4 miles
3,331 ft
-64 ft
5,104 ft
High Point


  • Activities
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
    North Bend
    , Washington
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T2 Mountain Hiking
  • Trail Type
  • Trail Usage
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Alpine Trail
  • Local Popularity
    5 in Hiking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running

A long with the numerous other I-90 hikes there is no shortage of ‘workout’ on this hike. Like its counterparts, this trail is largely for those interested in heading up, steeply. Moderated with switchbacks at times, and with a gradual traverse when you need it, the rewards here are not without effort. The actual summit is a rock-scramble, but the views and the flower-packed west facing slope near the top can be enjoyed without making the true top. More than a few remaining old-growth trees and a soft tread make this a well-rounded hike whether it is a training hike or your weekend reward.

Despite heavy logging, road building, and the old Chicago/Milwaukee railroad grade, which was decommissioned in the sixties, this trail maintains a lush character with numerous old-growth trees. The first few miles crosses power lines, the Iron Horse Trail, and Forest Service road 9020. Stick with it and power up the at-times steep trail. Peek-a-boo views of the Alice Valley and Mount Kent to the east will keep you interested.

At roughly 2.5 miles into the hike one needs to exercise caution around a series of avalanche chutes and snow bridges which can be undermined by flowing water. These snow runnels can be quite dangerous and hard-packed with snow. At this elevation, snow frequently lasts until early July so be cautious and realistic with your abilities and equipment. If there is snow, come back when it is gone, since on these steep slopes, snow can slide at any time. The trail continues to about 4 miles, where it turns west and then quickly north towards the summit ridge.

This last mile of the hike has small meadows, a vernal pond, and scrambly little rocky sections of trail. Although most will be satisfied with the views from this area, the true summit may beckon to others. Those who venture up should keep in mind: rain can make the rock slippery and although technically easy the scramble to the summit is very exposed. Watch for the steps and hand holds blasted into the ridgeline.

Views from the top encompass the full range of I-90 peaks, Snoqualmie Pass, and much of the Alpine Lake Wilderness. As you carefully descend the rocky summit, think of the pioneers who first documented these lands. General George B McClellan visited this area in 1853 surveying (unsuccessfully) for a route for rail lines to pass through the Cascades. He chose the never-used Yakima Pass. The more popular route was Snoqualmie Pass, home now to the major interstate highway you used to get to the trailhead.

Access Info

The main McClellan parking lot is on the south side of I-90 at the West Tinkham Road, Exit 42. Turn right at the stop sign at the end of the ramp. Pass the Department of Transportation facility and continue a hundred yards or so. Turn right into the parking area. Directions to the alternate parking area on the primitive logging road is for the intrepid to find on their own.

Local Trail Association
Traditionally Indigenous Territory
More Stats for McClellan Butte Trail hike trail trail
  • Altitude change
    3,267 ft
  • Altitude min
    1,836 ft
  • Altitude start
    1,836 ft
  • Altitude end
    5,105 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    4 miles
  • Distance down
    1,037 ft
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Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Ridden Direction
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  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
  • > 50%
  • < 50%
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  • < 1 month
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Trail Ridden Direction
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  • Downhill Only
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  • One Direction
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Trail Popularity ?
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Trail Difficulties
  • Access Road/Trail
  • White
  • Green
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  • Double Black Diamond

Trail Report Status
  • Clear / Green
  • Minor Issue / Yellow
  • Significant Issue / Amber
  • Closed

  • Land Owner Overlay
  • Wilderness (typically no bikes in USA)
  • BLM (public)
  • USFS (Wildlife sanctuaries darker than usfs)
  • State land
  • Indigenous
  • Military
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
  • Map Markers
  • trail Trail Head
  • photo Photo
  • place Directory Listing
  • region Riding Area
  • Parking Parking
  • Viewpoint Viewpoint
  • Information Information
  • Warning Warning
  • Directions Directions
  • Sight Sight
  • Restrooms Restrooms
  • eBike Charging Point eBike Charging Point
  • Water Fountain/Source Water Fountain/Source
  • Gate Gate
  • Trail Sign Trail Sign
  • Table or Bench Table or Bench
  • Ladder Ladder
  • Stairs Stairs
  • Bridge Bridge
  • Boardwalk Boardwalk
  • Camping Camping
  • Cabin Cabin
  • Lodge Lodge
  • Bear Cache Bear Cache
  • Dock Dock
  • Ranger Station Ranger Station
  • Summit Summit
  • Other Other
      Directions to mcclellan-butte-trail-343419 trailhead (47.412050, -121.595880)
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