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Diamond Head Snowshoe

Central Cascades

Location

Central Cascades -- Blewett Pass
View map below

Length

7.4 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 1815 ft.
Highest Point: 5915 ft.

Rating

3.00 out of 5

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Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Sno-Parks Permit
 
 

Located north and east of the seventy miles of groomed snowmobile trails is the Tronsen Meadows Non-motorized Area with marked ski trails and lots of options for cross-country snow travel, and at the southwest corner of this area is Diamond Head with its rocky north face overlooking the area.

The route for this climb includes road walk (on a groomed snowmobile trail, so be sure to stay to the side), marked ski trails, and cross-country travel. This trip is better done mid-week, when the sound of snowmobiles does not dominate the stillness of winter, and the large parking lot is not full of other hikers and snowmobile-toting trucks and trailers.

This description follows the most popular route, but a review of winter and summer maps show there are other alternatives.

From the Blewett Pass Sno-Park, on south side of Highway 97 (elevation 4100 feet), start on USFS Road 9716 for 100 yards and go straight where the road turns left, climbing past the no snowmobiles sign. After a short, direct climb, reach the summer parking lot for the Swauk Forest Discovery Trail.  A longer alternative is to follow the road up to the parking lot.

After crossing the summer parking lot, reach Road 9716, turn right on the road and follow it for 0.25 mile to the start of Haney Meadow cross country trail 15, on the left (elevation 4340 feet). Follow the well-marked ski trail as it does a gradual climbing traverse through a mix of open area, forest, and burned forest from the 2012 Table Mountain Fire. At each of the trail junctions, stay on the Haney Meadow Trail.

The trail steepens as it traverses around to the partially burned narrow valley on the east side of Diamond Head. Along the way, it crosses a couple of open areas that skiers use for nice runs down to the trail, when the avalanche danger is low.

At 2.1 miles (elevation 5260 feet), the ski trail turns east to cross the narrow gulley, traverses into a rocky basin, and climbs to the east. At 2.4 miles from the Sno-Park is a junction marked by signs on a large tree slightly up the southern slope at N47°18.673' W120°33.511'.  Turn right at the junction and go southwest on the trail as it initially traverses across the slope and then wanders through the forest to the pass on the southeast side of Diamond Head at 2.9 miles (elevation 5520 feet), and just beyond that to the south is USFS Road 9712.

Early and late in the season, the may be insufficient snow cover in the rocky basin. A strenuous alternative is to leave the marked ski trail at the gulley crossing, 2.1 miles from the Sno-Park.  Climb very steeply up the gulley, staying  near the gulley bottom on the west side, climbing around the small thicket of young trees, eventually reaching the pass on the southeast side of Diamond Head.

From the pass, travel west, climbing through the open forest and open areas to reach a viewpoint on the south end of Diamond Head at 3.3 miles (elevation 5870 feet). Mount Rainier is visible to the southwest and Mount Stuart to the west. You will probably cross snowmobile tracks, since this part of Diamond Head is outside the non-motorized area.

For other views, travel north through the forest that survived the fire.  Note the steep sided snow drifts in the west edge of the forest. After passing the high point, continue north and into the burned forest, reaching the rocky north rim of Diamond Head at 3.7 miles (elevation 5800 feet) and its views of the Stuart Range, Tronsen Meadows, and the Tronsen Creek Valley.

 

Diamond Head Snowshoe

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 47.3343, -120.5804 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Central Cascades -- Blewett Pass

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Cle Elum Ranger District

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Snowshoe Routes (Nelson

2003)

Buy the Green Trails Liberty No. 210 map

Download a map to plan your hike

Getting There

From Interstate 90, Exit 85 near Cle Elum, take State Route 970 toward Blewett Pass. At 10 miles, it joins (becomes) US 97. Continue on US 97 for an additional 14 miles to Blewett Pass and turn right into the Blewett Pass Sno-Park, the start of USFS Rd 9716.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

Sno-Parks Permit
 

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Diamond Head Snowshoe

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