Alta Mountain and Rampart Ridge are located northeast of Snoqualmie Pass in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and are especially fun to combine into one hike. There is a good bit of elevation gain but it’s mostly easy going even in mixed conditions. No matter the season these peaks offer expansive 360° views of the Central Cascades and countless alpine lakes! Most people who hike Alta take the Rachel Lake trail but I would save that for a hike up Hibox Mountain and instead take the Rampart Ridge backdoor trail. The backdoor trail is steeper and slightly shorter than the Rachel Lake trail but it also makes a side trip up Rampart Ridge easier. It would be more popular if not for the forest roads leading to the trailhead. They are narrow and very overgrown so you have to be okay with your vehicle scraping up against some shrubbery. It’s certainly worth it.
Here are a few shots of Alta Mountain from nearby peaks. It’s the mountain with the long gradual ridgeline. You’ll see Hibox Mountain peeking out from behind Alta in most pictures.
1st Trip: 10/1/2019
Another after work hike with Moose only three days removed from Moose setting a pr for elevation gain in a day on Mount Harvey in British Columbia! This would be about the same amount of gain but it again was no problem for Moose! I thought the excitement of Ellie and I getting engaged helped him power through that hike but turns out he’s just a beast!
The elevation gain starts right from the get go. You’ll gain 2,170ft in the 3 miles up to Rampart Ridge. You’ll first pass Lake Laura and then Lake Lillian.
The views start to open up as you pass a few tarns and gain the rampart ridge saddle.
We stopped below the summit block for a snack and to enjoy the expansive view.
Moose stayed back for the final 20ft while I went up some rock slabs on the right side of the summit block. He’s such a good listener!
On the summit of Rampart Ridge I felt fulfilled and questioned continuing on to Alta Mountain as it looked so far away. Since I had service I called Ellie to chat and she pushed us to go for it. Grateful she did because the scenery only got better!
We first dropped down a steep snowy path to Rampart Lakes.
Past the lovely collection of alpine lakes we had a straight shot towards the summit of Alta. For a full mile you’ll follow the ridge crest with unobstructed views of Box Ridge and the Central Cascades.
The view to the north from the summit was spectacular. A great mix of fall and winter. Chikamin Peak and the Snoqualmie Stone Kingdom had a nice dusting of snow while Mount Thomson and Huckleberry Mountain were showing off some pretty fall colors.
Moose loved his 44th and 45th peaks!
We had six miles to get back to the trailhead and we made quick work of it. We’d take the same network of trails on our return although we were able to avoid the steep section up to the Rampart ridge saddle.
The entire Alpine Lakes wilderness is just amazing! Any hike will make the soul happy, especially this one!