Mount Phelps

Labeled as McLain Peaks on some maps, Mount Phelps is a prominent peak due east of Seattle located off of North Fork Snoqualmie River Road. A steep but short scramble with 3,000 feet of gain in 3.5 miles.

Driving Instructions

From Ballarat Street in the center of North Bend, follow the North Fork County Road, keeping generally right, but uphill and left at 3.8 mi. Cross the entry to Snoqualmie Tree Farm Roads (spur 10) at 8 mi. and continue to the junction of Forest Roads 57 and 5730 (~20 mi from North Bend). The sign at junction says "FS 57." The road may be blocked there (Lennox Creek, 1,600 ft), but in 2001 it was open.

APPROACH & ascent

Hike up Forest Road 5730 across Snoqualmie River about 1 mile to where several large trees have blown down across the road. Just beyond this a short spur road switchbacks on the left to the base of a clearcut. Ascend the clearcut 600 feet angling to the right to intersect the Forest Road 5730-311 (labelled Forest Road 5736 on most maps, 2,600 ft).

Follow the road right for 0.25 mi, just across the first creek to a spur road on the left leading to the Blackhawk Mine, another 0.25 mi. The mine is only recognizable as a small land slide at the end of the road. A few trees above the mine hide the clearcut above. Find a boot trail that is occasionally marked with orange flagging. The trail often disappears under logs and growth. At the top of the clearcut (3,600 ft) the boot trail continues up through the forest to a "pocket basin" at 3,800 ft. The boot trail continues west and disappears except for occasional flagging. Continue traversing rising slightly, staying below 4,200 ft, to a major snow field that heads directly to the summit. If you encounter a substantial cliff band, you have not traversed far enough.

alternate route #1

Continue hiking the road 5730 and pick up Forest Road 5736 (most maps) or 5730-113 (signed). This adds a few miles of road walk but eliminates the first and most difficult clearcut. Cross three creeks (waterfalls) then look right for the spur road leading to the Blackhawk mine. Continue with standard route above.

alternate route #2

Take the North Fork Snoqualmie River Road, then Forest Road 5736 (opened in 2001) for about 1 mile, to an old log dump (2,650 ft). Follow the abandon roadway on the right to the old Blackhawk mine, located on the north side of the stream draining the basin between Mount Phelps and Little Phelps. A trail ascends the ridge here. At 3,800 ft below rock outcrops, traverse left into the basin. Cross, staying below 4,200 ft to the opposite ridge, then ascend the ridge, traversing rightward to the summit.


  • Mount Phelps is often mislabeled as and Mclain Peaks and visa versa on many maps.
  • The clearcuts are horrendous and slippery when wet. Bring leather gloves to deal with the thorns. In general it is better to do this when some snow is present. May is generally a good month.
  • Suitable Activities: Scrambling
  • Seasons: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Strenuous 3, Technical 4
  • Length: 7.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft
  • 5,535 ft
  • USGS Mt Phelps
  • Alpine Lakes Wilderness (ALPS)
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