This route is really only recommended for springtime conditions when snow is present on the upper 2/3rds of the mountain.
starts off at the road that heads to Cooper Lake but if snow is present you will lose it before long. I will also put up the trail route in the latter half of this route page but I really believe that this hike is much more enjoyable when there is snow present. Of course, I should mention that you need to use judgement and common sense before venturing out onto steep snow slopes as it is always possible that a slope could slide on you under certain conditions. So, be aware that you do this at your own risk. Now that I have the disclaimer out of the way, let me cover the way we did this route.
We started up the trail and found the trail easy to follow at the beginning as snow alternated with sections of soil. At this point, the trail dropped down to a creek
but it wasn't to our liking so we continued on a boot track that paralled the creek on the west side. It would disappear at times but it was never difficult to figure out where it would be going. Some brush slowed us down a bit but fortunately it wasn't that much of an impediment.
The higher up we went the more snow we were dealing with until snow ruled everything. At this point, we hit a logging road
and followed it about a hundred yards and then just started up the mountain
, trying to stay as close as we could to the ridgeline that we could see on the map. The slope got very steep in the trees and there was no need to use snow shoes as the snow was hard and consolidated in the trees.
Out of the trees, zig zagging up the slope
Finally, the trees thinned out and we were able to move out on the snow slopes
and zig zag our way up, steadily gaining altitude despite sinking in as far as our ankles, sometimes further.
We moved across the slope
and abandoned sticking close to the ridge so we could hit a saddle
between the north and south summits. From the saddle, it was easy enough to access either one of the summits and as long as one avoids the cornices on the leeward side of the ridgeline, it is a nice hike.
Figure three hours up and two hours down depending on the snow conditions and conditions. If the snow slope is iffy, I'd recommend that the ridgeline be taken all the way.
Summertime and Fall
Karen Sykes has a description of this route in her fine book, "Hidden Hikes in Western Washington" Available at Amazon, REI stores, and many bookstores in Washington State.
She lists it as a 7 mile hike and as "challenging" She takes you to the old lookout site which isn't the highest point on Red Mtn but located at 5707 feet. Her elevation gain noted is 3107 feet.
This hike is noted at hike #42, pages 181-83 and is called
"Red Mountain via Cooper Pass Road"
I refer you to her work as I didn't go the way she describes and really can't comment accurately beyond the point where the trail crosses the stream.
See the information provided on the main page on how to get there.
Snowshoes, crampons, ice axe. Plenty of water, sunscreen and sunglasses or glacier goggles.
Leave the snowshoes, crampons and ice axe at home but a pair of hiking poles would be useful.