RMT Traverse

Gary was free for a Sunday hike. The one way hike along the entire Rattlesnake Mountain Trail has a lot to offer. View from the ledge, views from East Peak, views along the ridge, views from West Peak, and views from Grand Prospect. Yes, there are views. There is also a huge crowd at the Rattlesnake Lake end. We minimize that with an early start at that end. The one way trail is 10.4 miles. With a few detours we brought it up to 12 miles with 3200' of gain. The day was supposed to be mostly cloudy leading to clearer skies in the afternoon. We met at the Snoqualmie Point end leaving Gary's car. I drove us to Rattlesnake Lake. Cars were already parked outside the lots along the road. The small lot was full. We did not check the other lots. It was 7:48 when we started hiking. It was also 34 degrees. The overcast was not to be. We had mostly blue sky.

We rounded the lake and headed up the trail. We passed one group going up and soon would be passing early groups coming down. I had to stop and switch my ball cap for a wool cap. It was cold. I did not need gloves. Gary had on warm gloves and just a ball cap. It warmed a little as we climbed. Gaps in the trees showed low clouds blowing by. We made good time on the first 2.1 miles from the start of the trail to Lower Rattlesnake Ledge. We decided to check out the ledge. There were several groups already there. Mt. Si was behind clouds but Teneriffe, Green, Mailbox, and more were in the open. Patchy fog was below us. The upper forest on the peaks had fresh snow on it. Below us, Rattlesnake Lake was mostly full. The level was very low on my last few visits in the summer and fall.

We arrived at 8:42 am and stayed until 8:48 am. We continued higher to the upper ledge for another stop. We could see down to the lower ledge and out to the east. Two years and two weeks earlier, Gary and I did this trip and reached snow a short way above the upper ledge. This time We saw only a few patches of snow on the entire trip. Higher up, the trail crosses a road twice. After the first crossing we were in foggy forest and stopped for a moment. Looking behind, we saw the low sun shining through the fog. It created a lot of sun rays shining in all directions around the sun. As I took a few photos I noticed that there was a rainbow colored ring around the sun. It really added to the photos. If we had not stopped we would not have seen any of this. A few photos turned into quite a few. This was only my second trip with my new Galaxy s24 ultra phone/camera. It is a lot better than my five year old previous phone. We continued on and reached our next objective, which was East Rattlesnake Mountain. The viewpoint looked across to Mt. Teneriffe which was still in the open. Mt. Si was still in the clouds. We headed for the summit tower but heard ice falling and saw broken ice on the ground as we approached. We decided not to go all the way to the tower. Back near the viewpoint, we found a patch of sunshine and had a food and water break.

The trail then begins to descend. It was easy walking downhill with no snow on the ground. Gary decided to check out Windy Landing. On my last visit there, a decade or so ago, the views were already nearly closed out by growing trees. When it was created, the views were great. It did not take long for the trees to grow high enough to end that. As expected, there are no views at all now. We continued on and Gary noticed a big patch of witches butter on a stump just off the trail. It was likely the brightest color we saw all day. The trail turned to road for a while until the trail headed off the road and we stayed on the road. This gave us much more sunshine. It was still quite cold in the shade but much warmer out in the sunshine. Before long, we looked backward to East Peak and Mt. Rainier. The mountain was mostly in the clear. Sun shining on clouds below and across from us provided more photo opportunities. Where we could have taken a spur over to the trail and on to Grand Prospect we chose to stay on the road. This took us up to the top of West Rattlesnake Mountain.

We had more views of Mt. Rainier below the top. We crossed a bike trail several times but did not see any bikes out. At the summit between the towers we encountered some wind. It was a very cold wind. A viewpoint to the west and north provided views of The Brothers and Mt. Constance in the Olympics. The lower peaks were in the clouds. To the north we saw Mt. Baker just above the clouds. We headed back to the road and found a spot with almost no wind. Several other spots with views had too much wind. We went back to the calm spot for lunch. The sun was shining and without wind it was not bad. I did put on a wind shirt but no jacket. We arrived on top at 11:34 am and stayed until 12:21 pm. The sunshine and views made it a great spot for a long stop. The quickest way down to Grand Prospect is only about .25 miles. We decided to take a longer route. Going south then north on the west side of the peak gave us views in the new clearcut and avoided much of the wind. It also gave us more sunshine. Looking to the west we saw towers on Tiger 1 as an island in a sea of white clouds. It made for a neat photo. East Tiger was mostly lost in clouds.

Rather than drop to the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail (RMT) where the road nearly reaches the trail we went cross country a short way to the RMT. This made it shorter to head uphill to Grand Prospect. We also found this route avoided a steep bank down to the trail. Once on the RMT it was only a few minutes of trail to Grand Prospect. On the summit we had blue sky. Though GP is only about 180' lower it was encased in clouds. We could see out to Mt. Si and the Cascades and down to North Bend but it was not clear. It was also a lot colder in the shady fog. There were several groups there when we arrived. We had seen almost nobody since before East Peak. We took some photos and were soon on our way down. It is 4 miles down to the Snoqualmie Point parking lot. Our added miles on the West Peak detour would bring our mileage up to 12.

The way down was pretty uneventful. We saw people about every half mile. Near the half way down point we took a short detour over to Stan's Overlook. Like many viewpoints, it is slowly loosing its views as the trees grow taller. The last 2 miles down went by quickly. Lower down we left the fog and had sunshine once again. We reached the parking lot and Gary's car at 2:28 pm. The lot was nearly full. Since we were just short of 12 miles we went over to the park to add a little distance and get more views out to the peaks along the SF of the Snoqualmie River above I-90. Once back at the car, we just had to drive back to Rattlesnake Lake to get my car. For a Sunday afternoon, the drive home through Seattle was a breeze.

This turned out to be an excellent choice for a hike this day. We had much more sunshine than expected. The fog in the trees provided some great views of sun rays in the forest. The mountain peaks were mostly visible. The fog and low clouds flying by added to the scenery. 12 miles with 3200' was a good leg stretcher but both of us still felt great all the way to the end. We saw people at the ends but not many in the middle of the trip. The clearcuts on the ridge and around West Peak are less scenic than forest but do provide some great views out and some sunshine. All the different lighting conditions were a good test form my new camera. All in all, it was a great day on the trail.

Roadside Parking
Lit Up Clouds
Mt. Si In The Clouds
View To Mailbox Peak
Rattlesnake Lake
Teneriffe & Clouds
People On Lower Ledge
MF Valley
Camp Robber Jay
Swirling Clouds
Gary On The Trail
Unexpected Sun Rays
Colorful Corona
Wide View Of Rays
More Sun Rays
Gary In Rays
Jim In The Rays
Largest Snow Patch
Teneriffe From East Pk
Windy Landing Views
Descending From East Pk
Cloudy Mt. Si
Looking Back To East Pk
Gary Is On The Trail
Witches Butter
Mt. Rainier
Sun On Cloud Tops
West Peak In Sight
Long Shadows
Mt. Rainier Again
More Witches Butter
Cactus Snag
Rattlesnake Ridge
Mt. Washington
Mailbox Ridge
Down The Ridge
Bandera Mountain
Mailbox Closer
Mt. Baker
Three Fingers Mountain
Tiger 1 Island
The Brothers
Enjoying The View
Road Walk Section
Cold Grand Prospect
More Mist
Gary & Mossy Arbor
Trailhead Signboard
Mt. Si Is Finally Clear
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2024