Non, Snow/glacier/ice route
Alpine climbing NCCS rating
Grade I
Elevation Gain
8,400.00 ft (2,560.32 m)
42.00 mi (67.59 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Mount Hinman is out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but peaks and lakes in all directions. It sees very few visitors, especially in comparison with its very popular neighbor Mount Daniel. Hinman's not the highest peak in the area, and it's not on that many peakbagging lists, but it will make you feel like you're on a long exploration. As a result, it's a great mountain to climb if you have the time to get out there!

Big caveat - there's no easy way to get to Mount Hinman, and any way you choose will involve some off-trail travel and a fair amount of mileage and gain.


There are 3 main approaches to the Hinman/La Bohn Divide, which is where the standard Hinman climb begins.

Option 1: The Necklace Valley approach (9 miles one-way, 5,100 feet of gain). This approach follows trails for just over 8 miles through the scenic Necklace Valley, and then the trail ends (at Opal Lake) and you'll be responsible for getting yourself up an extremely steep slope by a waterfall, up to the La Bohn Lakes. This is probably the most common approach for Hinman, as it's the shortest approach.

Option 2: Waptus Lake approach (18 miles one-way, 7,000 feet of gain). This approach is the longest of the lot, but gets some beautiful views of the Waptus Lake area, and is a cool way to link the climb up to a longer backpacking trip. It begins all the way down in the Eastern Cascades, and travels gradually northwest, past rivers and a multitude of lakes, over Dutch Miller Gap, and then finally up to the Hinman/La Bohn Divide. This is the route that this guide will describe in detail.

Option 3: Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie approach (16 miles one-way, 5,300 feet of gain). This approach begins in the scenic Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie Valley, only an hour's drive away from Seattle, and follows alongside the Middle Fork, gradually climbing up toward Dutch Miller Gap, before curving north toward the Hinman/La Bohn Divide.



  • Seasonality: Any route you choose on this mountain will require a lot of elevation gain, and will expose you to a wide variety of elevations. You'll begin relatively low, in areas where snow will melt out quickly, but you'll be climbing up to Hinman's summit, which has permanent snowfields and glaciers. So you're likely to find snow any time of year. However, you'll find the easiest travel if you do this trip between late July and late September. If you do the trip much earlier, you'll find too much snow on the approach. If you do the trip much later, you're likely to find cold and snowy weather. However, each season is different, so watch the trip reports as they come in!
  • Gear
    • Traction/Ice Axe/Helmet: Most travelers will bring some type of traction and ice axes, though you'll have to decide if you want to bring crampons or microspikes. You're almost certain to find some snow travel up near the summit of the mountain, so make sure you're prepared for that. You'll also probably want to bring a helmet to keep you safe on the steeper rock and snow.
    • Alongside the technical gear, you'll want to bring any gear that you know will keep you safe and comfortable in the Cascades! This shouldn't be your first hike, so you should know what works well for you.
  • Number of days: This is totally personal. Hinman can be done in a single big push (likely via the Necklace Valley) but will be a lot more comfortable over a few days. There are many great camping areas along the route, especially along the Waptus Lake route. Three or four days would probably be the most comfortable number of days for the Waptus Lake route for most people.
  • Navigation: You'll be traveling off trail no matter which approach you do, so bring a GPS with a preloaded route!
  • Leave No Trace: As always, be a good steward of the environment and try to model good Leave No Trace principles. You'll be traveling in remote and rugged areas, so make sure you're thinking about keeping both yourself and the environment safe!


The Climb

You'll begin all the way down at the Waptus Lake/Cooper River Trailhead, by a great swimming hole. You've got a long and slow climb up alongside the Waptus River, traveling through the dry and beautiful Ponderosa Pine forests of the eastern Cascades. The trail is well-maintained and wide, so get your groove on!

After 8 miles on the trail, you'll come to a mandatory ford of the Waptus River. Get your shoes off, cross, and then hike up alongside the Waptus Lake. There are tons of camping spots along the northeast side of the lake, so find yourself a nice site!

If you have an extra day at Waptus, consider hiking up the steep trail to Spade and Venus Lakes, which will provide you a great view of the northern face of Mt Daniel.

When you're ready to continue toward Hinman, continue heading northwest up the Waptus River Trail, which will join onto the Pacific Crest Trail above Waptus Lake. There are some other good sites in this area before you turn right and head up toward Dutch Miller Gap. The trail climbs steeply here, before traversing to Lake Ivanhoe, a gorgeous alpine lake nestled in a skinny valley. There's more camping here.

Continue up to Dutch Miller Gap, beginning to descend on the western side before turning north and following signs up to Williams Lake, which has even more camping spots. If you choose to do the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie approach, this is where you'll join up with the Waptus route.

At Williams Lake, you'll begin the off-trail scrambly portion of the trip. You'll travel to the northern edge of the lake, before heading straight east up a steep hill, following cairns by an old abandoned mine, complete with rail tracks for ore.

You'll climb up to 5,000 feet, reaching a flat bench, and then curve north to enter the Chain Lakes Valley. This area holds snow until later in the summer, but once it melts out it holds even more camping (though be delicate, as you're high in the alpine here).

Finally, you'll climb up to the Hinman/Del Campo Divide, where the Hinman climb truly begins.


Hinman Climb (from the divide)

You'll start at 6,000 feet and head east, climbing up a short rock scramble before getting up to a low angle ridge, which you'll be following all the way up to the summit. When in doubt, stay on the ridge or just to the left. The right is quite cliffy to climbers' right. If you're climbing in the early season (July or earlier) this will almost all be snow. If you're climbing in August or September, it'll be rock and snow interspersed.

At 7,300 feet, you'll leave the southwest ridge of Hinman and traverse northeast, around a northern ridgeline, before climbing up to the final spiky summit ridge of Hinman. It's hard to tell which peak is actually the summit, but the true summit doesn't require any climbing.

Once you're up, celebrate having made it all the way up here! You'll have enormous views in every direction, enjoy them! Mount Daniel is particularly imposing, as it looms on the eastern skyline. It is possible to traverse over to Daniel from Hinman, but it's very complex, so this guide won't try to describe it.


After you've had enough time on the summit, begin the long descent back to your car. There are lots of lakes for you to swim in and relax by as you make your way down!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Open Year-round





Extremely remote. Views of the Central Cascades.


No easy approach.

Pets allowed


Trailhead Elevation

2,450.00 ft (746.76 m)

Highest point

7,500.00 ft (2,286.00 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas



Typically multi-day


Permit required


Primary aspect

West facing

Drinking water

Unfrozen water


Nearby Adventures

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington


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