This less-traveled hike makes for a peaceful afternoon with unbelievable rewards. Mount Catherine is a moderate 3-mile hike located in the Snoqualmie Pass area that meanders up the east side of the mountain. In just the first .7 miles you reach an elevation of 4,700 feet on a ridge with open mountain views to the west. Subalpine fir and berries flank the trail, and views of Mount Rainer and Cascades wait near the top.
The journey to the trailhead is rough, and the final portion of the gravel road potholes for a solid 4 miles. Also, the trailhead is very discreet and easy to miss. A small parking area is all you will see. Thankfully, the trail is well maintained and straightforward. You will quickly start your ascent of the mountain with a 1,330-foot elevation gain in the first 1.5 miles of rocky trail. The remaining half mile is a gradual climb through the forest with several switchbacks near the peak. There may be some downed trees on the trail, but these are easily navigated.
There are two different landings that you can choose to explore once you've reached the top, and both are equipped with cables to help with the final ascents. The second landing has less obstructed views that are well worth the additional climb. Late season snow may play a role in your decision at this point, however. From the summit you can see Silver Peak, Mount Rainer, Keechelus Lake, Snoqualmie Mountain, and more. Take your time circling around and enjoying the spectacular 180-degree views.