A Comprehensive Guide to hiking Cedar Butte (Washington)

Some years ago Cedar Butte was enumerated in the "North Bend Blobs" as one of several low-lying hills around North Bend. Which is more respect than it got from one eminent geologist who dismissed it as "a minor outlying rock knob", or from the surveyors who didn't even spell the name right. For sure it is hardly more than a bump compared to Mt. Washington, at whose foot it sits, or the well known Mt. Si to the north. But it's a very nice bump, with some interesting aspects, which I would like to share. What follows is a comprehensive guide for hiking Cedar Butte, touching on location, trails, views, flora, geology, history, and some related web sites. Grand view of Cedar Butte [360KB] (No, it's the bump half-way down the left side!)

Location: For all you Seattle area denizens: Cedar Butte is located about four miles south of North Bend, or one mile east of Rattlesnake Lake. (For more details, see Driving Directions.) For everyone else: roughly 30 miles (48 km) east-southeast of Seattle, Washington, at the front of the Cascade Mountains. More particularly, it is (in the WGS84/NAD82 datum!) at latitude 47 26' 2.2" N, longitude 122 44' 29.8" W. In UTM coordinates: 10T 594893 5254156. (Geocaching? Search for PID SX1266.)

I am slowly preparing maps of Cedar Butte in several graphical formats. For more detail (but not the new trail, or scenic alternatives) see the Green Trails "Rattlesnake Mountain Map 205S" or the USGS Chester Morse Lake 7.5 minute maps. If you don't have those at hand, see the on-line topographic map image of Cedar Butte from the folks at TopoZone.com.

Several of the trail guides published by the Mountaineers have a good pictorial map, though again not showing the new or alternative routes. But they do have Harvey Manning's entertaining comments!

And to get handle on all of the sights to be seen from Cedar Butte nothing beats Pargeter's "The North Central Cascades" pictorial map. It even shows Cedar Butte--right at the very bottom left-hand corner, at the foot of Mount Washington. On some editions you can find it just to the right of where it says "Carry wool clothes and rain gear". Well, at least they didn't spell the name wrong!

So how big a bump is Cedar Butte? The official National Geodetic Survey elevation of the summit is 1844 feet (562 meters) above sea level. Not even up to the knees of Mt. Washington, which towers over it at 4420 feet. This is higher than the popular Little Si (elevation about 1576 feet). But the base of Little Si is on the floor of the Snoqualmie Valley, elevation 500 feet or there about, whereas the ill-defined base of Cedar Butte is reckoned at some what less than 1100 feet, for a nominal hiking elevation gain of approximately 800 feet (246 meters). Dimminutive, yes, but we love it all the same.

It is going to be a while before I get all of my material put together. For the now the following (occasionally incomplete) material is available:

I am slowly adding more material, so do come back once in a while to see what is new.

If you have questions or comments, or even more information about Cedar Butte or the Blowout, please send me e-mail: jj@scn.org.


Color photos on this page are by Frank Brown, www.inwa.net/~frog/.
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