Stegosaurus Butte

It's long been a goal to built a trail up to the top of this lonesome butte. Until that that happens, follow this route up to the summit for decent views of nearby Mt. Garfield.
Total Distance: 1.8 miles
Total Ascent: 1000ft
Highest Point: 2100ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Our Hiking Time: 1h 30m
Required Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
To get there, take Exit 34 off I-90 and take a left on 468th Ave. Follow the road past the truck stop for about a half-mile until you reach SE Middle Fork Road, also known as Forest Road 56. The road has a few twists and turns, but continue on until the asphalt ends at Mailbox Peak Trailhead. Beyond, some washouts have occurred this season and while the road is passable, there are some deep potholes and places where the road has been severely eroded. Forge on for a little over 10 miles to the well-signed Middle Fork Trailhead parking lot. View Google Directions >>
The Middle Fork Trail #1003 begins at the north end of the lot and almost immediately spans the river via the Gateway Bridge constructed in 1993 in an effort to promote recreation in the Middle Fork area. After crossing the bridge, a sign that reads “Main Trail” directs you to the left. Head instead to the right along newly constructed trail, enjoying the cheerful Middle Fork Snoqualmie and noting any sandy beaches that may have emerged from the water. Tromp along the rocky riverbank for a few hundred yards to round the end of the butte. Here the trail curves up and away from the bank and abruptly seems to end. Simply continue forward and away from the river and quickly find the roughly hewn trail marked with bright fluorescent pink tags.

This trail has been slowly "under contstruction" for years, with portions of the trail defined by logs and branches, and blowdowns cleared or circumvented. While still a work in progress, between the boot-trodden outline of the path and the trail markers the trail is easy enough to follow. However, the bulk of the hike forgoes niceties such as switchbacks - trailblazers instead opted to cut a leg-burning bee-line straight to the top. Fortunately, the trail is short and the almost brutal ascent is over quickly, yielding great views of the massive and imposing rock face of Mt. Garfield to the north and Preacher Mountain to the far south. Rainy Creek flows through the valley to the south, beneath a prominence unofficially known as “The Pulpit”. Settle down for a snack in the grassy open areas before breaking out the hiking poles to help navigate the steep descent back down.
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