|Snoqulamie, Thomson, Chikamin, Alta, and Hibox rise above fog at Snoqualmie Pass, seen from Silver Peak|
Difficulty: Moderate-strenuous; rock scrambling necessary and routefinding skills are helpful
Access: Bumpy unpaved road to trailhead (no high clearance okay), Northwest Forest Pass required
Silver Peak is the tallest peak immediately south of Washington State's Snoqualmie Pass and is one of the more prominent peaks in the region. These attributes explain the peak's excellent views of Snoqualmie Pass and its attendant mountains. While the stats for this hike may suggest that Silver is a much easier climb than other I-90 peaks such as Bandera or McClellan Butte, the copious rock scrambling required at the end of this hike make this climb a bit of a challenge. Hikers who follow the Pacific Crest Trail and then an unmarked, unofficial climbers' trail to the summit of Silver Peak can experience an incredible panorama of peaks of the Central Cascades.
I hiked Silver Peak along with neighboring Mount Catherine on an extremely nice November day. I left Seattle on I-90 heading east and drove out to Hyak at exit 54; upon leaving the interstate, I turned right and followed Hyak Drive through the village of Hyak until the road turned into NF 9070. I continued on the road, now unpaved, for five miles to the trailhead, passing a set of switchbacks and some rocky patches in the road. The road came to a clearcut at Windy Pass after I passed by the trailhead for Mount Catherine; a wooden sign here marked the road's junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. I parked on the side of the road just past the Pacific Crest Trail access point; there's no parking lot so all hikers will need to park alongside the road here.
From the PCT junction, I followed the Pacific Crest Trail south. The first tenth of a mile of trail passed through a clearcut from a decade or so ago; new evergreens had begun filling the landscape but trees were sparse enough that I could still across from Windy Pass to the rocky peaks rising across the valley. I passed a small pond in the clearcut that reflected the snow-capped summits of Snoqualmie Mountain and Kaleetan Peak in its calm morning waters.
|Pond in clearcut near trailhead|
|Fog fills Cold Creek Valley|
|Pacific Crest Trail south of Windy Pass|
|Waterfall along the Pacific Crest Trail|
|If you see this pond, you've hiked past the turnoff for Silver Peak|
The footpath was occasionally difficult to follow as it wound its way through the ridgetop forest.
Near the junction of ridges emanating from Silver, Abiel, and Tinkham Peaks, I caught a first view of my destination of the day: Silver Peak, reflected in a tiny rainwater pond.
|Pools of water above Abiel Pass|
|Talus slope on the route up Silver Peak|
|Mount Rainier seen from Silver Peak|
|Silver Peak summit block|
|Mount Catherine and Mount Stuart rise above the fog|
|Si, Mailbox, Defiance, Bandera, Granite, Kaleetan, and Chair- the I-90 peaks|
|Abiel Peak rises above Annette Lake|