Granite Mountain Hike
The Granite Mountain hike is a heavily trafficked out and back trail near Snoqualmie Pass that is rated as hard. This trail offers unbelievable views of Mount Rainier, Kaleetan Peak, Crystal Lake, and more. However, you’ll need to take on almost 305 m of elevation gain per mile to see it all! If you’re up for a leg burner, this trail will astound you at the summit.
Please note that there is an avalanche chute that crosses the Granite Mountain trail. If you’re hiking in the snow, you should have a solid understanding of avalanche safety and the proper equipment.
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Route Description for Granite Mountain Hike
The summit of Granite Mountain offers excellent views, and the trail to the top is sure to deliver in terms of a workout. While we don’t recommend this trail for newer hikers because of the consistent, hefty elevation gain, if you’re ready to sweat, you’ll be rewarded.
This trail has an avalanche chute that crosses it early on. Because of this, we don’t recommend hiking this route in the winter or early spring due to the risk of avalanche. If you choose to hike in these seasons, please have a solid understanding of avalanche safety and the proper equipment.
The hike begins at the Pratt Lake trailhead. Hike through a shaded forest on a nice, wide trail. You’ll see the avalanche chute before the junction for Granite Mountain Trail. The junction is just over a mile in- go right here.
The trail begins to climb more aggressively over rocker terrain. The trail climbs consistently through a set of switchbacks. About a mile from the junction, you’ll cross the same avalanche chute. Keep going past the chute eastward, cresting the shoulder of the mountain.
Entering into a subalpine meadow, you’ll get some relief from the steep climb and some impressive views to motivate you. Continue along the trail, which becomes rockier and rockier over a short distance. Take care as you cross over the boulders.
You’ll take one more switchback, which provides a nice view. Don’t stop here, you’ve still got a mile to go! You’ll hike north along a narrow trail through a basin, then through a lush meadow with a talus slope next to it. Use this as a moment of respite before the final push.
Make the final effort to the summit, where the full view unfolds. You’ll see Mount Rainier in the distance, Mount Stuart, Mount Baker, the Teanaway, and more. Snap some photos, have a snack, and savour the fruits of your effort before it’s time to head down.
Note: The lookout at the summit is not always open. If it is closed, you cannot access it. If a ranger is present, you can enjoy it. That being said, there can be many hikers at the summit on weekends, and it’s good to limit your time at the lookout to give everyone a chance to experience the view.
When you’re ready, return the same way you came up.
Hiking Route Highlights
The gem of the view from the top of Granite Mountain is Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in Washington and a mighty sight from any angle. This 14,410-foot stratovolcano is visible to the south on a clear day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Granite Mountain hard to hike?
Yes, Granite Mountain is considered a strenuous hike. The trail isn’t technical, but it is steep.
When is the lookout on Granite Mountain open?
The lookout is open when there is a ranger present. If there is no ranger present, it is not open. There is not necessarily a regular schedule for opening, but you’ll be able to enjoy a nice view either way.
Do I need a pass to hike Granite Mountain?
Yes, please have your Northwest Forest Pass ready for this hike.
Insider Hints for Granite Mountain Hike
- Early morning or during the week is the best time to hike this trail if you’re looking to avoid some of the crowds.
- We recommend saving this one for a nice, clear day so you can get the full experience at the top.
- Grab a handful or two of huckleberries along the trail in late summer.
Getting to the Granite Mountain Hike Trailhead
The trailhead for the Granite Mountain hike is off I-90 exit 47. Turn left at the stop sign and cross the freeway. At the T-intersection, turn left and park at the Pratt Lake trailhead. This lot does fill, and cars will park on both sides of the access road.
Granite Mountain Hike Elevation Graph
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Granite Mountain Hike Reviews
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