Meadow Mountain located south of I-90 is not a very popular peak to visit. Hopefully this page will bring some much need attention to what is actually a very beautiful summit and a very neglected region of Washington State. The road in this area are very rough and the peak itself seems to have lost the trail it once had. At 1840 feet of prominence it is a very prominent peak is the central Cascades. The mountain itself was once a home to a lookout tower on the southern most peak on the Meadow Mountain ridge. This peak is not the highest on the ridge but clearly has some of the best views of the entire Meadow Mountain ridge. Mount Rainier stand out above all along with Kelly Butte, Blowout Mountain and many other of the Rainier satellite peaks. The northern peak in the range is the highest on the ridge and though its view are not quiet as panoramic they are excellent as well. This peak stares right into the Green River Watershed and also has great views to the east as well. The middle summits also has unique views as well. There are also a number of other sub-peaks along the ridge as well. The sub-peak just south of the north peak does have some vegetation on but does have some views. The sub-peak a little further to the south is completely treed in, however there are some views a couple yards away. If one were to travel to Meadow Mountain one must go up all the summits of Meadow Mountain to clearly enjoy the views that each peak has.
Mount Rainier through the clouds
Provided you have a high clearance and 4-wheel drive vehicle this peak is just a short trail/bushwhack to the summit. Notice what I said because my passenger car did not even get close to Meadow Pass without suffering damage. My Jeep made it half way up the final road before it suffered some issues as well. If you plan coming here with a passenger car prepare either for serious damage to your car or prepare to walk many miles to the route up. There used to be a trail from the upper parking lot but this as become very vague and it is now a partial bushwhack until hitting a well defined trail higher up. The trip up is short (bushwhack/bootpath/trail) and there is nothing of sort in terms of heavy scrambling or real exposure.
Views from the true summit
Looking up north from the former lookout area
VIA MEADOW MOUNTAIN FROM THE SOUTH: From Exit 62 off I-90 head west. After one mile make a right at the Y intersection (Forest Road 5480 just before the gravel section. This road once was badly potholed but has been fixed up in early July and now is very smooth. Do not except this for the rest of the trip. Head on this road for 1.6 miles to a Forest road 5483 on your left. This road has a developing washout at 2 miles and is already quiet rough for most passenger cars. If this road is not taken care of in the next year or two it will likely washout completely. Stay on this road for 3.6 miles to another left turn signed for Meadow Pass. If you have a passenger car stop now and walk. This road is deeply rutted and the brush and growing in making this road very narrow. It is fun in a Jeep but it will destroy a passenger car as I can say from personal experience. Once in Meadow Pass you will enter a T-intersection where you make a right and head as far as you can. This road should be saved for High Clearance and 4 wheel drive vehicles such as Jeeps. A Forester might struggle on this road. Park where you can make it to safely.
Meadow Mountain Route Map
Assuming that you start from the turn around just before the leg of the road you will want to look for a boot-path just above the higher curve. There once was a trail here but from my experience you will not see the trail until you are much higher up. Take the faded boot-path/bushwhack up. If you follow it closely you will hit the faded No Trespassing Signs. You will go up the at times a boot-path and at times more bushwhacking until you hit a very large fallen tree. There you will pick up a well defined trail that will go in some switchbacks and then take you into a nice heather field. The trail will fade here but still can be followed with exception to a couple trees that have fallen on it. It will take you all the way to the southern summit which was home to the former lookout tower.
The true summit
The former lookout area (not the true summit)
From there you want to follow the ridge on what is sometimes a boot-path, sometime a trail and sometimes bushwhacking. Try to hit all the summits if you can. The middle summit has little or no view, the one second to the north summit has some views and the northern summit has stunning views. There are also great views along the ridge. And a small tarn on the eastern side of the ridge maybe 150 feet below the ridge crest.
Looking west from ridge
Watch where you are hiking here. Do not cross into the Watershed or risk prosecution. Other than that no red tape.
When to Climb
Outside of the occasional thunderstorm, summer is the best time to climb this mountain
You can do this summit at anytime. However in winter this will be a major undertaking and may involve using a snowmobile, along with the snowshoes and ice axe. In spring some of this will melt out but do not plan on a lot of road to melt out until June or July depending on what type of winter we had. I personally would recommend summer for this summit or early fall.
There is some roadside camping on the way up to Meadow Mountain. There are also some spots along the ridge which one can camp if they want. This is though totally voluntary in summer.