Hiking Near Seattle
Some of my hikes
I have recently started a blog with hikes in the Seattle area and my recent hikes and some of the older ones are documented there.
Click on any picture to see the full story
I was really looking forward to hiking to the Hidden Lake Lookout for a long while now and I was too impatient to wait till mid-July, by which time all show should melt. I grabbed my ice axe, yaktrax and set out expecting some snow. I found lots...
Another trip to Lake Serene. This time we got all the views we wanted. Lake serene is an easy hike, perfect for early season when everything else still has snow on the trails.
Mt. Dickerman is tough but totally worth the effort. From the top, you get great views of Mt. Baker, Glacker Peak and other nearby mountains.
The hike to Surprise Lake is easy and pleasant -- a perfect destination if more interesting things are inaccessible due to bad weather or snow.
In early June of 2004, Jean and I hiked to Colchuck Lake and Lake Stuart. A beautiful destination, though best done before the high season begins and the trail gets too crowded.
Lake Serene is located a little more than an hour away from Seattle. The hike is slightly easier than the trail up Mt. Si but it is arguably more interesting with the spectacular views of Bridal Veils waterfalls.
Goat Lake is located in the Glacier Peak region and the trail head for the hike is accessible from the Mountain Loop Highway. It's an easy hike that provides really nice views. Perfect destination early in the season.
On August 2, 2003, Todd and I hiked Mt. Forgotten. The wildest and toughest hike I have done here so far!
Everybody has to hike Mt. Si at least once!
On a few occassions, I hiked near Burroughs Mountain in the Mount Rainier National Park. The views of Mount Rainier were spectacular!
Permits And Fees
Most of the time, you will be either in a National Forest or in one of the three National Parks.
In a National Forest you will need a NW Forest Pass in order to park a car in the vicinity of any of the trail heads. At the moment, the pass costs $5 per day or $30 per year. Usually you can buy the pass in any town on your way to the hike.
In a National Park you will usually have to pay an entrance fee. If you plan to do some overnight backpacking, the parks also require that you obtain a backcountry and/or camping permit. See the detailed fee information for North Cascades, Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Park fees & permits.
Conditions: Weather, Trails, Roads
- Interactive Weather Map for
Washington from the National Weather Service. If you click on the
correct part of the map, the site will report current weather forecast
for that region. The trick is knowing where to click because only the
major cities are marked. Alternatively, you can type the name of a
nearby town in the form below:
- Washington Mountain Cameras directly showing conditions at some of the major locations.
- Mt. Rainier Weather Forecast -- in raw format, just for the high parts.
- Hiker-submitted reports on current conditions of the trails from the The Washington Trails Association. At this point, it is my favorite source of information on trail conditions. Its only shortcoming is that some trails are missing or do not have recent enough reports.
- Official trail condition reports are available for the Mt.Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
- Washington State Mountain Pass Road Report has current information about all passes and major mountain roads in the state of Washington
- Detailed forest road conditions report in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
- North Cascades National Park (400 kb PDF)
- Mt. Rainier National Park (1.6 Mb PDF)
- Olympic National Park (1.1 Mb PDF)
Planning a Trip
The Washington Trails Association has a great tool for searching hikes by various criteria such as hike's length, elevation gain, attractions, etc. They also let you browse through the database of hikes. Finally, they have a forum for posting up-to-date information about the current conditions of the trails. This is particularly useful if you want to hike at unusual times of the year when official reports are not available or recent enough.
Seattle P-I regularly publishes reviews of different hikes in the area. They keep a complete archive.
There are lots of books with hike descriptions for the state of Washington. Below are my two favorites:
100 Classic Hikes in Washington
This is a collection of 100 best hikes in the state, including all three National Parks. The hikes range from short strolls that can be completed in a few hours, to multi day trips. In the current edition, each hike is accompanied by at least one color photograph and a map. If you are looking for inspiration, this is a perfect book to start with. You can get it from Amazon.
Best Loop Hikes Washington
This book also describes a 100 wonderful hikes. Unlike the other book, this one focuses exclusively on loop hikes. Many hikers prefer to avoid retracing their steps, if possible, so this book is an ideal source of advice. There is a photograph and a map accompanying each hike description (though they are all black and white). You can get it from Amazon