Stillaguamish Peak is only a modest mountain but is a popular hike/climb from the Mountain Loop Highway because it has a trail all the way to the top. Albeit, there are two sections where the trail is hard to follow or is non-descript. The peak is the western highpoint of the long ridge connecting to Mt. Forgotten
, which is about two miles to the east. In fact, the two peaks use the same approach trail (Perry Creek Trail). Further, if you've got 2 or 3 extra hours to use up, you could do both peaks in the same day. Once you get on the connecting ridge the climb becomes a leisurely alpine stroll through lovely heather and blueberry gardens. Your fingers may be purple by the time you're done.
The summit of Stillaguamish Peak is a flat, grassy area that is great for a picnic with a view. There are two lakes
--one large and one tiny--north of the summit on a sub-alpine bench. They can appear close enough to dive in to on a hot, sunny day. South Lake is the large one--an odd name for a lake north
of a summit. However, there is a nearby South Fork Falls Creek into which the lake drains. The other lake is called Pemmican Lake and it's maybe the size of a football field. What is pemmican
? Click here
to find out.
The peak's name refers to an Indian tribe by that name. There is a North and South Fork Stillaguamish River. The peak's south side drains to the South Fork. The North Fork is not nearby. The peak's north side drains to Falls Creek thence to the Sauk River.
Getting to the Trailhead
NOTE: As of 2010, the old starting point for this trail from the end of the road that goes part way up Perry Creek is no longer available. The road has been gated. I heard there is a connector trail from the Dickerman Mountain Trailhead. This seems dumb to me as that trailhead is over a mile to the southeast. Maybe it would just be best to hike the old road (less than a mile?) that you could once drive. I'm not sure why they would gate it. Yeah, there was a crappy turnaround at the end, but it was a good road.
This peak is accessed from the Mountain Loop Highway. The only route worth mentioning here is the standard one via the Perry Creek Trail. Other routes will be longer and not worth the effort. To get to the vicinity of the peak on the Mountain Loop Highway you can either come from the west (from Puget Sound) or from the east (from Darrington). However, at the moment, the MLH is washed out in a couple of places east of Barlow Pass. Therefore, the only access is currently from the west.
From Interstate 5, take the US-2 exit at Everett. Go three miles east on US-2 then go left up the hill on SR-204 to Lake Stevens. Go left (north) on SR-9 for two miles then right (east) on SR-92. This road later "becomes" Mountain Loop Highway. In about 8 miles, the highway arrives at Granite Falls. Alternatively, from Interstate 5 in Marysville, you can take SR-528 east for four miles to SR-9. Turn left (north) on SR-9 and go two miles to 84th Street NE. Go east on 84th for five miles to where it junctions with SR-92 a few miles west of Granite Falls. From the major intersection in Granite Falls, drive the Mountain Loop Highway east for 26.2 miles to a turn on the left. A sign there points to the Perry Creek Trail. If you come to the Mt. Dickerman
Trailhead you've gone too far. Drive the logging road north for as far as you can until you hit the new gate, then walk the road to its end here
. Elevation is approx. 2,060 ft.
Perry Creek Trail
The first couple of hundred yards of the Perry Creek Trail proper (2060+ ft) is through thick re-growth forest (small-diameter trees). After that the forest ends and you will be walking a trail cut through brushy slopes northeastward for about 1.8 miles. The trail re-enters forest as it nears Perry Creek at a waterfall. Watch your step here (or watch your kids or dogs). Continue another couple of hundred feet to the creek crossing (3,280 ft). Ford the creek (not typically difficult) either on a log or on rocks. There is a large log on the other side you can walk up or take a brushy path to its right to regain the trail on the opposite (north) bank.
Continue on the Perry Creek Trail through thick forest for another mile or so, going almost all the way to the 4,900-ft saddle above. This is where the junction to Stillaguamish Peak can be missed. Essentially, once you go past the prominent switchback at 4,300 ft, you want to continue on the trail for another 0.3 miles. Keep an eye out on the left for a trail. The nature of the duffy underforest obscures the tread. If you can't locate the trail it is easy to find. Simply angle up and left from just below the saddle. The trail cuts across the south slope just below the ridge crest west of the saddle.
Once you find the trail leading west toward Stillaguamish Peak, keep on it all the way to the final notch before the summit. If there is snow on the ridge, simply stay as close to the crest as possible. The north side is cliffs; the south side is benches and meadows. There are actually two notches to climb through. The first one between Pts 5420 and 5443 looks bad on the map but offers no real problems. The second notch is right next to (east of) the summit. The trail here can be hard to follow but I think it goes close to the north side of the east bank of the notch. If you go too far below the south side of the notch you will have to sketch up or across a loose, pebbly gully.
The other side of the notch continues being rocky. Take a rough footpath leftward across a face to round a corner. On the right about 150 feet from the notch you can begin climbing directly up steep, terraced grass, rock, and heather slopes to the top or continue westward to easier (lower angle) slopes. The latter finish goes to a minor saddle west of the summit and requires a modest bushwhack of about 100 feet to make the top. There is a register.
I'm not sure what the Trail Park Pass requirements are at this time (2010). The road has been gated.
When To Climb
You could climb Stillaguamish Peak year-round. In the winter your major concerns will be avalanching in Perry Creek and iced-up rock slopes in and around the final notch before the summit. In summer there are no issues though an ice-axe might be advisable even in late-season. Perhaps the best time to climb the peak is in the fall when the fauna has changed to autumn colors. The lower Perry Creek Trail will be ablaze with orange brush and white fireweed seeds ready to fluff off their stalks. The upper sub-alpine slopes will glow with reddening blueberry and ash.
This is a day-hike kind of climb so there is no need to camp. If you must camp, you can find plenty of that on the sub-alpine ridge. But don't trample the native vegetation too much.
Mountain ConditionsLocalized Forecast
Views from the Mountain I
Views from the Mountain II