From east- or westbound Interstate 90, take Exit 54
From Exit 54, turn right from eastbound/left from westbound onto State Route 906 (road name may not be posted) and proceed to the intersection of State Route 906 and Hyak Drive
Proceed straight onto Hyak Drive
Proceed 0.50 miles/0.80 km to end of Hyak Drive and turn right onto Treatment Plant Road/Forest Road 9070
Proceed 0.50 miles/0.80 km to a broad fork and take the left fork
Proceed 1.00 mile/1.60 km to a "T" intersection and continue straight (right)
Proceed 1.30 miles/2.10 km to the trailhead and small parking area (for a total of 3.30 miles/5.30 km from the State Route 906/Hyak Drive intersection). The trailhead is marked by an easily missed sign to left of a sharp right turn; the small pull-out for parking is on the right immediately after the turn.
Note: Pavement ends shortly after Hyak Drive turns onto Treatment Plant Road/Forest Road 9070. Watch for potholes and washouts.
Not far from many of the ever popular Snoqualmie Pass hiking trails just off Interstate 90, the Cold Creek-Pacific Crest Trail loop offers a surprising bit of backcountry tranquility. Few venture onto this network of trails (especially on a week day), where no noise from the freeway or other human civilization mars the woodland silence. The potholed gravel access road, poorly marked trail junctions, and steep, often overgrown Cold Creek Trail section seem just enough to discourage all but the hardy. Old-growth forest cloaks the trailside, which, although punctuated with distant mountain and lake views, offers more woodland solitude than grand vistas. The trails form a broad circuit around Twin Lakes, climbing high up the slopes of Tinkham and Silver peaks on either side and dropping down to the boggy valley between them. In season, wildflowers and berries are abundant throughout. As a short side trip, the loop also offers a backdoor route to Mirror Lake that avoids its often crowded main road and trail access.
The loop consists of the Cold Creek Trail and segments of the Pacific Crest Trail, Mount Catherine Trail, and Forest Road 9070. It officially begins (and ends) at the Cold Creek Trailhead, but can also be accessed at points farther up Forest Road 9070 where the Mount Catherine Trail and Pacific Crest Trail’s Section I cross the road. This trail description begins at the Cold Creek Trailhead and follows the loop clockwise. Those wishing to descend rather than climb the loop’s steepest segment (the Cold Creek Trail) may opt to hike it counterclockwise. At 0.70 miles/1.10 km from the trailhead, the Cold Creek Trail reaches its junction with the Mount Catherine Trail. Take the left fork to remain on the Cold Creek Trail and hike the loop clockwise. (To hike it counterclockwise, take the right fork and follow the Mount Catherine Trail to Forest Road 9070, turn left and follow the road approximately 0.30 miles/0.50 km to the Pacific Crest Trail crossing at Windy Pass, and turn left onto the Pacific Crest Trail. You won’t actually hike Mount Catherine, as the upper section of its trail continues to the summit on the opposite side of Forest Road 9070.) Continuing clockwise, the Cold Creek Trail reaches Twin Lakes a short distance from the junction. Beyond the sketchy-looking but quite solid log bridge across Cold Creek, the trail climbs relentlessly for approximately 1.40 miles/2.30 km to its ridgetop junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. From here on, the trail gains and loses some elevation, but the grade is gentle. At the Cold Creek Trail-Pacific Crest Trail junction, turn right to continue on the loop, but consider first turning left for a short, 0.50-mile/0.80-km side trip to Mirror Lake. (If hiking the loop counterclockwise, watch for the trail junction at a wide spot on a forested ridge approximately 2.50 miles/4.00 km from Windy Pass, as it is easy to miss coming from this direction. The Cold Creek Trail will be on the left, marked by a nondescript sign on the right. If you reach Mirror Lake, you’ll know you need to retrace your steps.) Continuing clockwise, the Pacific Crest Trail segment of the loop crosses under the eaves of Tinkham Peak before descending to the upland valley where Cold Creek’s headwaters gather in boggy tarns. The trail then climbs briefly to Silver Peak’s talus slopes before declining gradually to Forest Road 9070 at Windy Pass. Turn right onto the road and either follow it to the trailhead or, after 0.30 miles/0.50 km, turn right again onto the unmarked lower section of the Mount Catherine Trail and follow it back to the Cold Creek Trail and on to the trailhead.