It has been about a month since my last hike and I really missed getting out. Weather and life events kept me away. It was nice to get out with my 40+ Slacker group again. On October 22, we headed up to Mount McCausland up at Steven’s Pass. We were warned to bring microspikes and winter wear for this hike just in case we needed it and I was glad to have both at the top.
Here’s the stats per WTA:
7 miles round trip, 1800 feet gain, High point 5747 feet.
No parking pass was required for this hike.
For trip reports, driving directions, and more trail details see wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/mt.-mccausland
This trail starts at the Smithbrook Trailhead and climbs moderately at first. We have recently had a lot of rain and while the weather was nice, the trail itself was very wet. Water was running down several sections. Be sure to bring water proof boots. gaiters are also recommended to keep the mud off of you pants.
There were several mushrooms along the trail, I only snapped a picture of one grouping, did not collect any as I don’t have much mushroom knowledge. As you climb you will pass a rocky area and continue up some switch backs to a junction. Also, don’t forget to look up to catch some peek-a-boo mountain views. (about 1.5 miles) Head left, (southbound) at this junction.
This next section is pretty flat and is a nice rest before the big climb to the summit. We encountered a little dusting of snow on this portion, which got a maybe up to a few inches in a few places as we climbed. We did not need microspikes until we got higher up.
About 3 miles from the trailhead, just before dropping to Lake Valhalla, you’ll find a turn-off for Mount McCausland to the right. The trail is unmarked, but you will see the switchbacks, heading up the mountain. From here the trail gets steeper with shorter switchbacks. Hiking poles are recommended. There are some big steps and the trail surface is a little loose, plus with the snow it really helps keep you from slipping. It is much harder climbing for this last half mile up (Very steep). Apparently in the summer this is a great place for huckleberries but they were mostly buried in snow by the time we arrived. We ended up putting on our microspikes shortly after beginning this climb as the snow became deeper and more slick. At this time the snow was what we used to call Sierra Cement when growing up in Tahoe. I guess in the Cascades, they call it Cascade Concrete. The snow was very wet and soft. Use caution if going up. At the top, I would say there was at least a foot of snow.
Don’t forget to look up on your way! Amazing views. I did not do the final push to the actual summit because I was nervous with the loose snow and tired, but apparently you can see Glacier Peak and more from the top. I will have to make a go of it another time. We found a nice lunch spot with gorgeous views. Ed brought his Jet Boil and provided a nice treat for us at the top with a choice of Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Tea and Bailey’s. With satisfied stomachs we climbed back down. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day weather-wise with clear views. Happy to get back out in the PNW.