Old Pass Hill, located between Old Blewett Pass and Blewett Pass is yet another nice summit in the eastern part of the Cascades. This summit primarily a winter destination is home to excellent panoramic views in all directions. Though the name of this summit ends with hill it is hardly a hill in many ways. With an elevation of 4885 feet, 765 feet of prominence from the passes and at least 1000 feet of relief on the north and south side this "hill" would be much more significant in many other locations. But due to its location sandwiched between the much higher Teanaway Region and the Tronsen Ridge area, this summit is dwarfed.
Though this summit is doable during the summer many of the routes (old logging roads) up to this summit are often covered by tough side alder. Even in winter with a decent snow pack this can add issues to a trip. In summer though the side alder becomes quiet an annoying obstacle. Another issue in summer is the heat. Because Blewett Pass is on the eastern dryer side of the Cascades it is often much hotter in Blewett Pass than in other parts of the Cascades. For these reasons as well the fact that there other much larger mountains in the region this summit is not usually done in the summer.
Winter time though is a much different story for this summit. Because the located between Blewett Pass and Old Blewett Pass this peak makes for a great winter snowshoe destination. There are number of snow-covered roads from Blewett Pass that make for a great approach to summit of Old Pass Hill. These snow-covered roads offer excellent views off to the west to the mountains of the Teanaway and the higher Enchantments as well as distant but towering Mount Stuart. Just remember that a Sno-Park pass is required.
To reach the summit of Old Pass Hill via Blewett Pass take Forest Road 7324 (snowmobile trail). At about 0.3 miles make a left onto the X-ski/ snowshoe trail. You will stay on this snow-covered road/ ski trail for 3 miles until you reach a saddle right at the foot of Old Pass Hill. You will pass Cairn Hill to your let which is another fine summit to go for while you are heading to Old Pass Hill. Once you pass Cairn Hill you will see Old Pass Hill off in the distance. Once at the saddle focus on consistently taking the highest road to the mountain.
This route will be off the main ski path which then start to head downhill from the mountain. Continue heading up the road at one point passing a rather nasty field of side alder on the way up. You will make one more left past the rough side alder and then take the road up to within 80 feet of the summit. Once you sense that you are near the summit head steeply up the hill and from there follow the ridge to the highest point and that will be your summit. The summit is partially tree covered however you will have a fantastic views of the Teanaway and the Enchantments to west and of Diamond Head and the Lillians to the East.
Getting ThereVIA BLEWETT PASS IN WINTER: Take 97 to Blewett Pass. Blewett Pass will be well marked on the western side of the road. On both sides of the road will be Sno-Park signs and there will a fair amount of snowmobile traffic in the area. Be respectful of where to park because the snowmobile truck will need space to park there vehicles in and out of the parking area.
VIA BLEWETT PASS IN SUMMER: Take 97 to Blewett Pass. Turn west onto Forest Road 7324. At 0.4 miles make a left onto Road 500. NOTE: Road might be in poor condition or not even open in early summer. Take road if possible all the way to the Y intersection of the road. At some point the road will become unmaintained so go only as far as your car will allow you to. Pull off in good area off the road.
Red TapeIn winter a SnoPark Pass is required ($21 for the day and $42 for the week).
CampingThere are areas in which you can do some backcountry camping in the area such as Haney Meadows. As for summit area I would discourage camping on the summit due to its close proximity to Highway 97.
Trip Report LinksA brief trip report on Cairn Hill and neighboring Old Pass Hill"
Another good trip report with Cairn Hill and Old Pass Hill
Blewett Pass LinksLink to live camera of Blewett Pass
Information on winter trail in Blewett Pass. Though much of the information is for snowmobilers, there is plenty of information for hikers.
Snow information at Blewett Pass from the Snotel located at Blewett Pass. This will give you an idea about how much snow is at the pass and what to expect.