We know you can’t get enough of kid friendly hikes! Today, our writer, Julie Collins, takes us up Pinnacle Peak (or is it Mt Pete, or Mt. Peak??). Whatever you call it, we think you’ll be glad to know about this gem.
Update-One note: As I think Julie makes clear in this review this is a steep, challenging hike. It’s not one for first timers. For more reviews and other recommendations, you can check out the convo. on our Facebook page!
“The mountains are calling, and I must go”—John Muir
I’ll admit that I don’t know a whole lot about the personal life of John Muir, but I can pretty safely guess that he didn’t have a preschooler in tow and a first grader getting off the bus at 3:20. All that’s to say that when the mountains call to me during the week, I need one that’s not too far away. So when a friend recently introduced me to Pinnacle Peak (also known as Mt. Peak, Mt. Pete, and the Cal Magnusson Trail) I was delighted.
Pinnacle Peak Park is in Enumclaw. It’s a volcanic cone that makes a dramatic rise from the surrounding farmlands.
There are two main ways up to the top of the peak. The first is via the Cal Magnusson tail. It’s a 1000 feet up in one mile via a very well traveled and maintained trail. That type of elevation gain in just a mile is sure to get your heart pumping, but it’s also short enough to keep motivated.
On the south side of Pinnacle Peak there is a gravel road that eventually leads into the woods and meets up with the Cal Magnusson trail for the final .2 miles to the top. This route is longer, but the road has a gentler grade that is easier on the legs. Once you reach the top, there are benches made from the foundations of an old fire tower! But don’t expect a grand view, there are too many trees! (There are some nice views on the road on the way up)
I’ve hiked both routes with my 5-year-old son, and we enjoyed both. This is not a stroller friendly hike, but it would be great for moms with little kiddos in a pack (I used to love hiking with my hikes in an Ergo, and later in a frame pack!). I would recommend the less-steep gravel road route for those who have kids just getting into hiking. It’s also a great conditioning hike for little legs getting prepared for longer hikes further afield. Do note that it is a hike and the elevation gain is pretty serious, pretty fast. Make sure you and the kiddos are fit enough to tackle it.
A few other helpful things to know:
- Expect to see lots of dogs on the trail. Everyone we saw (people and dogs) was very friendly, and most kept their dogs on leashes. There are plastic bags at both trailheads for picking up after your dog.
- Even though it’s a relatively short hike, don’t forget water! The road side has a lot of sun exposure.
- I have only been to Pinnacle Peak during the week, and had plenty of company. I can only guess its very crowded on weekends. As with most things, I recommend you go early!
Pinnacle Peak is one mile southeast of downtown Enumclaw. From SR-410, head south on 284th Avenue SE. Go west on SE 456th Street, then south on 276th Avenue SE. The Cal Magnusson Trailhead is at the corner of 276th Avenue SE and SE 472nd Street, with a small parking lot and road shoulder parking. Typing in Pinnacle Peak Park into my phone GPS takes me here.
The southern trailhead is on SE Mud Mountain Rd at SE 481st Street. Road shoulder parking. You can print off a pdf trail mail here!
As always, we suggest you bring the Ten Essentials and check trip reports at WTA.org before you go on any adventure.
If you can’t get enough of our kid friendly hikes, be sure to check out our guide to great hikes for kids near Mt. Rainier! It’s a big hit right now!