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

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Mutton Mountain by Noble Knob on Dalles Ridge might not be notable as its neighbor. But the views from this taller high point are comparable nonetheless. Besides the dramatic sight of Mountain Rainier, Mount Adams can also be 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 place close to home to visit after yesterday’s trip. With a late morning start, our choices in South Cascades were even fewer. So I thought we’d revisit this area for the solitude.

We couldn’t include Mutton Mountain during our trip to Noble Knob in the spring of 2016. We were short on time because of yet another late morning start. Moreover, snow conditions back then 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 suddenly dawned on me that the area had been through Norse Peak Fire. Then I noticed the aftermath right from the get-go.

Lots of charred tree debris strewed the defined path in the forest. So we couldn’t go through one switchback without bypassing at least one down log. So it made walking feel more tedious than 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, the calf-deep snow above 5200′ was enough to put on snowshoes. But the uphill tree hopping continued for another 500′. I thought we’d enjoy our time through the lower forest, but no.

Soon, we reached the meadows before the trail fork. Then we caught the impressive sight of Mount Rainier to the southwest appeared behind us. Then shortly, 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 turned right onto Noble Knob Trail and continued at the same altitude for another quarter of a mile. The trail soon moved its way over to Mutton Mountain’s west saddle.

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

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 visit South Cascades often, so I only recognized Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Noble Knob, and Crystal Mountain. But I also saw the familiar high points along I-90 from here.

The pup and I enjoyed 45 minutes on top and left right afterward. Since we started late, it was nearing sunset when we left. But the perks of a late start included the vibrant sky 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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