Seattle, WA: Guye Peak via Cave Ridge Trail

Take this short, little-known scramble up to the top of Guye Peak in the Alpental Ski Area.
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Take this short, little-known scramble up to the top of Guye Peak in the Alpental Ski Area.

After some time off, we decided we wanted a hike to shake out some of the cobwebs and get back into our hiking routine. Ever since we passed under it on our way to Kendall Katwalk, we’d been wanting to tackle Guye Peak. It only took a little bit of sunshine breaking through the overcast morning to send us out to Snoqualmie Pass to check it out.

Tentatively named Slate Mountain for a time, Guye Peak was eventually named for F.M. Guye, who staked out a number of mining claims on both Guye Peak and Snoqualmie Mountain. Many of the rough paths the crisscross the mountains above Alpental have their origins in the mining activities of the late 1800s.

It’s something of an exaggeration to call the Cave Ridge Trail to the top of Guye Peak a “trail,” as it is more of a series of scrambles over boulders and fallen trees connected by short, boot-pounded paths though narrow bands of vegetation. Short and rough, the route aggressively attacks the elevation, conveying you up the slope with only an occasional begrudging switchback or two. At just over mile, things begin to level out and the trail passes by a small lake before beginning the final push to the top.

Be aware that decades of use have resulted in many lesser-used side trails that can be confusing. While there is one sign directing you either to Snoqualmie Mountain or Guye Peak, the trail is unsigned. Dramatic overhangs and big drop-offs make this a popular hike with both hikers and mountaineers year-round. The short trail distance and close proximity to I-90 mean easy access, but can also lend an illusion of relative safety. Use caution near the top, as slick conditions can easily lead to a tumble or worse – quite a number of people have died on Guye Peak since the 1960’s.

Short and brutal, Guye Peak pays dividends in spectacular views. Survey the ski slopes of Alpental and Snoqualmie Pass as well as the whole of Commonwealth Basin. To the east lies Denny Mountain, supporting the slopes of Alpental and beginning a north running ridgeline that includes the Tooth, Bryant Peak and Chair Peak. Snoqualmie Mountain dominates the view to the north, while the Red Mountain steals the show as you swing east to take in Kendall Peak.

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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 1.9

Waypoints

GP001

Location: 47.445258, -121.423402

Head east from the parking lot to the start of Cave Ridge Trail. The trail starts about 50ft to the right of the Snow Lake trailhead.

GP002

Location: 47.446771, -121.418118

Clearing & view.

GP003

Location: 47.448241, -121.416007

Junction with trail to Snoqualmie Mountain. Go right to continue on the Cave Ridge Trail.

Trail Marker

Location: 47.448218, -121.415856

GP004

Location: 47.446655, -121.410962

Junction on the saddle. Turn right on a spur trail that heads up to Guye Peak. If you start descending, you've missed the turn.

GP005

Location: 47.44597, -121.410998

Head left around the pond.

Small Pond

Location: 47.44591, -121.410921

Fir stands reflecting in a small pond on Guye Peak.

GP006

Location: 47.445709, -121.411504

Small campsite and view.

Chair Peak

Location: 47.445519, -121.411436

On a plateau on Guye Peak. Chair Peak in the distance.

Scrambling up

Location: 47.445228, -121.410105

Doing some light scrambling on the way up.

GP007

Location: 47.44461, -121.40966

Junction. Continue left up to the top.

On Plateau

Location: 47.444024, -121.409225

Hiker crossing plateau on the way to the top.

GP008

Location: 47.442921, -121.409193

Summit of Guye Peak.

Alpental

Location: 47.44303, -121.409177

Looking down on the Alpental Ski Area from the summit.

View from top

Location: 47.442961, -121.409166

Summit view looking south.

Red Mountian

Location: 47.442899, -121.409193

Looking across the Commonwealth Basin at Red Mountain.