paintbrush
Arnica & Lupine
Black & Yellow
Lupine Hillside
Noble Knob
Did I Mention Lupine?
Black Cloud Over Rainier
Nearing Ignoble Knob
Gary Heads Down
Spring Beauty
Purple Flower
Yellow Monkeyflower
Bare Ground
Tall Pinedrop?
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2020