Castle Peak & First Mother Mountain

First Mother Mountain and Castle Peak, east of Mowich Lake, provides a lot of variety in scrambling terrain in only 5 miles and 2,400 feet of elevation gain. The steep boot track to Knapsack Pass leads past heather and tarns, and is followed by an extended rocky ridge run between First Mother Mountain (the first goal) and Castle Peak.


Hike from Mowich Lake to Knapsack Pass via a boot track. Go west along the ridge, past the 6,394 point, to the summit of First Mother, again following boot tracks carefully. The summit is not named on the USGS map but is the easternmost point of this ridge before a major cleft with the remainder of Mother Mountain.

Retrace your steps toward but not all of the way back to Knapsack Pass, then curl around to the west and eventually north towards Castle Peak. Note that the true summit of Castle is at the south end of its summit plateau, not where the 6,110 point is on the map.

  • Suitable Activities: Scrambling
  • Seasons: July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 2
  • Length: 5.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,750 ft
  • 6,540 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
    Mount Rainier Wilderness
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Default Party Size: 8
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • USGS Mowich Lake
  • Red Marker
    46.932595, -121.863441
    46.9325950988 -121.863441467
  • Red Marker
    46.947025, -121.851082
    46.9470254571 -121.851081848

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