Discover the Highest Point in King County

Written by Samantha Stanich
Updated: July 31, 2023
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Picturesque sparkling Robin Lake surrounded by granite and trees with snow-capped Mt. Daniel towering in the background under a cloudless blue sky in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington State, USA

Mount Daniel is the highest summit on the Cascade Range crest of Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

©Bob Coffen/Shutterstock.com

King County is the most populous county in Washington, the 18th largest state, which has a total land area of over 70,000 square miles. Its northern border is Canada, and its western border is the Pacific Ocean. Residents get to view the breathtaking Mount Rainier and the pristine waters of Puget Sound.

King County is the 13th-most populous county in the United States. The largest city in Washington, Seattle, sits in this county. The county has a total area of 2,307 square miles (5,980 km2). The land area is 2,116 square miles (5,480 km2), and the water area is 191 square miles (490 km2) (8.3%). King County has nearly twice the land area of the state of Rhode Island.

The highest point in King County, Washington is Mount Daniel at 7,960 feet (2,430 m). It is part of the Cascade Range crest of Alpine Lakes Wilderness. It is also the highest point in Kittitas County.

What Other Mountains Are in the Cascade Range?

The Cascade Range is a chain of mountains that stretches from Northern California into Southern British Columbia. People enjoy these mountains for their awesome beauty and camping, hiking, skiing, fishing, and other recreational activities. Many of the mountains in the Cascades are volcanoes and are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. A number are still considered active. However, Lassen Peak and Mount St. Helens are the only volcanoes to erupt in the lower 48 states during the 20th century. Here are the 10 highest peaks in the range:

RankPeak NameStateHeight
1Mount RainierWashington14,411 feet
2Mount ShastaCalifornia14,179 feet
3Mount AdamsWashington12,281 feet
4Mount HoodOregon11,249 feet
5Little TahomaWashington11,138 feet
6Mount Baker (Kulshan)Washington10,786 feet
7Glacier PeakWashington10,525 feet
8Mount JeffersonOregon10,502 feet
9Lassen PeakCalifornia 10,457 feet
10South SisterOregon10,358 feet

Washington is both geographically and climatologically divided by the Cascade Mountains, which run from north to south. The Cascades are among some of the most magnificent peaks to be found in the United States. But are they the home of the highest point in Washington?

What Is the Highest Point in Washington?

With an astounding elevation of 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier is the highest point in Washington.

  • Mount Rainier became a National Park in 1899.
  • It is the United States’ fifth National Park.
  • Mount Rainier is an active volcano that last erupted about 1,000 years ago.
  • It has 25 major glaciers.
Mount Rainier towers over the surrounding mountains sitting at an elevation of 14,411 ft. It is considered to be one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes.

Mount Rainier is the highest volcanic peak in the contiguous United States.

©picturin/Shutterstock.com

The peak lies in the south-central Cascades, almost directly east of Olympia. Mount Rainier is a dormant volcano (it’s been more than 100 years since it last erupted) that towers over the surrounding forested lands. There are three separate peaks at the top, on the edges of the caldera formation. These are Point Success, Liberty Cap, and Columbia Crest; Columbia Crest is the tallest point on the mountain. Further, Mount Rainier has more glaciers than any other United States peak outside of Alaska

Comparison of Highest Points in Washington

MountainHeight
Mount Daniel7,960 feet
Mount Rainier14,410 feet
Mount Adams12,281 feet
Mount Baker10,781 feet
Glacier Peak10,541 feet
Bonanza Peak9,516 feet

About the Highest Point in King County: Mount Daniel

View from the summit of Mt. Daniel in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

There are five summits at Mount Daniel.

©Kevin Wells Photography/Shutterstock.com

Though Mount Daniel is the highest peak in King County, it is just one of the top peaks in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Mount Stuart wears the crown at 9,415 feet; however, it sits in Chelan County. Also often confused as the highest peak in the wilderness at 7,492 feet is Mount Hinman.

Mount Daniel is a stratovolcano.

What Is a Stratovolcano?

Also called composite volcanoes, their conical shape and relatively steep sides set stratovolcanoes apart from volcanoes. They are formed by layers of volcanic material deposited during successive volcanic eruptions. Their eruption is very violent and explosive.

Can You Climb Mount Daniel?

Mount Daniel offers five different summits.

  • West Summit: 7,960 feet (highest summit)
  • Middle Summit: 7,959 feet
  • East Peak: 7,899 feet
  • West Pyramid: 7,880 feet
  • Northwest Summit: 7,686 feet

A well-maintained trail takes hikers most of the way to the summit. However, it is a feat for experienced hikers with a strenuous ranking of 5 and a technical ranking of 4. Strenuous means that the hike is nine or more miles with significant elevation gains and losses greater than 2,500 feet. A hike with a technical of four means that the hike turns into climbing. Hand and foot holds are essentials, and falls can result in serious injury or even death. Hikers tend to bring climbing gear for safety.

Many people climb the mountain as an overnight backpacking trip and camp at Peggy’s Pond. Getting to Peggy’s Pond is pretty straightforward. There are switchbacks along the 11-mile hike and an elevation gain of 2,300 feet with the highest point of elevation being 5,400 feet. It can also be a long day hike for those that don’t want to camp.

How To Get to the Highest Point in King County

To summit the highest point in King County, the Mount Daniel hike is between a 16 and 17-mile round trip. This hike’s elevation gain is also 5,000-plus feet. The standard route to the summit starts at Salmon La Sac and passes Cathedral Rock and Peggy’s Pond. It is then a scramble to the summit.

View from the summit of Mt. Daniel in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

Mount Daniel supports several glaciers.

©Kevin Wells Photography/Shutterstock.com

Salmon La Sac Campground

Most hikers park at the Salmon la Sac Campground. This sits between the Cooper and Cle Elum Rivers. Also, Cle Elum Lake offers an expansive motor boating area, and swimming or fishing is popular. It is located in Kittitas County, but you can get to Mount Daniel in King County from the scenic grounds.

Where Is Mount Daniel Located on a Map?

Mount Daniel is located in central Washington. It sits in both King County, the county of Seattle, and Kittitas County. The peak is situated in the heart of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness on the Cascade crest. Its waters drain to the Cle Elum River on the east side and the Skykomish River to the west. Daniel is a complex glaciated massif with five main summits along its east-west trending spine.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Artazum/Shutterstock.com


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