Red Pass/Commonwealth Basin

A strenuous, 10 mile round trip day hike or snowshoe trip with 2,700 feet of elevation gain. The trail heads up through forest, with a long walk though a meadow before climbing up to the pass. In winter, the route starts off along a popular winter route, and then heads up fairly steep less traveled slopes.

Getting There

From Seattle drive I-90 to exit 52, signed for Snoqualmie Pass West. At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn north and cross under the freeway. In about 100 yards, turn right onto a paved road leading into the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) trailhead.

The summer trailhead is in unplowed during winter. Parking is available in the Summit West Ski Area lot. From there you walk under the freeway overpass, then immediately climb up the snowbank and proceed up through the trees.

on the trail

season: july to october

Hike the PCT for 2.5 miles to a fork. Take the left fork and continue to Red Pass (5,300 ft).

snowshoe ROUTE

Season: December to April

From the freeway, follow old tracks up to the summer PCT trailhead and on to the route of the PCT trail. After about 75 yards, turn left and follow the Cascade Crest (aka Short-cut Trail) that parallels Commonwealth Creek all the way to the back of the Commonwealth Basin and to the base of Red Mountain. From there, follow the route of the summer trail up the steep south ridge, or the more open slopes a bit to the east. Aim for the small tarn shown on the USGS map at 4,800 ft. From there ascend the slope north to the saddle at 5,300 ft.

NOTEs

  • In winter, the route up to the base of Red Mountain is fairly safe up to and including “Considerable” avalanche danger. However, the slopes above 4,000 ft are highly susceptible to large avalanches and are unsafe in “Considerable” or “High” avalanche danger.

Information FOr leaders

Permit information

As of 2017, the Snoqualmie Ranger District considers Mountaineers trips and courses to be "nominal use". Leaders should print and copy this designation letter to show rangers they may see on trail or carry a digital copy on their phone.

  • Suitable Activities: Day Hiking, Snowshoeing
  • Snowshoeing Category: Basic
  • Seasons: Year-round
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Length: 10.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,700 ft
  • 5,350 ft
Map
  • Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass Gateway No. 207S
  • Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 207
  • USGS Snoqualmie Pass
Activities

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