About the Park
Pinnacle Peak Park is a 335-acre volcanic cone one mile southeast of downtown Enumclaw, surrounded on all sides by farmland and the White River. Known locally as Mt. Peak, or even Mt. Pete, Pinnacle Peak is one of the most popular hikes for people living in south King County.
There are four miles of trails at the park. On the north side of the park is the Cal Magnusson trail, a steep one-mile forested trail climbing 1,000-feet to the top of the 1,800-foot cone. The rewards at the top include columnar basalt, the old concrete footings of a long-gone fire lookout, and views of the north side of Mt Rainier and White River valley.
Access to the peak from the south side of the park is along a multi-use gravel trail with a more gradual incline and views of Mount Rainier and the White River.
Park activities and facilities
Abridged from local resident historian, Alan Mainwaring:
The trails were first built to access a State Division of Forestry (now Washington Department of Natural Resources) lookout tower. In 1929, a 30-foot pole tower was constructed near the top of Pinnacle Peak and replaced in 1934 by a 60-foot tower. These lookout towers were uncovered wooden platforms with a railing from which an observer could locate smokes and relay fire reports via landline phone to the Enumclaw Division of Forestry office below. In 1942, an Aircraft Warning Station was located atop Pinnacle Peak with the mission of spotting enemy aircraft during WWII. In 1948, a road was built just shy of the summit followed two years later by a new USFS type, L-4 tower. This lookout was built on a 20-foot wooden support with a 14'x14' live-in cab. At least 30 men and women staffed the lookouts over the years with the last full time observer being a White River High School graduate, Linda Makela in 1964.
At 11 a.m., May 13, 1966 a Caterpillar tractor pulled down the Pinnacle Peak lookout tower, ending 37 years of fire detection service. District Administrator Tom Anderson Jr., stated in a press release, "We hoped to preserve the tower in reserve for a few years, but the tower suffered so much vandalism and break-ins it was necessary to remove it to prevent a serious accident to children playing on the tower."
The north trail is named for Cal Magnusson, a long time Cascade mountaineer who worked at REI for 25 years with famed mountain climber Jim Whittaker.