Thursday, February 23, 2017

Weekend Wanderings: Summer Hikes in the Snoqualmie Region 30 Minutes East of Seattle

Can you believe it’s already July 4th weekend? And we are officially at the halfway mark of 2016! Maybe I’ve said this every year and I’ll say it again—this year has really flown by! If you’re staying around here for the long weekend, there are plenty of outdoor activities to do, including eating and drinking on patios, water activities, bonfires, biking, and hiking. Here’s a guide to some of my favorite hikes in the North Bend / Snoqualmie region, about 30-45 minutes east on I-90 from Seattle. 

rattlesnake

Rattlesnake Party Ledge. Photo by Jennifer Liu.

New to hiking? Try Rattlesnake Ledge

This is the “gateway” hike. It’s a good hike for beginners or for a quick weeknight hike before sunset. When I was testing out the world of online dating, every. single. person. said they “hiked” and had a selfie here, so… that might give you a visualization of what it looks like on Saturday afternoons on the ledge (read: frat party). It gets SO CROWDED it can be hard to find a place to sit down, but the view is definitely worth it. Plus, parking is free and plentiful.

Time to summit: 40 minutes

Length: 4.0 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 1160 ft.

Pass required: none!

For more information about the hike, click here.

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Watching paragliders take off from the summit. Photo by WTA.

Looking to make it down in time for brunch? Try PooPoo Point

Yes, that’s really the name. Located on the Tiger Mountain in Issaquah, it’s a quick hike and it’s really close to the city, about 20-25 minutes from Seattle. The parking lot is small, so aim to get their early or you may have to wait in the parking lot, but I’ve never had to wait more than 10 minutes for a spot. If I start the hike around 9:00 am, I can be down and driving back to the city around 11:15 am, in time to meet my friends for brunch! At the top, you can also pay a “tour guide” to take you paragliding (proceed with caution—it can be dangerous!)

Time to summit: 1 hour 15 minutes

Length: 7.2 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 1850 ft.

Pass required: none!

For more information about the hike, click here.

mountsi

Mount Si’s summit. Photo by Jennifer Liu.

Looking for a solid workout? Try Mount Si

It’s a solid hike. It’s a good workout and just enough of a challenge for moderate hikers. It’s hard to see anything at the summit when it’s cloudy, but it’s a nice view on a clear day. Go early—the parking lot gets filled up!

Time to summit: 1 hour 45 minutes

Length: 9.0 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 2950 ft.

Pass required: Discover Pass

For more information about the hike, click here.

There’s also Little Si for a shorter hiker, also great to do after work for a sunset hike

snowlake

Snow Lake ends at the lake! Photo by Jennifer Liu.

Lesiurely hike: Snow Lake

The trailhead to the hike is just steps from the Alpental parking lot. Unlike other hikes around here, this one is out in the sunshine (without too much tree coverage) for a lot of the hike, so make sure to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. There are a lot of stones, so prepare for that if you’re bringing small children or your pup.

Time to summit: 1 hour

Length: 6.7 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 1800 ft.

Pass: Northwest Forest Pass (or $5 cash)

For more information on this hike, click here.

annettelake

Annette Lake. Photo by WTA.

Annette Lake

This is a nice hike that also has great overnight camping spots. There are quite a bit of rocks to maneuver, so hiking boots would be ideal. The lake is a stunning blue and green color and well worth the hike. You can also catch a view of the waterfall feeding into the lake.

Time to summit: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Length: 7.5 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 1400 ft.

Pass required: Northwest Forest Pass

For more information about the hike, click here

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Mason Lake. Photo by WTA.

A hike that’s a step above beginner: Ira Spring Trail

The trail begins gently and then increases sharply around mile 1. Start early, if possible, because the first half of the trek up has no tree coverage. Bring bugspray too—sometimes they are buzzing around at the lake! Once the trail comes out of the tree coverage, there are stunning views of Mt. Rainier and many wildflowers along the path.

Time to summit: 2 hours

Length: 6.5 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 2400 ft.

Pass required: Northwest Forest Pass

For more information about the hike, click here.

mailboxpeak

Mailbox at the summit. Photo by WTA.

Looking to challenge yourself? Try Mailbox Peak

This is the hike I find the most challenging in the area. It’s best to do on a sunny, clear day because you will also get a breathtaking view of Mt. Rainier. The new trail is easier, but a tad longer and easier on the knees coming down. The old trail is very steep and also a very rewarding hike. Leave something in exchange for something in the mailbox. It’s full of weird and cool stuff: alcohol, stickers, cake, barbies, scarves etc. Make sure to stretch after the hike and drink plenty of water or you’ll be so sore the next few days!

Time to summit: 2 hours 15 minutes

Length: 9.4 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 4000 ft.

Pass required: Discovery Pass

For more information about the hike, click here.

 

Want more?

Washington Trails Association (WTA) has a ton of information on their website here.

 

 

About Jennifer Liu

Despite the rain, Jennifer loves Seattle and is a rare native. From the gorgeous summer weather to the drizzle the other 9 months, this may be her forever home. She graduated from the University of Washington and has a master's degree in counseling psychology. She loves to travel, volunteer, cook+bake, and host themed dinner parties. You can find her eating, planning her next meal, hiking, hanging out with her awesome dog, or napping. Ice cream, burgers, and sushi are some of her favorite things.
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