Amabilis Mountain is a solitary point of prominence rising up between the Yakima River and Kachess Lake. The interesting name seems to stem from the rich forests of Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis) that cover the land. The winding route to the summit is one of the more well-known cross-country ski and snowshoe adventures around Snoqualmie Pass because of the easy terrain and the rewarding views of the Central Cascades.
The route kicks off at the Cabin Creek Sno-Park, and the first quarter-mile covers nicely-groomed trails to the cut-off for Forest Road 4822 just beyond the Kongsberger ski cabin. Snowshoers should keep to the trail's edges up to this point to protect established ski tracks. The forest road heads to the hillside and maintains a forgiving grade through three long switchbacks up the lower northwest side of Mount Amabilis. It then makes a southeast traverse, dipping in and out of steep gulches and a thick fir forest to put you at a junction just over 2 miles in. The shorter, more popular route hooks left (north) here, but both will get you all the way to the summit area, putting a potential loop in the cards for those on skis.
A half mile past this junction is where snowshoers get to shine by veering off-road and straight up the slopes in a direct approach to the top of the mountain. The forest thins and gives way to newer growth as you gain elevation, yielding better all-around visibility by the minute. Before you know it, the terrain evens again and you are gazing out at an endless contrast of mountain ridges and valleys. It's definitely worth a thorough exploration of the summit area to find the best viewpoints for each direction. Particularly stunning scenery lies north to Chikamin Ridge and the Three Queens in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, east down to the lengthy blue spans of Kachess Lake, and south to the domineering presence of Mount Rainier.
Always check weather and avalanche conditions before traveling into the backcountry.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.