Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Warming hut
No
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Those who have spent any time at Stevens Pass Ski Area will know Cowboy Mountain well, for its northern flanks make up most of the ski terrain on the “front side” of the resort. With such easy access, the mountain is primarily climbed during winter by backcountry skiers and snowboarders looking for the thrill of a pristine powder run. But when the ski season ends and the chairlifts come to a halt, the resort becomes a snowshoer’s paradise for the remainder of the spring.

The simplest and safest approach to the top of Cowboy Mountain is to travel right up the ski slopes. Beginning at the base area, pick a route that parallels the chairlifts and head south toward the mountain. Novice climbers can stay out in the open or follow under the ski lifts to stay on course, while the more experienced can ramble through thick patches of fir forest. The key is to gain the open slopes below the summit and make for the west end of the long ridge where the Seventh Heaven chairlift terminates. Avalanches tend to assault these upper slopes during warm spring afternoons, so impeccable judgment is required here.

Gaining the summit ridge requires a short but bold climb up past the lift cabin. Once you are on top, skirt east along the crest. Large cornices often line the ridge, so refrain from taking a peek over the cliffs. You will have plenty of scenery to enjoy once the summit is reached, with the Glacier Peak Wilderness to the north, Jim Creek Mountain and the Mill Valley running to the east, and the Skykomish Valley peaks back to the west. You'll also have a decent view of Mount Hinman and Mount Daniel rising out of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the south.

Recommended Gear

Before you head out on your next Mount Hood adventure, make sure you have the right gear! 

Here's a list of our go-to snowshoeing essentials to get you started:

Snowshoes: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

Cushioned, Made in USA, Ultralight, 98.8 oz

Men's • $299.95 • MSR | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $299.95 • MSR | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Jacket/Shell: Arc'teryx Zeta AR Jacket

Waterproof, Adjustable Drawcord Hem, Pit Zips, GORE-TEX

Men's • $431-475 • Arc'teryx | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $475 • Arc'teryx | Amazon | Backcountry

Pack: Mammut Nirvana Pro Pack 

35L, Carry-On Size, Hip Belt, Ice Axe / Pole Loops, Hydration Compatible

Standard Fit • $189.95-199.95 • Mammut | Amazon | Backcountry

Small Fit • $199.95 • Mammut | Amazon

Insulating Layer: Moosejaw Dequindre Down Jacket

Water-resistant, Insulated, Adjustable Drawcord Hem

Men's and Women's • $179

Poles: Black Diamond Traverse Pole 

Aluminum, Adjustable with Lever Lock System, 21 oz.

$79.95 • Black Diamond | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Gloves: The North Face GORE-TEX Gloves

Waterproof, Adjustable, Insulated, GORE-TEX

Men's • $99.95-181.63 • The North Face | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $99.95-100.00 • The North Face | Backcountry

Boots: Vasque Snowblime UltraDry Boot

Waterproof, Cushioned, Insulated

Men's • $149.99 • Vasque | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $149.99 • Vasque | Amazon | Backcountry

Gaiters: Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiter 

Waterproof, Breathable, Lightweight, Abrasion-resistant

Men's • $41.32-65 • Outdoor Research | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $49.95-65 • Outdoor Research | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Big vistas. Easy route finding.

Cons

Snowmobiles on the lower slopes.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

4,062.00 ft (1,238.10 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)

Features

Big vistas
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day

No

Groomed trail

No

Snowmobiles allowed

Yes

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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