Snooze Peak located on the west side of Lake Kachess is another good descent winter destination. The summit is at a low elevation yet requires an open area to reach the summit. Views from this summit are very of Kachess Lake and Kachess Ridge especially in winter. This mountain is a great alternative when many of the nearby higher mountains are having bad weather. Often when many of the higher mountains are fogged in this summit is cloud free leaving at least some sort of view of the countryside.
In summer this mountain is more of an afterthought due to the fact that there are many forest roads that come close to it. Anyone who has a 4X4 can to come to within a couple hundred feet of the summit and then bushwhack and scramble to the summit. Its relative low elevation compared to the surrounding mountains makes many pass on this peak. Only peak baggers tend to target this summit in summer and though it does have good views of Lake Kachess, Mount Margaret and Kachess Ridge, there are many other mountains in the area that are much more desirable. In other words in summer this mountain is a bit of a snooze and probably showed be saved for wintertime.
In winter Snooze Peak is a much more desirable destination and an ideal snowshoe hike. Front the Kachess SnoPark this is a 10 mile roundtrip hike with about 2000 feet of elevation gain. More than half of this trip requires traveling over a plowed snowmobile track which makes desirable for in shape beginners. Though there is snowmobile traffic on this route many will enjoy the occasional views of the Lake Kachess as the road traverses at first close to the coast. The second bit of the snowshoe though requires some road walking as well as some off trail work up an open slope to the summit making a decent challenge and well worthwhile as a winter destination up.
Getting ThereWINTER TRAILHEAD (KACHESS SNOPARK): On I-90 get off on Exit 62. Head on to Kachess Road North. You will hit the Kachess SnoPark in 3.1 miles where you will want to park on the righthand side. Do not block the turnaround or the portable toilets.
SUMMER TRAILHEAD: On I-90 get off on Exit 62. Head on to Kachess Road North for 3.4 miles. Stay on NF-49 which is past Kachess Road for 1.4 mi. Make a left on NF-4930 and go 0.4 miles to a large sign at a V-intersection. Make a left on NF-4948 and stay on it for 3.1 miles. From there make a left on NF-119 and go to 2.2 miles. This road though is very rough and may require four wheel drive and high clearance vehicles.
This will basically focus on the Winter Route to Snooze Peak. The summer route requires more 4*4 works then actual hiking and snowshoeing.Potentially the summer route showed might have road closures due to it being an abandoned forest road. The map above is the general route to the summit. You want to first take snowmobile road about 3 ½ miles. You will pass at 2 miles the Kachess Lake Campground than at 3 miles the Rachel Lake Trailhead road. A half mile past the Rachel Lake Trailhead road you will see a gated forest road on your left. Turn here and follow the road as it gradually rises up the mountain. You will see occasional views up Snooze Peak as you continue to head up the road. The road switchbacks up the mountain before it finally come to end near a ridge-line.
At this point you will hit the crux of the trip where you will have steeply break trail up through the forest until you reach the ridge-line. From there you want to loosely follow the ridge-line while trying to catch another forest road. The forest up here is much better for snow travel then the previous rise to the ridge. From there just continue to the summit ridge. You will want to monitor the snow for the final steep open section to the summit. Having an ice axe for this last small section may help especially if the snow somehow is firm. The finally rise is about 250 feet of 25 to 30 degree snow climbing until the final summit area.
The true summit is a rock and though there are some trees around the summit area there are plenty of great views of Lake Kachess, Keechelus Ridge and Kachess Ridge.
Red TapeIn summer provided you don't park at any trailhead there is no red tape. In winter this mountain requires a SnoPark pass which is $22 for the day and $42 for season.
When to ClimbThis mountain can be summited at any time of the year. However winter is the most desirable time to climb this mountain. It is much more challenging and beautiful in winter and much more of a hiking treat in winter.
CampingCamping on the summit can be done in winter and might be safer than in most area. Obviously leave no trace. There is also the Kachess Lake Campground which is managed by the Okanogan-Wenatchee District right on Lake Kachess. This campground is closed in winter. For more information click on this link.
External LinksRight now links on this mountain are very sparse. Here are a couple...
Snooze Peak Peakbagger Page
A non-winter hiking trip up Snooze Peak