Bullion Peak located just east of the Mount Rainier National Park next to Crystal Mountain is a great snowshoe and winter climbing destination. Its close proximity to the Crystal Mountain Ski Area makes it a great peak to go in winter. There is an established trail system that starts of from the parking area of the Crystal Mountain Ski Area all the way to the base of the Bullion Peak. From there Bullion Peak is just a quick 800 feet of off trail snowshoeing to get to the true summit of Bullion Peak. If the conditions are right and the avalanche danger is low Bullion Peak is also home to a nice 400 foot glissade directly from the summit down to where it picks up the route below. With a well established snowshoe route, easy access on a well maintained road and impossible to miss trailhead parking area it is surprising that this summit does not get more attention but it clearly doesn’t because nearby ski area.
Bullion itself is a rare and highly valued precise metal. Though I have not found info directly linking bullion in this particular, bullion mines do have some history in Stevens Pass. I will continue to research this paricular name to find out if there is an history of bullion mining in this particular region.
It should be noted that Crystal Mountain Area is ok with those snowshoeing neighboring peaks such as Bullion Peak but those who snowshoe must stay off all ski trail paths while the resort is open. WHEN GOING INTO THE BACKCOUNTRY YOU ARE REQUIRED TO CHECKIN WITH THE SKI PATROL AND SHOW YOUR INTENDED DESTINATION. IN ADDITION IF YOU PLAN ON STAYING OVERNIGHT YOU WILL HAVE TO PARK IN A DESIGNATED SPOT OVERNIGHT WITH YOUR INTENDED ROUTE LISTED ON THE VEHICLE. In order to get the best parking space at Crystal Mountain the person must arrive at the ski area at 8:00 am or earlier in order to get a good parking spot.
Views from the summit include Platinum Peak, Crystal Mountain, neighboring nearby peaks and like other summits in the region; a stellar view of Mount Rainier. This of course is if you are luck and chance a sunny day in the Crystal Mountain Region. Often times in winter this region receive snow in winter for twenty day straight or more despite being somewhat in Mount Rainier rain-shadow. In summer though this area is often cloud free and Bullion Peak like other mountains in the region will reveal the great views here.
In mid to late summer Bullion Peak is just a simple Class 2 off trail bushwhack from the nearby Pacific Trail which can be reached by the Bullion Basin Trail. Only essential hiking gear is need. In winter snowshoes are required and an ice axe is recommended. On my winter trip up Bullion Peak I really did not use the ice axe for necessity but conditions here could change so I highly recommend bringing one.
Here is a brief overview of the route up. The route starts from the Crystal Mountain Parking area and then heads up (in winter a service road which starts on the eastern side of the ski area. Take the road all the way to a trail marked the Bullion Basin Trail. During winter this sign might be hard to spot so pay attention to some of the snowshoe tracks. From there take the Bullion Basin trail all the way to the Basin. You will pass by some potential avalanche slope on your left hand side so use a little caution when traversing the side of this ridge. Once in the heart of the basin head south up to Bullion Peak and try to stay away from the large clear area on the north side of Bullion Peak. Try to attain the north ridge of the ridge where you will have a view of the summit and then traverse the ridge all the way to the summit. Descend the way you came or (only if the avalanche danger is low and the slope is safe) glissade down the north slope to your winter snowshoe tracks.
Getting ThereVIA THE CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN SKI AREA: From Enumclaw take 410 east for 33 miles until just before reaching the gate of Mt. Rainier National Park. In winter this road will be gated just passed the Crystal Mountain Road. Make a left on Crystal Mountain Blvd (7190) (paved) go roughly 6 miles to the main ski area.
Note: In summer you can take the F. S. R. road roughly 1.8 miles from the ski area and take it up to the Bullion Basin Trailhead at 4800 feet. The road is rocky and steep (4WD highly recommended) and a Northwest Forest Pass is required.
Red TapeNo fees required at Crystal Mountain to park. However you must stay off the established ski trails at all times.
In summer if you take the F.S.R. 410 trailhead you will be required to have a Northwest Forest Pass.
CampingIt is required that if you plan on camping in the backcountry and park at the Crystal Mountain Ski Area that you check in at the Ski Patrol before planning any overnight trip and park only in the designated lots that they give you.
External LinksThe best page to find local weather and local conditions on Bullion Peak and neighboring mountains in the region.
The beast website for trip report on Bullion Peak and other Cascade Mountains in the region.
An article about hiking here in summer.
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