OverviewAbiel Peak is a mountain located in the central Cascade Mountains of Washington State, several miles southwest of Snoqualmie Pass. Situated between popular hiking and climbing destinations, Silver Peak and Tinkham Peak, Abiel Peak is commonly overlooked by outdoor enthusiasts. Abiel Peak is usually not a top hiking destination in the area, but can be easily combined into a single-day hiking trip with Silver Peak, and possibly Tinkham Peak for people with higher fitness levels.
An unofficial trail leads to the summit of Abiel Peak. Similar to neighboring mountain Tinkham Peak, the south side of Abiel Peak lies on the boundary of the Cedar River Watershed, a closed watershed that provides water for the city of Seattle, and the standard summit route follows the ridgeline near the boundary. Public access to the watershed is strictly prohibited, and caught trespassers are prosecuted.
The standard summit route for Abiel Peak ranges from YDS Class 1 to YDS Class 2. Although the route is basically non-technical, some use of hands is necessary at brief moments during the summit approach. Although the summit area is semi-forested and views are limited, the summit still offers great views of Silver Peak, Tinkham Peak, Humpback Mountain, Mount Catherine, Mount Kent, and McClellan Butte.
The Mountaineers organization originally named the peak in honor of Abiel W. Tinkham, who came west in 1853 as a member of the original Stevens Railroad Survey. Abiel W. Tinkham is perhaps most well-known for being credited as the first person to cross Yakima Pass using snowshoes.
Standard Summit Route
From Windy Pass, located at the intersection of Forest Road 9070 and PCT:
1) Hike south along the PCT for approximately 2.0 miles, until a faint trail leading uphill on the rightside (westside). The trail junction is unofficially marked, but a large cairn is typically at the location. For reference, the PCT sharply turns east a short distance beyond this forementioned trail junction. Another, more faint, trail might also be found approximately 100' further along the PCT in a small meadow, leading the same westward direction uphill.
2) Follow the unofficial trail west until reaching a saddle (~4720' elevation) located between Silver Peak and Tinkham Peak.
3) From the saddle, there are two options. The recommended option is to turn right (northwest) along the most obvious trail heading towards Silver Peak. An alternate, less advised option, is to follow a faint bootpath a very short distance south and then bushwhack up the ridgeline until regaining the Abiel Peak summit trail.
4) After turning northwest towards Silver Peak, a minor forested highpoint (~4900' elevation) is encountered along the saddle ridge located between Silver Peak and Abiel Peak.
5) At the minor highpoint, a bootpath leaves the main (Silver Peak) trail and begins heading southwest on the ridgetop to Abiel Peak.
6) Follow the bootpath up the ridgeline to the Abiel Peak summit (5365' elevation). As the bootpath ascends the ridgeline, it crosses through talus slopes and most of the upper portions of the summit route are rocky. Use extra caution, especially during wet and inclement conditions when this route can become dangerous to attempt.
TOTAL ROUTE HIKING DISTANCE: Approximately 6.0 miles, roundtrip.
FROM SNOQUALMIE PASS:
1) Drive east along I-90 to Exit 54 ("Hyak" exit).
2) At the first intersection (stop sign) located on the west side of I-90, continue straight (south). On the other side of the intersection, the road becomes known as Hyak Drive East.
3) As the road winds through the Hyak ski area and then passes a wasterwater facility, Hyak Drive East becomes known as Forest Road 9070.
4) Continue following Forest Road 9070 until its intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT intersection is unmarked. However, for reference purposes, the PCT trail junction occurs approximately 5.5 miles from I-90, in a clearcut area at approximately 3800' elevation. The location of this trail junction is also known as Windy Pass.
5) Park on the side of Forest Road 9070 wherever available, making certain no vehicles block the road.
Red TapeAs previously mentioned, the south side of Abiel Peak lies within the Cedar River Watershed, and public access to the watershed is strictly prohibited.
A Northwest Forest Pass (parking permit) is required for parking at the PCT trailhead.
Although Abiel Peak can be climbed year-round, Forest Road 9070 is closed during winter/snow months. During periods when Forest Road 9070 is closed, some potential summiters might choose to attempt Abiel Peak via the Annette Lake Trail. The Annette Lake Trail is located north of Abiel Peak (and west of Silver Peak). Potential summiters could possibly attempt to climb Abiel Peak from Annette Lake, ascending to the saddle ridges on the northwest or northeast sides of the mountain. However, such a summit attempt/route can be described on a separate "Route" page for this mountain, by anyone who has actually made an attempt.