Friday, December 14, 2018

Weekend Wanderings: Spring Hikes in the Snoqualmie Region 40 Minutes from Seattle

Updated 5/8/17. 

Late spring is on its way and we’re well on our way to summer. Maybe I’ve said this every year and I’ll say it again—this year has really flown by! Here’s a guide to some of my favorite hikes in the North Bend / Snoqualmie region, about 40 minutes east on I-90 from Seattle. 

rattlesnake

Rattlesnake 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. It gets pretty crowded here so 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.

Little Si. Photo by WTA.

Another hike for new hikers: Little Si

This route is perfect for beginners who are looking to get back in shape. It starts and ends with some relatively steep inclines, but the middle is much more mild. Keep going! Expect crowds. The lot is smaller than Rattlesnake’s. Make sure to read the signs—don’t park where there are “No Parking” signs—you will get towed. That’s one of the worst ways to end a hike, right? Coming back to realize your car is missing. 

Time to summit: 50 minutes

Length: 4.7 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 1300 ft.

Pass required: Discover Pass

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, only about 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.

snowlake

Snow Lake ends with a lake! Photo by Jennifer Liu.

Leisurely hiking with a lake? Try Snow Lake

*NOTE: There is still snow on this hike. Check here before your go. With the extended snow season this year, this might be better for a late June or later summer hike.

The trailhead to the hike is just steps from the Alpental parking lot. Unlike other hikes around here, this doesn’t have as 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 are 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.

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 30 minutes

Length: 9.0 miles roundtrip

Elevation gain: 2950 ft.

Pass required: Discover Pass

For more information about the hike, click here.

mailboxpeak

Mailbox Peak 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 steeper 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, and host themed dinner parties. You can find her eating, hiking, hanging out with her awesome dog, or napping. Ice cream, burgers, and sushi are some of her favorite things.
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