“This is definitely the best route in Snow Mountain Ranch area. Amazing views and wildflowers.
— Thoralf Gamlem
Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The views just get better and better as you climb the mountain. The Cascade Mountains and Yakima Valley are laid out for your enjoyment. A wide variety of wildflowers bloom in riotous color in the spring, and numerous species of butterflies can be seen along the way.
No motorized vehicles or bikes.
The route is well-defined and signed, with "you are here map" signs at important junctions. Great for snowshoeing or skiing in the winter with enough snow. There is lots of wildlife in the spring and summer, and also a few rattlesnakes in the heat of the summer.
Start from the trailhead on the Snow Mountain Ranch Entry Trail to trailhead kiosk
. From this short connector, you'll join the Lower Cowiche Mountain West
trail. This trail travels through an interesting Shrub-Steppe landscape offering better views of the surrounding valley and Cascade Mountains as the altitude changes.
From Lower Cowiche Mountain West
, you'll connect onto Upper Cowiche Mountain West
. This is the upper segment connecting the Lower Cowiche Mountain West
trail to the summit of Cowiche Mountain. After taking the doubletrack trail of the Lower portion, hikers will transition to a singletrack-type trail as they continue on to the summit. You'll need to be a bit more careful with your footing, but the surrounding wilderness makes up for it.
Once you take a moment to appreciate the beautiful vistas provided by the peak, head back down the Upper Cowiche Mountain West
trail to it's junction with Lower Cowiche Mountain West
and Wildflower Trail
. Take a right onto Wildflower Trail
to continue your descent. This trail heads through a meadow that is being restored with wild grasses. Along the way, you'll pass through areas of abundant wildflowers with wonderful views of the Cascades and Yakima Valley.
Once at the bottom of Wildflower Trail
, retrace your steps back to the parking lot to finish out the hike.
Flora & Fauna
Deer, elk, coyotes, and raptors of various kinds in addition to the wide variety of Shrub-Steppe plants.