Rock Mountain is a classic summit in the Route 2 area with amazing views of three different volcanoes as well as Mt. Stuart and many of the central Cascades. The views from this summit make this mountain well known and popular among hikers in the northwest. During the summer when the snow has melted this mountain can be reached by two YDS Class 1 (yes it is a walk up pure and simple) trails and both trails come with rewarding views.
Out of the two routes to the summit, Trail 1531 from the Snow Creek dirt road. is the preferred summer route to the summit. This trail, at 9.5 miles roundtrip and 3350 feet of elevation is a very pleasant trip to the summit. The trail travels through thick forest through the first two miles before coming to an ideal camping area called Snowy Creek Basin. From there the trail steepens up a little but follows in switchbacks all of the way to the ridgeline. Through these switchback you pass through some absolutely amazing views from the beautiful western fields that dot this mountain. Once you hit the ridgeline take a left on the obvious spur line to the summit. Throughout the entire trip, if it is not snowcovered you will encounter no scrambles or any difficulties. This route is ideal for a fit person who want to start getting into hiking. THe only problem is that this mountains views are so good you are really setting a bar high to the point that it is going to be hard to find another mountain with better views (especially with such little effort). A well in shape hiker can easily do this in 2 hours but why would you want to rush this experience! Views especially in the alpine meadows are beyond amazing! The downfall with this route is that it is only a summer route and can't be reached in winter.
The other route, Trail 1587, which is also Class 1 and scenic comes up from Route 2. Home to 95 switchbacks and a 4250 feet of elevation gain this trail is much less desirable to the Snowy Creek Trailhead. That being said the trail up this side passes near the scenic Rock Lake and has good views to the southeast. In particular this would be the desired winter route because it is right off of Route 2 and it has southeast exposure which keep thgis side much warmer. Ideally there are a couple spots where a good glissade can be done. As with many mountains in this region, crampons and especially an ice axe is a must with snowshoes in some of more level areas!!
If you come up bring your camera, because I took 86 pictures of the summit and myy hiking partner took well over 100 pictures. Rather you are a hiker or a climber this summit is a real treat and well worth visiting.
Getting ThereVIA TRAIL 1531 FROM SNOWY CREEK: From Route 2 take the Smith Brook Road roughly 5 miles through Rainy Pass. Smith Brook Road (6700) will be between The ROute 2 trailhead and Stevens Pass. Once passed the Rainy Pass head about a mile down and veer right on Snowy Creek Road (6705). Continue down the road 3.6 miles to the trailhead which will be on your right.
VIA TRAIL 1587 FROM ROUTE 2: On Route 2 look for powerline that cross the road. Around these powerline roughly 10 miles east of Stevens Pass you will a gravel road on the north hand side leading to the trailhead.
Red TapeNo Northwest Forest Pass is required on either trailhead. Both the Snowy Creek Road and Route 2 specifically states that no pass is needed.
Weather ConditionsThough a little far away this area will at least give you a more accurate read on temperatures at the base of Rock Mountain.
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CampingCamping here is not requirement to summit this mountain. Both trails can be done as dayhikes. However great camping can be found on the Snowy Creek side at Snowy Creek Basin (elevation 4600 feet).
External LinksFor updated information on trail conditions around Rock Mountain or the Cascades checkout www.nwhikers.net
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