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Cold Creek Loop via Tinkham and Silver Peaks

Snoqualmie Region

Location

Snoqualmie Region -- Snoqualmie Pass
View map below

Length

8.0 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 2600 ft.
Highest Point: 4500 ft.

Rating

3.44 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2011
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 
 

This loop takes you past two clear and calm lakes, up a steep, brushy trail to the beautifully manicured Pacific Crest Trail, then west under the blocky granite summit of Tinkham Peak and the shining pyramid of Silver Peak before dropping to Windy Pass.

Beginning from the trailhead at the hairpin turn, descend into brushy terrain, complete with slide alder and second-growth as you climb into the forest. You’ll remain in forest for the first mile before arriving at placid Twin Lakes. Several campsites dot the northern shores of this lake, and the main trail winds through these sites around to the east (left) of the lakes. Once you're past the campground, you’ll be wading through head-high devils club and heavy brush. This section of the hike is the Cold Creek Trail, and it's by far the worst section of this trail – having a little bit of route-finding knowledge will be extremely helpful, since several trees are down across the trail, and one or two are taking up significant portions of the trail.

After braving this steeply switchbacking trail for 1.5 miles, you are rewarded by the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. This beautifully groomed trail is a welcome sight after the jungle of Cold Creek. At the junction, head west (right). You’re hiking under Tinkham Peak’s formidable summit block, and will soon arrive at a small tarn, about half a mile from the junction with Cold Creek. Just a few hundred feet past this tarn is the turnoff for Silver Peak, the pyramid point that’s been in your line of sight while hiking on the PCT.

Take the turnoff if you wish, but know that it’s a steep slog up to Silver Peak, though it’s only a mile to the summit.

On the main trail, continue along the PCT, climbing for a little more than another half mile to Windy Pass, where the terrain becomes increasingly tame, finally popping out at the pass in an old clearcut. Many cars may be parked here, since Silver Peak is a popular day hike destination, as is Mount Catherine on the other side of the road.

Turn right at Windy Pass and hike down the road for a little more than half a mile, looking for a trail dropping off the road to the right. Take this trail down a moderate traverse, accompanied by a babbling spring you never quite catch a glimpse of. Continue on this trail for 1.1 miles back to Twin Lakes, and, in one more mile, your car.

 

Cold Creek Loop via Tinkham and Silver Peaks

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.3660, -121.4199 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Snoqualmie Region -- Snoqualmie Pass

Tinkham (#1017), Pacfic Crest Trail (#2000), Cold Creek (#1303)

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Cle Elum Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Green Trails No. 207 Snoqualmie Pass

Getting There

From Seattle, drive east on I-90 and take exit 54 Hyak/Gold Cr. Turn right at the bottom of the exit ramp, and reset your odometer. Continue straight, crossing SR 906. The road turns into Hyak Dr NE. Continue on Hyak Dr NE. The pavement ends in 0.6 miles, and the road becomes FR-9070.

Continue up 9070 to where the road switchbacks sharply to the right. This is about 3.5 miles from the I-90 exit ramp. There is parking at the corner, or along the road. Remember that other drivers to other destinations need to get by! The Cold Creek Trail begins at the sharp curve in the road.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

None
 

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Cold Creek Loop via Tinkham and Silver Peaks

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