Cowiche Mountain East Peak / 考維其山東峯

The northern hills of Cowiche Mountain East Peak are part of Snow Mountain Ranch. The Cowiche Mountain Conservancy oversees the 2000-plus acres of land. Ironically, the summit sits right outside the protected area boundary.

This way to Cowiche Mountain East Peak
This way to Cowiche Mountain East Peak

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Cowiche Mountain East Peak at a Glance

Access: Snow Mountain Ranch Trailhead (PDF map)
Round Trip: 6.5 miles
Elevation Range: 1880′-2980′
Gear: none
Route Info: Mike Dow
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Back to Eastern Washington

The snow was in the forecast over Snoqualmie Pass later in the day. We left the house at 5 AM. So we could perhaps avoid snowfall on the way back. But I crossed my fingers for it to rain instead.

The last time we drove through Naches Heights, we visited Cowiche Canyon. But walking in the small canyon wasn’t exactly scenic. So, in the end, we hiked up to the high point for views instead.

A cold start
A cold start

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Snow Mountain Ranch Trailhead

Hard to believe the trailhead was empty on a morning as glorious as today. But another car pulled into the parking lot shortly after we arrived. Soon, we hiked a short distance down to the bridge and crossed Cowiche Creek.

The network of trails sat north of Cowiche Mountain East Peak. It provided many route possibilities to one’s heart’s content. But we used Mike’s loop hike as a jumping-off point. Then we would venture off if we felt like it.

Valley view
Valley view

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Cowiche Mountain Trail West

On the south side of the creek was a three-way crossing. The Riparian Trail West only made a short loop. But the Riparian Trail East would be our way out. So we continued south to be on the Cowiche Mountain Trail West.

Soon, the trail took us through shrub-steppe with a few muddy spots. There were not yet wildflowers, birds, or any wildlife because of the season. But we very much enjoyed the quiet hike through the grassland.

Junction signage
Junction signage

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Cowiche Mountain East Peak

Before long, the landscape behind us began to form. The only view on the mountain was a deserted water tank. Later a runner came up on the hill. But they soon went out of sight after a quick hello. The wind slowly picked up below the ridge.

Eventually, the trail took us up to the windy crest. There a fence stretched across the entire ridgeline as far as the eyes could see. So we could only admire the radio tower from the ranch side.

Snow-capped main summit from Cowiche Mountain East Peak
Snow-capped main summit from Cowiche Mountain East Peak

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Summit Plus Outro

Sweeping views included the enormous Cleman Mountain. Plus, Yakima Valley was at our feet. But the 35 to 40 mph wind made it unbearable to enjoy. So we spent time on the leeward hills to avoid the gusts.

The wind intensified in the late morning. Even the one hiker we passed on the way down decided to turn around. It was the worst gusts we’ve experienced out in the desert.

Thanks for a sunshiny day
Thanks for a sunshiny day

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Later we completed the loop by going out on the east trail.