Snowshed Head by Mount Margaret via Gold Creek Sno-Park / 防雪廊頂

  • Reading time:9 mins read

Snowshed Head near Mount Margaret by Gold Creek Sno-Park overlooks Interstate 90’s old snowshed and Keechelus Lake. Nearby peaks also include Mount Catherine and Roaring Ridge, south of Snoqualmie Pass.

Snowshed Head from the northwest ridgetop
Snowshed Head from the northwest ridgetop

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Snowshed Head at a Glance

Access: NF-4832
Round Trip: 4.6 miles
Elevation Range: 2560′-3796′
Gear: microspikes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Demolition of the Old Snowshed

In April 2014, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) partnered with Atkinson Construction to remove the snowshed. Then construction was underway for raised avalanche bridges to replace the 500-foot-long, 64-year structure.

The demolition took just two days to complete, part of the 15-mile I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project. The work, in turn, had widened the freeway to six lanes midway up Keechelus Lake’s east shore.

Snow berm by Gold Creek Sno-Park
Snow berm by Gold Creek Sno-Park

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Road 4832

During the dry months, one can drive up to Resort Creek Pond and walk half a mile to the top. One would also come out from the south end by staying on the road. It’s where we started on Keechelus Ridge over a month ago.

We began from the snow berm by Gold Creek Sno-Park along the freeway. Then it was largely dry, with a few patches doable in a compact car. Soon, at mile one, we passed the last cabin onto constant snow, where I put on microspikes.

Road walk to Snowshed Head
Road walk to Snowshed Head

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Snowshed Head Northwest Route

It would be 8+ miles roundtrip if we walked the road. But when we reached the first bend at mile 1.3, I was ready to leave it. Then I saw an unmapped trail continuing south from there, and we took it to see where it’d take us.

After going through 500′ of the treed path, I knew it wasn’t going uphill soon. So we dove into the open forest and aimed at the ridge. Then we went up 400′ of largely snow-free terrain without putting on snowshoes.

The preferred way
The preferred way

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The Final Stretch

Soon, today’s goal showed up as we neared the ridge bump. Along the open ridgeline was beautiful views of the vast Keechelus Lake. Despite the cloudy day, I sometimes sighted the looming Silver Peak across the water.

The ridge was largely dry, with much snow draping the west slope. We dropped onto the south saddle after a short traverse. Then we went back into the trees on an old, unmapped road for the final walk-up to the top.

Keechelus Lake, at last
Keechelus Lake, at last

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Snowshed Head Summit Views

I had expected a treed summit, but instead, the open west slope awaited our cameo. Even with the traffic at our feet (and paws), it was quiet. Despite the overcast sky, the sun came out of the mists at times and gave the needed warmth.

Yakima River Valley stayed misty during the better part of our visit. But the shifting clouds had dramatized the landscape significantly. As we left the top, we heard distant rumbles of snowmobiles from Keechelus Ridge.

Southwestern panoramic view
Southwestern panoramic view

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Outro

Mount Margaret was only visible through the first ridge bump, but the top was in the mists the whole time. Despite Snowshed Head’s short height, we saw more of the lake than from the other nearby places.

As in the forecast, it flurried as we stopped by Rocky Run Creek on our way back. The mists had dissipated quite a bit to see the peaks by then. Soon, we reached the snow berm as a police car patrolling the lot with only our car.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

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