EXPLORE OUR IN-DEPTH HIKING GUIDE ON ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HIKES IN THE SEATTLE AREA: THE FAMOUS KENDALL KATWALK.
While the Kendall Katwalk - a 150 yard long narrow pathway that was blasted out of the side of a steep granite mountain face - is the main draw to this scenic hiking trail, we instead recommend checking this hike out for the amazing mountain views and opportunity to swim in turquoise alpine lakes.
The Kendall Katwalk Trail is actually a part of the world famous Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which runs 2,650 miles from the border of Mexico in the south to the border of Canada in the north. Therefore, if you are feeling gumptious, you can really hike as far as you want along the trail (the Kendall Katwalk is around 6 miles from the trailhead).
Below is an in-depth hiking guide that covers everything you need to know about one of the best hiking trails in the state of Washington.
WHERE: Mount Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest & Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington (it is part of Section J of the PCT)
WHAT: hiking and backpacking trail, out and back
DISTANCE: 12 miles to the Kendall Katwalk, option to go muuuuuuch farther
HIGHEST POINT: 5,400 feet / 1,646 meters, at the top
GEAR NEEDED: sturdy hiking shoes, a well-sized day bag or backpacking gear (depending on your distance), sunscreen, lots of snacks, and a water filter
TRAIL CONDITIONS: singletrack trail, forested and shaded for 1/3 of it and open for the rest of it, no super steep sections, awesome lake and mountain views
DOGS ALLOWED: yes, but they must be leashed
PARKING DIFFICULTY: well-sized parking lot, has a bathroom, must have either the Northwest Forest Pass or a National Park Pass (it is federal land); arrive early to secure a parking spot (it gets busy)
➳ You can check out the full Alltrails map to the Kendall Katwalk trail here.
EXPLORE MORE | THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK
\\ How to Get to the Kendall Katwalk Trailhead
It is really easy to reach the Kendall Katwalk Trailhead if you are coming from either Seattle or from the eastern half of the state of Washington (like from Leavenworth or Spokane). The trailhead is located right off of Interstate 90 near the Snoqualmie Summit (and the Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Resort).
Once you reach the pass, which is approximately 23 miles from North Bend (the last major town on the west side) and 32 miles from Cle Elum (the last major town on the east side), the Kendall Katwalk trailhead will be on the opposite side of the interstate as the ski resort. You will see a sign for the trailhead as well as numerous signs for the PCT (which the Katwalk is a part of). There is a large parking lot and bathroom at the trailhead. You will need to have either a National Park Pass (like this one) or a Northwest Forest Pass.
❔ GOOD TO KNOW: it takes around 50 minutes to reach the trailhead from downtown Seattle (without much traffic). Due to its closeness to the metropolis, if you are planning to hike on a weekend we definitely recommend arriving to the trailhead nice and early.
If you are looking for an even longer adventure and you don't want to drive up to the trailhead, then you do have the option to bike along the Cascade to Palouse Trail, which starts near North Bend and ends at the Washington-Idaho border. We have biked the whole distance from North Bend to Snoqualmie Pass and absolutely loved it. It is a pretty easy 21 or so miles up the trail to the base of the ski resort and then another 3.5 miles to the actual Kendall Katwalk trailhead.
\\ The Best Time to Hike the Kendall Katwalk
We recommend hiking the Kendall Katwalk trail in mid to late summer or in the early fall. Because the trail has a good number of narrow sections with steep drop-offs on one side (including the famous Katwalk), you will want to make sure it is completely melted out of snow.
We hiked the trail during the last week of August and found it to be absolutely perfect. There was no snow along the trail, the wildflowers were blooming, and the sun was shining. But, with that being said, the trail was also quite busy. So if you are not looking to share the trail with others, we recommend arriving really early (before 8 AM) or visiting on a weekday.
❔ GOOD TO KNOW: we have also heard that the Kendall Katwalk is an amazing trail to do once the larch trees start to change colors. Supposedly, the whole mountainside that the trail curves up and around comes alight with shades of red and gold. This usually occurs between late September and mid-October.