Nordic Pass - Granite Creek

Gary suggested a snowshoe trip. We chose Gary's blue diamond marked route up to Nordic Pass at Snoqualmie Pass. John was free too. Knowing that traffic is crazy along I-90 during pandemic times, we left town early. I arrived at 7:50 am and John was already there. Gary arrived a few minutes later. We headed over to Hyak and up the road system. Instead of the usual start that requires crossing a creek we took a lower road and at the end put on our snowshoes immediately.  There were a few tracks but no trench. We set out in a combination of rock hard icy snow and softer snow. We reached the old railroad grade, turned left and found where the Nordic Pass Trail leaves the grade. Gary knows the trail better than most anyone. For the most part we followed the blue diamonds.

We were still setting a track though we met a few ski and snowshoe tracks. When we reached the skiers crossover road we found seven Mountaineers taking a break. They were also on the Nordic Pass Trail. We waited until they started up. We passed one then another of the skiers as they stopped again. We met them several times before we went onto another packed track. Now we had our own route. As we reached the main skier crossover road John noticed one of his rubber snowshoe straps broke. Uh oh... Another one was about to go too. We scrounged around and came up with a strap to replace the broken one. Then the back strap broke. One more temporary strap went in place. We headed up the road to where the Nordic Pass Trail heads up the slope. Another Mountaineer group was heading up. This time it was snowshoers. The skiers group was there too.

We started uphill and John found his back strap was not staying in place. With the crowds and the equipment problems we quickly chose to turn around. We made it 1.65 miles up and that was it. Now we headed down. There were more groups heading up as we descended. This trail is getting busy. John's snowshoes held together on the way down. By 10:52 we were back at our cars. What to do now? All the snow free hikes we thought of would be crowded by this time of day. We considered several ideas but ended up rejecting them. I suggested Granite Creek. The lot might be full but it would be less crowded than most other near I-90 trails...I hoped. The traffic near Hyak was crazy. Both sides of the road filled on each road we saw. We moved onto I-90 and headed west.

Granite Creek Trail
We headed up the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. We pulled into the Granite Creek parking lot to find a number of open spots. We picked a winner. It seemed to be colder in that parking lot at 870" than on snow at 3000' hours earlier. This was Gary and John's first time on this trail. The grade is steady as it climbs up to the old Granite Creek Road/Trail in 1.15 miles. We saw a number of folks heading down. It was never crowded. I just wanted to get in some mileage and elevation gain after the short snowshoe trip. I figured perhaps we would turn around at the bridge over Granite Creek. We reached the creek but the  guys were good to keep going.

The road has been turned into a trail. In spring through fall brush has grown up on both sides In the winter with all the leaves gone it as much more open. We had no trouble getting off the trail when people went past us. With recent rain the many creeks that cut across the trail were flowing fast. When the road was decommissioned all the culverts were taken out. Now there are lots of creeks to rock hop across. A few hundred feet below the spur trail down to Granite Lakes we reached the snow level. It was not deep but became pretty packed and icy. I had microspikes but did not stop to put them on.

At the trail junction we stopped. There was just a little sunshine as the sun was just above the ridge tot he south. We had a quick lunch and headed down. First I put on my microspikes. It was much easier on the slick icy snow. When the snow ended  the spikes came off. A few minutes later I slipped on a wet rock and went down. So much for traction. On the way down we were passed by a few fast groups descending. There were also more groups coming up. Not a lot but a few off and on. We reached the parking lot at 3:43 pm.

It was a long day. Out the door at 6:50 am and done for the day nearly eight hours later. In that time we did a snowshoe trip and a snow free hike. The totals for the two trips were 10 miles with 3000' of elevation gain. We managed to find a trail that was not packed with a late morning start. First we had snow flocked trees and later we had bare trail. We did not reach a summit or a lake. This day was about the trip not the destination. All in all it worked out very well.

Hiking Icy Road
John Snowshoeing
Bare Spot
John On The Route
Big Crossover Road
Approaching Crossover
Guys On Route
Making Tracks
Broken Straps
Granite Ck Trail View
Big Stump
Big Mossy Rock
First View Of Creek
Crossing Granite Creek
Gary On Bridge
Old Blowdown
Lakes Junction
Lunch Time
Hair Ice
New Washout
Crossing Creek Again
Wide Smooth Trail
Really Big Rock Wall
Mossy Stump
Trailhead Map
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2021