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Silver Peak Loop

wa

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 8.6 miles


Explore Silver Peak and Twin Lake on this challenging 9-mile loop.
  • Trailhead
  • Junction Marker
  • Cold Creek
  • Twin Lakes
  • Frosted Marsh
  • Tinkham Slope
  • Junction Sign
  • The climb ahead
  • Scree
  • Rainer
  • Ridge Line
  • Summit
  • Summit West
  • Clear cut and pool
  • Junction Marker

Silver Peak has long enjoyed popularity amongst hikers, spanning back to the first recorded ascent by the US Geological Survey in 1899.  Since that time thousands of snowshoers, mountaineers and backpackers have enjoyed the relative ease of access to one of the tallest peaks in the Snoqualmie region as well as the expansive views from the top.  A visit to Silver Peak was long overdue, so we geared up and headed out the Pass.

The trail begins by nonchalantly following Cold Creek up to Twin Lake, cutting a narrow swath through a young forest still thick with undergrowth.  Within a mile the shores of Twin Lake appear, ideally reflecting within its waters the eventual goal; the rocky cornice of Silver Peak.  Veer to the left, following a trail the rapidly deteriorates into a rock-ridden game trail in need of some maintenance.  Indeed, we ran across a Washington Trail Association work crew in the midst of being issued axes and adzes, readying for another pitched battle against trail degradation.  

From Twin Lake, the route switches gears and begins to aggressively gain elevation, quickly switchbacking up to the Tinkham Peak ridgeline where the trail intersects with the Mirror Lake Trail.  Continue to the right beginning a long traverse around the bowl beneath Tinkham and eventually Silver Peak.   Access to the peak itself is via an intermittently marked but well-worn spur trail.  At this point you can choose to tackle the mountain, or continue on the loop back to Twin Lake.  Note that a short portion of the return route is along FR 9070, so do not be confused when the trail runs aground on the road, simply head to the right for a few tenths of a mile before connecting back up with the Cold Creek Trail.

For the more adventurous, the last leg of your journey to the summit is rough.  Loose rock, steep slopes and windy conditions make it easy to misstep or lose your balance.  Be prepared to scramble a bit to reach the top, but rest assured that your efforts will be well rewarded.  From the breezy precipice you have a commanding 360-degree view of the Snoqualmie Valley.  Beyond Tinkham to the southwest the massive profile of Mt. Rainier demands attention.  Below, the blue-green of Annette Lake resides in the forested bowl between Silver Peak and Humpback Mountain.   To the east, nearby Mount Catherine obscures parts of Keechelus Lake.  While ski slopes and clearcuts dominate the foreground to the north, look beyond the forests to the array of moutaintops before you: Denny, Snoqualmie, Kendall and Red.  Look down into the Snoqualmie Valley past Granite Mountain, Mt. Defiance and McClellan Butte to see the faint and distant indications of North Bend.  Apply liberally and enjoy.

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