Granite Mountain , Granite Mountain - Pratt Lake Trailhead, Seattle: Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Snoqualmie Pass - Central Cascades, Washington

Granite Mountain - 8.8 miles

Granite Mountain - Pratt Lake Trailhead

Glacier Peak from the Granite Mountain Trail

Glacier Peak from the Granite Mountain Trail

Round-Trip Length: 8.8 miles
Start-End Elevation: 1,800' – 5,437’ (5,437’ max elevation at summit)
Elevation Change: +3,637’ net elevation gain (+3,638’ total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Granite Mountain - 8.8 Miles Round-Trip

The Granite Mountain Trail climbs over 3600' in just 4.4 miles to panoramic views of every volcano in Washington except St. Helens. It also features high alpine meadows and an historic, operational lookout tower on the summit:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The trail rises north from I-90 on three long, gentle switchbacks into a deep green forest with a diverse understory.  It passes under notably tall hemlocks to a waterfall view while crossing an avalanche slide path created by the eroding upper mountain (.6 miles : 2,123’).

Bear right at the Pratt Lake Trail junction (1.1 miles : 2345’) to begin a strenuous 3.3 mile - 3000’ climb to the summit (the left fork leads to Pratt Saddle, Pratt Lake, Talapus Lake and Olallie Lake).

The trail turns sharply up tightly-wound switchbacks to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary, passing in and out of the slide path on this rapid ascent (2.0 miles : 3,162’).

Note: take great caution beyond this point in winter and spring due to persistent avalanche hazards.

The trail continues through bear grass, silver fir and Douglas fir as it toggles between the slide path and forest. Steep, narrow switchbacks aid this difficult section.

At 2.6 miles the trail enters Granite Mountain's central gully system – traversing this area can be especially hazardous, and has been the scene of numerous avalanche fatalities.

It clears the balance of treeline and heads (right) toward Granite Mountain’s east ridge through bear grass and huckleberry fields (3.0 miles : 4,175’). Moderate, rocky switchbacks resume across open slopes with views of Mount Rainier (south) and the Lookout Tower only a mile away.

The trail skirts a small tarn and bends NW toward a notch in the ridge (3.65 miles : 4,710’). Head up the notch to the talus-covered back (north) side of the mountain. Note that when snow-covered it may be easier to head directly up the ridge itself.

Continue around the back of the mountain until directly under the lookout tower, where you’ll scramble the final 200’ through trees and talus to the summit of Granite Mountain (4.4 miles : 5,437'). Enjoy well-earned panoramas of the central Washington Cascades from this lofty perch.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N47 23.875 W121 29.191 — 0.0 miles: Granite Mountain - Pratt Lake TH - 1,800'
  • N47 24.041 W121 28.918 — 0.5 miles: Ascend three long switchbacks - 2,055'
  • N47 24.151 W121 29.095 — 1.0 miles: Continue gentle ascent - 2,327
  • N47 24.191 W121 29.205 — 1.1 miles: Pratt Lake Junction - 2,345'
  • N47 24.250 W121 28.894 — 1.5 miles: Climb steeply on tight switchbacks - 2,735'
  • N47 24.421 W121 28.816 — 2.0 miles: Alpine Lakes Wilderness Boundary - 3,162'
  • N47 24.614 W121 28.726 — 2.5 miles: Cross central gully system - 3,764'
  • N47 24.581 W121 28.299 — 3.0 miles: Traverse towards east ridge - 4,175'
  • N47 24.955 W121 28.592 — 4.0 miles: Climb through notch in ridge - 5,028'
  • N47 25.027 W121 28.872 — 4.4 miles: Granite Mountain Summit - 5,437'

Worth Noting

  • The Granite Mountain Trail offers panoramic views of every volcano in Washington except St. Helens. It also features high mountain meadows and an historic, operational lookout tower on the summit. The trail sees heavy traffic, especially on weekends. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.
  • This trail climbs the south face of Granite and water can be difficult to find by late summer.
  • Take great caution continuing on this trail beyond the 2 mile mark (approximately the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary sign) in the winter and spring. The trail above here can be exposed to significant avalanche hazard depending on the snow conditions above.

Camping and Backpacking Information

The Denny Creek Campground is located nearby for car camping. Take a right at the T-junction off exit 47 (going left leads to the Pratt Lake / Granite TH), cross under I-90 and turn left at .2 miles onto FR 58 / Denny Creek Rd. Continue for 2.4 miles to the Denny Creek Campground.

  • Camping and fires are not permitted in the meadow below the lookout on Granite Mountain.

  • Use established rings for fires; campfires are not permitted above 4,000’.

Denny Creek Campground

  • The campground has 33 Individual sites and 1 group site for 20 - 50 persons. There are 7 accessible sites. Amenities include water faucets, flush toilets and picnic tables.

  • All developed site regulations apply. Dogs must be on leash, campfires in developed rings only, quiet hours between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Fireworks are prohibited. Concessionaire sites require a fee paid upon arrival to the campground host. Stay limit is 14 days.

  • Reservations and current fees for the Denny Creek Campground can be made or found via Recreation.gov or by calling 877.444.6777. Advance reservations recommended.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is allowed with a valid WA state fishing license.

  • Contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for more information.

  • wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/

Email: [email protected]
Sport/Commercial Licenses: 360.902.2434
Disability Licenses: 360.902.2460

Rules and Regulations

  • A Northwest Forest Pass or $5 fee is required at this trailhead.
  • A free day use or overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
  • Camping and fires are not permitted in the meadow below the lookout on Granite Mountain.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Directions to Trailhead

The Pratt Lake | Granite Mountain Trailhead is located .4 miles from Exit 47 on I-90 west of Snoqualmie Pass.

From I-90, take exit 47 (signed Denny Creek / Asahel Curtis) and turn left off the exit, continuing over the freeway to a T-junction (signed Pratt Lake Trail & Granite Mountain Lookout). Turn left and drive .3 miles to the parking lot and trailhead.

The parking lot holds 45 cars and has one bathroom. 

Contact Information

Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest | Snoqualmie Ranger District
902 SE North Bend Way, Bldg 1
North Bend, WA 98045
425.888.1421

Reference Trail #1016

Trip Reports

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