What: A steep, short and potentially muddy trip up Magnusson Trail to the top of Mount Peak (a.k.a. Pinnacle Peak)
Where: From southbound I-5, take Exit 142A toward Auburn/North Bend. Take the Highway 164 exit toward Enumclaw. Turn left onto Auburn Way S. (Highway 164) and continue for about 15 miles. Turn left onto Highway 410 east, and then turn right onto 284th Avenue SE. After about 1.5 miles, turn right onto SE 472nd Street. In about 0.5 miles at a sharp right bend in the road the trailhead is visible on the left. Park on the road shoulder.
Length: 2.5 miles round trip
Beginning elevation: 770 feet
Ending elevation: 1,801 feet
Restrictions: Permit not needed. Dogs OK on a leash.
Maps: Green Trails No. 237 (Enumclaw)
Notes: What the hail? The question (and the precipitation) hit me within five minutes of embarking on this short but steep ascent located in the eastern outskirts of Enumclaw. Ant-sized ice pellets pelted the muddy, occasionally slick trail that is full of dizzying switchbacks, one precariously eroded ledge and calf-punishing slopes. Wear reliable traction shoes. Admire walls of columnar basalt, and to continue your climb without a hitch turn left at a fork found about three-quarters of the way up. As for the wacky weather, several locals assured me it was simply “a weird day out here.” But be prepared to experience all four seasons. Snow, sleet, rain and teases of sunlight made appearances, along with the aforementioned ant-sized hail. Near the peak a clearing offers a semi-obstructed viewing point. Continue the final 40 or 50 feet to the peak to find that any hopes of a better view are stifled by the surrounding tree line. Take a break inside the odd, uninspiring shrine that is circled by four trapezoid-like concrete blocks – Easter Island or Stonehenge it ain’t. Still, the intense ascent makes the climb worthwhile. The White River Amphitheater is nearby, so plan accordingly to avoid traffic around Auburn.