Yakima Peak is a well photographed and famous summit in the Mount Rainier region of the Washington Cascades. Often this peak serves as a backdrop to Tipsoo Lake, Yakima Peak has been seen by many who travel through the eastern side of the Mount Rainier National Park. It is the northern tower of the Chinook Pass, dividing line between Mount Rainier National Park and Wenatchee National Forest. From the south this at first intimidating south wall looking like it would be nearly impossible to safely to go up. Therefore despite it being very close to Highway 410 and only being 1000 feet of elevation gain and 2 miles round trip, the peak is not all that often summited by hikers and climbers.
The big reason for the lack of visitors heading to the summit is the fact that there is no trail to the summit. Instead the easiest way up to the summit is up either the north or south gullies. East of these steep gullies can easily go up to an angle near 45 degrees and when the snow melts are Class 2 with small areas of Class 3 thrown. If you hit early enough in June just after Chinook Pass opens though the north side gully is completely snow-covered making for an excellent snow-climb. During this time an ice axe is required and crampons are a good idea, especially if you are climb this peak in the morning. If the snow is right though the glissade down is excellent. From my experiences I would highly recommend this mountain for spring. Yakima Peak can also carry a lot of fall cover because much of the area around the peak is covered with nice bear grass.
The views from Yakima Peak are excellent. Yakima Peak offers excellent four volcano views from its summit. Rainier dominates the west while Adams and Hood dominate the south and Saint Helens dominates the southwest. Towards the east lies American Ridge and Mount Aix and to the north lies many other peaks some which are located in the Crystal Mountain area. Overall this a great view and well worth the scramble or snow-climb up!
Getting ThereVIA 410: The trailhead to to Yakima Peak is located on Highway 410 roughly a fifth of a mile east of Chinook Pass. Park on in the parking area on the northern lot towards the ridgeline in the obvious parking area that also has bathroom facilities for guests.
Red TapeDay use parking area. Requires a NW Forest Pass once a guest has been there for more than thirty minutes. The parking area more serves tourist for taking picture rather than for peakbaggers. I would though suggest this is day use parking area though.
CampingBackcountry Permit Required for Camping while in Mount Rainier National Park. For more information please click here
Yakima Peak is located right on the border between Mount Rainier National Park and Wenatchee National Forest. Therefore the rules on one side of the peak are completly different from the other side of the peak.
Since Yakima Peak is only 2 miles and 1000 feet of elevation gain I would highly recommended not camping when doing this peak.