McClellan Butte

Snoqualmie Pass

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

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McClellan Butte


  • Trail Intersection with John Wayne Trail- McClellan Butte
  • Approaching McClellan Butte.- McClellan Butte
  • The final switchback before the scramble to McClellan Butte.- McClellan Butte
  • Scramble to the summit.- McClellan Butte
  • View from the scramble to the top.- McClellan Butte
  • Final few steps before the summit of McClellan Butte.- McClellan Butte
  • The summit of McClellan Butte holds sweeping panoramic views- McClellan Butte
  • Summit log on McClellan Butte.- McClellan Butte
  • Flat area before hitting the final switchbacks.- McClellan Butte
  • Clearing in the trees.- McClellan Butte
  • The trail holds many scenic moments.- McClellan Butte
  • - McClellan Butte
Overview + Weather
Old-growth forest. Wildflowers. Great views.
Limited parking.
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Pets allowed: 
Recommended Equipment:
Ice axe / crampons
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade II
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,362.00 ft (1,024.74 m)
Parking Pass: 
Washington Discovery Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
12.00 mi (19.31 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


McClellan Butte is a very prominent peak that can be seen from I-90 sticking out like a sharks fin above the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Although it may look tough to get to the top, it offers mostly Class 1 hiking and a final summit push/scramble of Class 3 and Class 4 terrain (depending on conditions). This peak was named after George B. McClellan, a surveyor and Civil War General. He surveyed the Cascade Mountains in search of the best mountain pass to be used for a transcontinental railroad system.

From the trailhead the route leads through a variety of old-growth and second-growth forest where there are huge evergreen trees that tower above. The trail is very well maintained, and ambitious hikers can use it as a good jog for mountain climbing conditioning. During your ascent you will pass several avalanche gullies (use caution when traversing during winter conditions). The final half-mile of the trail circles the southwest side of the mountain ridge where you will notice a large rocky summit block. Do not fret, as this summit block offers great handholds and plenty of places to put your feet to keep you feeling safe. This is some of the best climbing/scrambling you could hope for, though exposure is significant. 

If you traverse the final summit block, its best to wait for the rocks to dry as these rocks are very slippery. Some parties might opt to carry a rope and belay up during wet or snowy weather. There is not a lot of foot traffic on this hike, and access to the south side of the mountain is prohibited as this area is a protected watershed.

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(17 within a 30 mile radius)

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(117 within a 30 mile radius)

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