Mutton Mountain by Noble Knob on Dalles Ridge via Deep Creek / 馬頓山

  • Reading time:7 mins read

Mutton Mountain by Noble Knob on Dalles Ridge may not be famous as its neighbor. But the views from this taller peak are pretty comparable. Besides the dramatic sight of Mountain Rainier, Mount Adams is also visible on a clear day.

Mutton Mountain up ahead
Mutton Mountain up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Mutton Mountain at a Glance

Access: Deep Creek Trailhead
Round Trip: 8.4 miles
Elevation Range: 2800′-6856′
Gear: snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Preface on Mutton Mountain

We didn’t have any new places close to home to visit after yesterday’s trip. Then with a late morning start, we had even fewer choices in South Cascades. So I thought we would revisit this area for the solitude.

During our trip to Noble Knob in the spring of 2016, we forewent Mutton Mountain. Back then, we were short on time because of yet another late start. Plus, snow conditions were less than ideal.

This way to Mutton Mountain
This way to Mutton Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Deep Creek Trailhead

This time, there was a trail closure sign at the trailhead from this summer. Then it dawned on me that the area had been through Norse Peak Fire. The aftermath was noticeable right from the get-go.

Lots of charred tree trunks strewed the defined path. In turn, we couldn’t go through one switchback without going around at least one down log. So the hiking felt tedious compared to the time before.

The aftermath of Norse Peak Fire
The aftermath of Norse Peak Fire

See more trip photos here.

In the Meadow

At last, at 5200′ was enough snow on the ground to put on snowshoes in calf-deep powder. But the tree hopping continued uphill for another 500′ of altitude. It for sure wasn’t enjoyable through the lower part of the burned forest.

Soon, we reached the meadows before the trail fork. Then we caught the sight of Mount Rainier fully emerging behind us from the southwest. Afterward, Deep Creek Trail ended at the junction.

Mount Rainier behind burned trees
Mount Rainier behind burned trees

See more trip photos here.

The Final Stretch

We made a right onto Noble Knob Trail and continued. Keeping the same altitude, we continued for another quarter of a mile. The trail later moved its way over to Mutton Mountain’s west saddle.

From the saddle, we soon scrambled the west ridge. Then we reached the broad summit adorned with a small cairn. There were lots of dry rocks on top because the snow had melted.

Mount Rainier's closeup from Mutton Mountain
Mount Rainier’s closeup from Mutton Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Mutton Mountain Summit Views Plus Outro

We don’t go to South Cascades often, so I only recognized Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Noble Knob, and Crystal Mountain. But the familiar high points by I-90 were visible from here as well.

The pup and I enjoyed a 45-minute break and then left the top. Since we started late, by then, it was nearing sunset. But the late start had its perks, including seeing the vibrant colors at the day’s end.

Thank you for another safe outing
Thank you for another safe outing

See more trip photos here.

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