OverviewSituated just off of the Pacific Crest Trail, Valhalla Mountain is a popular winter/spring skiing and snowshoeing destination. In summer and fall, an ascent of Valhalla begins as a bushwhack, and finishes with an easy ridge climb. The best time of year to climb is late spring, early summer, when the snow is firm and the brush is still covered.
Depending on your ascent route (there is no trail to this summit), you may have partially to mostly obscured southern views, or partially obscured northern views. The route from the south is much more dense and brushy, while the route from the northeast is considerably easier. The ease of the route, coupled with the views of Mt. McCausland, Jove Peak, and of course Glacier Peak make the northeastern route much more enjoyable. The summit is relatively flat, with generally good, if partially obscured, views in all directions.
From the trailhead, you'll follow a fairly easy (it's more family friendly than most trails in this area) trail to a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. From there, it's an easy two miles to Lake Valhalla, situated at the base of the mountain. A serious peakbagger can ascend this summit in three to four hours round trip, easily. Don't forget the mosquito repellent!
From the west (Everett/Seattle): Travel SR 2 east 68.5 miles. Very soon after SR two separates, take a left on Smithbrook Road #6700. Be careful crossing the westbound lanes of SR 2! The Smithbrook trailhead is 2.7 miles up the road on the left hand side.
From the east (Wenatchee/Leavenworth): Travel SR 2 west, and turn right at about a half mile past milepost 69. The Smithbrook trailhead is 2.7 miles up the road on the left hand side.
From the trailhead, hike roughly a mile and a half to a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. At this intersection, take a left (south) and continue southwest for approximately two miles to Lake Valhalla.
In good conditions, this trail is only about 60-75 minutes each way, to the base of the mountain.
From the east or west: Make your way to Stevens Pass ski area, and park in the north lot, on the north side of SR 2. Find the road behind the green maintenance shed, which also happens to be the PCT #2000 heading north from Stevens Pass. Follow the PCT for approximately 6.5 miles to reach the lake.
This trail takes approximately two hours, and mostly follows SR 2. It will be less busy, but is slightly less enjoyable.
For additional information, please reference the Captain Point USGS quad map, or the Benchmark Mountain Green Trail map #144.
Winter considerations: In winter, you have one of a variety of options. You can make the trek from Stevens Pass. You can park on SR 2, near Smithbrook Road, and road slog up to the summer trail head. My recommendation is to park at Yodelin, and just blaze a trail straight up towards Lake Valhalla.
Red TapeA NW Forest Parking Pass is required at the Smithbrook parking lot. No pass is required at the PCT parking lot at Stevens Pass. Neither parking lot has any facilities, so plan ahead. Remember, pack it in, pack it out.
CampingCamping is permitted at Lake Valhalla, but campfires are strictly prohibited. As far as camping on Valhalla Mountain itself- the summit is a gentle plateau that would easily accommodate a tent.
External LinksWeather forecast out of Leavenworth, the nearest local forecast you'll get.
Stevens Pass Nordic Center is pretty close to the area, and should give pretty accurate winter conditions.