Snow Mountain Ranch
OCTOBER 31, 2009 It was raining and cold at Snoqulamie Pass as we headed east to sunny Yakima for this hike on the dry side of the mountains. A warm 60º and sunny skies greeted us at the Snow Mountain Ranch trailhead. The wildflowers were long gone, clearing center stage for the colorful trees that lined Cowiche Creek. We joined a guided hike to Cowiche Mountain, led by the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy, which preserves and maintains the lands of Cowiche Canyon and Snow Mountain Ranch.
We hiked the Cowiche Mountain loop trail counterclockwise, climbing steadily as we hiked up a ravine to the ridge. The wind was brisk as we climbed to the ridge, and at the summit we took shelter behind a windbreak of sage brush for a short lunch. The views were expansive, and our guide oriented us by pointing out the cities and mountain ridges all around us. The view from the summit of Cowiche Mountain includes Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Hood in the distance, but the mountains were veiled in clouds for this hike. The hike down the arm of the ridge provided wide open views, but the trail here is primitive and marked with cairns. It would be hard to loose your way in the wide open spaces, however, as long as you started down the trail in the right direction.
For more information about the trail and the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy visit: www.cowichecanyon.org