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Thread: Recommended Hikes in Seattle Area

  1. #1
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    Recommended Hikes in Seattle Area

    I thought I'd start this thread since it seemed like at least a few people were interested in discussing Seattle area hikes in this thread Daylight Backpack Packing List for Summer Hikes

    I haven't been in Seattle for all the long, but I'll start us off with a couple of my favorite day hikes in the area so far. I tend to like hikes in the 8 - 10 mile, ~3000 feet elevation range, within a couple hours drive max of the city. Photos taken on my phone so apologies for the less than stellar quality.

    Bare Mountain Bare Mountain - bumpy long access road (just fine in my Civic though!), so there was practically no one on the trail even on a prime summer Saturday! Really fun hike because you go through some different environments - hike along a creek with some evergreens, then through crazy tall thick ferns (taller than me!), then a rocky stretch to an amazing 360 degree view. Here's the path through the ferns:
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    Here's the view in just one direction from the top (if I recall correctly, that's Mt. Adams in the distance):
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    Old Mt. Si trail Mount Si - Old Trail - good alternative to the traditional trail, since it's a bit steeper (for those of us who like more of a challenge) and also way less crowded (you'll really notice that once you connect back with the regular Mt. Si trail at the top). View from the top:
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    Mt. Washington Mount Washington - went on a cloudy day so I bet it'd be spectacular on a clear day, another good alternative to doing Mt. Si for those of us who like things a bit less crowded. Lots of interesting boulders/rocks on the way - saw some people climbing in a couple spots. No photo since it was cloudy.

    I'm also starting to dip my toes into backpacking so if anyone has recommended spots for a weekend, I'm interested in those, too!

    Oh, and for those who are car-free or just prefer taking public transit, here's a good resource for getting to some good hiking in the area without a car https://sites.google.com/site/seattlemetrobushiking/

  2. #2
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    @ClaireJ, I am guessing that you may be involved in some of the local hiking and backpacking groups, but if not, they are a great way to see lots of local hikes and meet people. It is farther than your two hour radius, but I can recommend a backpacking trip I took this past weekend to do a gear check before my upcoming Wonderland Trail hike. If you have not been to the Enchanted Valley in the Olympic Peninsula, it is really beautiful as the 13.5 mile (one way) trail to the Enchanted Valley winds through old growth trees along the Quinault River with gentle elevation changes and several camps en route if you wanted to make the trip a multi-day event. Once in the valley, there is a historic chalet which was built in the 30s and has over time served as lodging for visitors, a ranger station, and as emergency shelter. Unfortunately, due to river re-routing and erosion, the chalet has been closed and may not last much longer. The valley is enormous and offers multiple campsites, and there are waterfalls periodically along the sides of the mountains. There is also the opportunity for longer day hikes from the Enchanted Valley. I will include a few pics from my trip this past weekend.

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    There are so many amazing hikes and potential backpacking trips in the nearby areas that it is almost overwhelming, as I look through a hard drive full of photos, yet I feel I have barely scratched the surface.

    For example, while @Darcy shared her great photos of Snow and Gem Lakes, if one continues beyond there, it can be interesting to extend the trip to Lower and Upper Wildcat Lakes, though the trail to Upper Wildcat is more of a fisherman's trail. There are a wealth of nearby hikes off of I-90 like Granite Mountain, Bandera, Tenerife, and many others, in addition to the ones that you have listed above.

    In terms of scenic lake hikes, Colchuck and Blanca Lakes are two of the more scenic lakes I would recommend that are challenging yet worthwhile hikes.

    As I mentioned in the other thread, in the Rainier area I would recommend Summerland, Spray Park, Tolmie Peak, Shriner Peak, and I will have more recommendations after August.

    While I have not done as many hikes in the N Cascades, I am completely in love with the area from my experiences there. Hidden Lake Lookout, Maple Pass in the fall when the larches turn (must do!), and so many others, but I will stop before I write way too much!
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    Last edited by NWhikergal; 07-29-2014 at 11:19 PM. Reason: Problems with photo attachments

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    Wow, it'll take me a while to fully digest all the recommendations in your post - thank so much!! Hiking in the Olympic Peninsula is very high on my list! The Enchanted Valley hike looks amazing. Granite Mountain and Bandera are already on my list, too, but I'll have to look into the Lower and Upper Wildcat Lakes and Tenerife now... I did Colchuck Lake and was weirdly unimpressed, but it may have been the situation (my first backpacking trip, and it was a bit of a mess - permit for Stuart Lake and for some reason most of the group tried to hike through the Enchantments from Snow Lake, so we went to Colchuck after setting up at Stuart, hoping to find the rest of the group, but apparently (predictably) they didn't make it over Aasgard Pass).

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    @ClaireJ, I have mainly day hiked to Colchuck, and it is pleasant as a day hike. Most of the groups I know who have done the Enchantments prefer to go from Colchuck up Aasgard Pass through to Snow Lake, since it can be more hazardous to descend, depending on the conditions. Definitely in snowy conditions, self arrest skills are essential on Aasgard Pass. If you hit Granite Mountain right, it is perfect for gorging oneself on wild blueberries along the upper section (allow extra time for that!); just beware during snowy conditions as there are some seriously avalanche prone areas.

    If you are going to most places on the Olympic Peninsula, I definitely recommend staying at least one night if you can, since it is such a long drive. And if you ever want to see one of the more remote and amazing rugged coastal areas in WA, check out Shi Shi Beach. Just be extremely aware of the tide schedules, as that can be a serious issue when trying to cross to the camping areas.

    One more place to consider for a different kind of overnight outing - Goldmyer Hot Springs - if you make advance reservations.
    Last edited by NWhikergal; 07-30-2014 at 05:18 PM.

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