Cedar Butte by Rattlesnake Lake / 靠響尾蛇湖的雪松孤峯

Today was day two of our New Year’s week hiking streak. After yesterday’s flattish hike, I hoped to gain some elevation. Luckily, most hills were still below the snowline. So it was just a matter of finding someplace new nearby. Then Cedar Butte next to Rattlesnake Lake popped into mind.

Cedar Butte north clearing
Cedar Butte north clearing

See more trip photos here.

Cedar Butte at a Glance

Access: Palouse to Cascades State Park Trailhead
Round Trip: 4.1 miles

Elevation Range: 960′-1880′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

The name change for the 285-mile trail took place in 2018. The path got its old name, John Wayne Pioneer Trail, from the late actor known for his racist remarks. Later, the state turned the section between Cedar Falls and Columbia River into Iron Horse State Park. So the new name has consolidated the two. In turn, it offered the trail a unique identity that represents both sides of the state.

Over the years, we’ve hiked and gone through parts of the trail. They included the two sections between Kittitas and Vantage–Army East and Army West. Both of them remained the least exciting desert hikes in the books. Though, I found the west end to be more interesting because of the tunnel.

Hall Creek drainage from Hall Creek Trestle
Rattlesnake Mountain

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Cedar Butte Trail

To get to Cedar Butte Trail, we first needed to hike the Palouse to Cascades Trail. After .75 mile on the road, we reached the trail entrance. The sign wasn’t visible from the road. But I had been turning my head to look to not go past the inconspicuous turnoff. A few hikers and bikers came down the road as we walked. It was a cloudy morning.

I very much appreciated the gradual elevation gain. So I could carry up the extra ten pounds. But I swore the pup was gaining weight by the second. I suppose that’s what big dogs do; they grow! At .3 mile, we came up to a junction. But I wasn’t sure where the right path would lead us. So we continued on the main pathway on moderate terrain through the evergreen.

Closer to the top of Cedar Butte
Closer to the top of Cedar Butte

See more trip photos here.

Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley

We reached the second junction in another quarter of a mile. Then the main trail took us up to the west of the summit at 1800′. Hiking east through two more switchbacks, and we were finally on top. As expected, it was a forested summit. Thought, it has a direct view of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley to the north! The sun came out just then.

Another thing that surprised me was that there was no one around. The popularity of this area made me think that there would’ve been lots of people already. Perhaps it’s the cold weather that turned way most hikers. The Rattlesnake Lake parking lot was starting to become full when I drove past it. So most folks likely had gone up to Rattlesnake Ledge.

Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley panoramic view
Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley panoramic view

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Outro

It had been windy since we arrived. So it was nice to have tree coverage. We must have spent an hour on top before two people showed up with their pup. We chatted for a while. Then I helped photograph the couple by the clearing. They only stayed a short while before leaving.

We went back down to Saddle Junction below the summit. Then we proceeded to hike out on the Blowout Trail. I had hoped to get some views. But there wasn’t any. Instead, we walked through a forest full of sunlit, moss-covered trees. The branches spread out like giant spider legs. I couldn’t help but keep photographing them at every turn.

Blowout Trail on Cedar Butte
Blowout Trail on Cedar Butte

See more trip photos here.

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