Mt. Margaret Ski Tour

A Proper Exit 54 Adventure

This season, I have been exploring one of the lesser visited parts of the Snoqualmie Backcountry – the north side of Exit 54. However, one area in this zone I had not visited was Mt. Margaret. With a moderate amount of fresh, low density snow, and strong east winds, I convinced Logan and Sam to check out this zone one afternoon.

We started along the snowmobile road towards Mt. Margaret with a strong headwind. We cut the second switchback between 2800 and 3500 ft. The skinning was sometimes challenging dust on crust, so I am not sure if that saved us any time. We continued upwards through clearcuts of varying age and density before finally finding more open young trees around 4200 ft. People have spoken highly of the low angle trees on the south side of Margaret and I could see why.

Finally into more open trees.

It started snowing lightly as we climbed towards the south summit of Margaret. There were no ski tracks ahead of us, but one sledder had gone all the way to the south summit. It seemed unusual to see sledders in forests like this, but I guess riders are always getting more talented and machines are getting more capable.

Margaret has a reputation for being a long ways out there with a flat road skin to start. I had never ventured to Margaret because of this. But it had only taken us just over 2 hours to climb 3000 ft from the car, covering a good amount of mileage also. However, we did have ideal trail breaking conditions, with 4-6 inches of low density snow on top of a firm crust.

Peaceful views out to the southeast.

First, we wanted to check out a beautiful open tree shot that Logan and I had spotted from the I90 Glades. Unfortunately, this path had slid towards the end of the recent storm and so the snow was mostly crappy. Towards the bottom, it suddenly transitioned to bottomless blower powder and face shots ensued. This was definitely the lightest snow I have skied all year – it practically exploded at every turn.

Sam skis the leftovers after it slid.
Sam charging through some very light snow (for Snoqualmie).
Logan getting the goods.

After this short run, we climbed back up the slope to towards the north summit. This put us at the top of some long glades, setting us up for a long run all the way down to Rocky Run.

We linked glades, open areas, and a delightful tree tube for a super fun run on great snow. This run had many different tiers and constantly surprised us around each roll. I love these sorts of runs.

Sam enjoying the nice snow.
Effortless turns down towards Rocky Run.

The snow got pretty scratchy below 4k, but we took it all the way to the bridge over Rocky Run on FS 4832.

From here, we probably should have just exited using the approach from the I90 Glades, but I wanted to try yet another run off the ridge to the car. So we climbed another 800 ft or so to the ridge line. It was getting dark, but I led us into some glades skier’s left of the Tube of Entanglement and skier’s right of the I90 Glades. The snow was more dust on crust. As we got lower, the crust even started to become breakable!

Logan starting down, with the lights of Summit Central in the background.

Ultimately, this tube resembled the Tube of Entanglement, but with perhaps more cliffs to navigate. There was always a way around, but it was bit spicy in the dark.

Giving Sam a proper Exit 54 exit.

Finally we hit an old road I had spotted in satellite imagery and took this back down to the Rocky Run connector and our car. This old road was in worse shape than some of the others and tested our abilities to weave quickly in the dark and do the “Limbo” on skis.

On this tour, there was some excellent skiing and also some really bad skiing! It had all the classic elements of an Exit 54 tour – sledders, blower powder, spicy alder skiing, and overgrown secret logging roads. I am not sure if I will do this specific exit again, but I would love to come back to Mt. Margaret!

A map of our tour.


  • This tour was 9 miles and 5k ft gain. It took us a little under 5 hours, having to break trail the entire time.
  • Given the three exits from that ridge I have now done, the exit Logan and I did in the I90 Glades was definitely the simplest.
  • Mt. Margaret has a lot of good tree skiing, but it can take some time to figure out which zones are good and which are too dense. It is not obvious from satellite imagery.

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