We took advantage of the good weather today and the family headed up to Snoqualmie Pass to check out Mount Catherine, with a 5050 foot summit with panoramic views of the Cascades, including Mount Rainier.
Getting there is a little tricky - take I-90 to exit 54 (Hyak) and head north. You'll cross road 906 into what looks like a chalet community. There will be a sign for the "Twin Lake Trailhead" - spot that and follow the road through the chalet community, past a water treatment facility, and to a logging road that will take you to the trailhead. Three miles from I-90, you'll spot the Twin Lake trailhead on your left. Go two miles past that, and you will find the trailhead for Mount Catherine on your right, at elevation 3700 feet.
The trail is a little steep, as its only 1.5 miles long but takes you up 1300 feet in that span. It is well groomed albeit narrow most of the way. There are occasional views on the way up, but the real treat is the final 50 foot scramble to the summit. There you will be treated with a panoramic view of the Cascades, from Mount Rainer to nearby Silver Peak and then down the Snoqualmie Valley (you can see Mount Si in the distance) to across the Cascades to the east, the summit is amazing.
This is arguably the best ratio of view-to-effort in the Snoqualmie-Mt Baker National Forest. This trail is also kid-friendly - in fact my kids loved the final scramble to the top, they felt like "rock climbers."
Looking down on Kecheelus Lake
Great view of Rainer from Mount Catherine summit
Looking south across the Cascades