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 Cold Creek Trail trailhead and small parking area (for a total of 3.30 miles/5.30 km from the State Route 906/Hyak Drive intersection), which 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)
-- OR --
Proceed 3.00 miles/4.80 km to the trail's intersection with Forest Road 9070 at Windy Pass, marked on the right by a small sign indicating "1348" (for a total of 5.0 miles/8.00 km from the State Route 906/Hyak Drive intersection) (Forest Road 9070 is wide enough to accommodate parking along the road)
Note: Pavement ends shortly after Hyak Drive turns onto Treatment Plant Road/Forest Road 9070. Watch for potholes and washouts.
Looking for a quick, hard hike rewarded by a mountaintop panorama just before the elevation gain becomes too intense? Mount Catherine is your answer.
There are two, somewhat confusing starting options for this trail. The trail officially starts at the Cold Creek Trail trailhead. About 0.70 miles/1.10 km from the trailhead, the Mount Catherine Trail branches right from the Cold Creek Trail and continues almost another 1.00 mile/1.60 km to Forest Road 9070, merging with and following it north (left) for approximately 0.10 miles/0.16 km before continuing on the other side of the road. The trail’s upper section on the opposite side of the road is marked only by a small sign with the number “1348.” Most hikers forego the lower trail and take Forest Road 9070 by vehicle or by foot all the way to the trail crossing. (Beyond the Cold Creek Trail trailhead, Forest Road 9070 is often impassable to vehicles without high clearance, forcing many to take the lower trail or walk the road to the trail crossing, which adds about 1.00 mile/1.60 km to the round-trip distance. If returning via the lower trail, do note that it is not marked where it departs Forest Road 9070; from the upper trail, remember to walk south — left — down the road approximately 0.10 miles/0.16 km and look for the lower trail ducking into forest on the right.)
The lower trail ambles through mostly old-growth forest along Cold Creek and its north fork until it reaches Forest Road 9070. This section of the trail is little used and may be somewhat overgrown. After crossing Forest Road 9070, the trail’s inexorable pitch begins in earnest and continues to the summit with few breaks. Because Windy Pass, the low saddle between Mount Catherine and Silver Peak, was recently logged, the woodland surrounding the trail near the road still resembles a clear-cut, but does afford limited views of some surrounding peaks. Old-growth forest resumes after approximately 0.50 miles/0.80 km from the road. Both sections of the trail are rocky and rooted throughout; furthermore, the stony summit block is reached by either of two short (20-foot/6-meter), earthen scrambles — be prepared with the traction gear of your choice for such terrain. The upper trail can be popular on weekends and holidays, but delightfully serene on less visited weekdays. Other than the occasional vehicle passing on Forest Road 9070, little mars the woodland quietude on either the upper or lower trail.