Dandy Mountain and Fine Weather / 丹迪山上天氣晴朗

View of Dandy Mountain at last
View of Dandy Mountain at last

See more trip photos here.

After yesterday’s outing, I planned to use today to recoup. But when we woke up to the Easter morning sunshine, I started scrolling through my phone for a new hike. Then I stumbled across some reports for the nearby Meadow Mountain.

This trip marked my second time in the Stampede Pass area. Interestingly, the first time I was here was in 2013 and almost to the day! I will have to come back to explore more when the roads are clear of snow.

The Lowdown on Dandy Mountain

Access: NF-5480 (Meadow Creek)
Round Trip: 4.5 miles
Elevation Range: 2520′-4360′
Gear: snowshoes
GPS Track: available

Driving to the Starting Point

Lost Lake Road was still under a layer of snow the last time I was here. Although, at the time I didn’t realize underneath all that snow was all the potholes. They sure made the 1.5-mile drive to the southern end of Keechelus Lake an annoying one.

I had a hunch that Meadow Mountain wasn’t yet accessible before we got to NF-5483 turn-off. Judging from past trip reports, it looked like most activities took place from late spring to fall. So, I was right. The road was nowhere near being clear.

See more trip photos here.

Last-Minute Plan B

With weak cell reception by the lake, I found the readily accessible Dandy Mountain just 1.5 miles away. So I parked by the snow berm east of Meadow Creek. From there, we started snowshoeing southbound on the spur road.

From the clearing by the powerline, we left the road and headed south. We moved quickly through the thinner vegetation in the lower elevation. Then the growth got denser just before we intersected NF-5484.

See more trip photos here.

Making Our Way to Stampede Ridge

The dense forest above NF-5484 didn’t look much fun. As I looked around for a good entry, I noticed a small gully at the road bend. Peeking up from the bottom, the semi-open pathway looked like a much better alternative than the road.

So for the next 400′, we went up the steep gully and got onto a spur road. We took a break and enjoyed our first full view of Keechelus Lake across the basin. Unable to find another good entry back into the forest, we tried our luck farther west down the road.

See more trip photos here.

Road Walk on Stampede Ridge

The less brushy northwest slopes with thin vegetation provided direct access up to the ridge. Views to the north from the snowmobile track-covered ridgetop were excellent. There we got on NF-5400-332 and walked southwest toward today’s destination: Dandy Mountain.

For the half a mile walk, the road hugged the ridgeline to just below east of the summit. Then it only took just minutes to get up to the top. Despite all of the snowmobile activities today, this broad summit remained untouched.

See more trip photos here.

Summit with Open Views

The only clearing on this broad summit happened to face the north side. Views to the other directions were all spotty. Luckily, through trees, I caught the top of Mount Rainier above thick clouds to the far south.

Keechelus Lake was undoubtedly today’s main attraction. Just above the lake were many familiar high points around Snoqualmie Pass. Snoqualmie Mountain, Mount Thomson, Red Mountain, Kendall Peak, to name a few.

See more trip photos here.

The Outro

The 2.25-mile one-way trip meant a faster descent. We reversed our route and quickly got down on the road above the steep gully. I savored the last view of the lake and peaks before we dove back into the forest and exited.

Last view
Last view

See more trip photos here.

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