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Rampart Ridge Peaks - Snoqualmie Pass
Rampart Ridge is a dominating mountain as you drive east over Snoqualmie Pass, towering over the Gold Creek Valley at 5,870 feet. The west side is rugged and near vertical in places while the east side is full of meadows and beautiful alpine tarns. This hike creates a loop capturing the south three highpoints of the Rampart Ridge area. If you just wanted to get the highest point on Rampart Ridge, you are in luck as a trail goes to the summit. Rampart Ridge is ranked #43 on the Home Court List. The other two are lesser climbed but more of a challenge.
Distance: 3 miles for the loop
Summit Elevations: 5,870, 5,660 & 5,606 feet
Elevation Gain: 3,000+ feet with all three
Access: Good Gravel
You access the area by a trail often known as the Lake Lillian Trail or short-cut, the Rocky Run Approach or the Rampart Lakes Backdoor Trail. At this time, the trail is not official but with its increased use and a quick access point, it will be soon. Take exit 54 (Hyak) off I-90. Go under the freeway to the north side and turn right onto the Gold Creek Road. Follow this road as it parallels I-90. It will do a few switchbacks before spur #136 goes left at a turn in the road. Easy to follow on a map. Follow road #136 two miles to the trailhead.
Hike up the Rocky Run trail which is steep with few switchbacks. You hit a forested crest just before Lake Laura where there is a hidden trail split. If you drop down at all, you are going to the lake. Turn right at the crest and continue up quickly reaching the trail from Twin Lakes and Mount Margaret area. Not far beyond that is Lake Lillian. To reach Dungeon Peak, at the lake, find the minor trail that is just above the water below cliffs. Skirt around the lake passing a nice camp. Follow the trail to a trail that cuts NW up to the saddle for reaching Gold Lake. At any point or at the saddle, you can start heading up to the summit of Dungeon. The terrain is easy on the north side. The east ridge right from the lake works well too but has a few rocks to work around.
To reach Rampart Ridge Highpoint from Lake Lillian, there is a trail 100 yards before the lake that gets over a rock outcropping. Follow it to the far end of the lake where an ovious trail steeply climbs to the ridge east of the lake. Then it nicly traverses north to a trail split. Left goes up alpine bowls to the summit of Rampart Ridge HP. To the right is the trail that traverses north to the Rampart Lakes.
To reach Rampart Ridge HP from Dungeon, drop down to the north and follow the ridge east. On top or just below the cliffs. Some bushwhacking here. Stay to the east and reach a high notch to the left of a rock spire. Now on the upper ridge, your safest bet is to drop down to the north and follow the trail up the basins. But, a class 3 route can be done up the ridge on the spine of Rampart Ridge. Their is some real exposure and don't do if the rock is wet. The last 20 feet of Rampart Ridge Highpoint is rock and requires a few moves. The trail can be followed all the way back to Lake Lillian.
To climb Rampart Ridge SE, follow the trail to the saddle on the NE side of Lake Lillian. From there, the topo shows a north-south ridge with big cliffs on each side. This route starts out innocent enough with some good game trails on the east side. But, soon you are on some class 3 with serious exposure on both sides. The ridge is 3-4 feet wide and easy but very, very exposed. With the trees and shrubby, you'll be on your hands and knees at times getting through. Notice the goat hair on the branches from them doing the same narrow ridgeline. As you near the summit, you hit a rock block. You can traverse around to the right on steep meadows below the cliff, climbing up the south side which is a walk to the top. To get back to Lake Lillian quickly, there is a narrow area between cliffs where you can drop down. Go back the way you came a short distance, then drop down through forests looking for an open angled draw. See the map and scout it out if you are on Dungeon earlier.
Traversing to the gap on Rampart Ridge from Dungeon Peak
Looking north from Rampart Ridge Highpoint with the Rampart Lakes below
Showing the route from Dungeon Peak to Rampart Ridge Highpoint
Snowqualmie ski resorts and the I-90 corridor
Mount Thompson in the distance
Looking down on Lake Lillian
Lots of nice gardens during the route
East from the summit of Rampart Ridge
From the notch left of the spire on Rampart. Drop down and take trail up or go left to class 3 with exposure
On the north ridge of Rampart SE Peak with cliffs on both sides
Lake Lillian and Dungeon Peak
Tarn on Rampart Ridge
Small lake on trail to the Rampart Ridge highpoint
BLUE = TRAIL
YELLOW = OFF TRAIL
BLACK = ROAD