Mount Si via Mount Si Trail
Located along Washington state's I-90 corridor, the popular 8-mile out and back Mount Si trail gives hikers a wide-open view of the town of North Bend and surrounding mountains from atop its craggy haystack. With close access to the city (a 45-minute drive east of Seattle), Mount Si can get crowded with those wanting to escape the city without traveling too far. Despite the foot traffic, the trail still manages to offer a hike just challenging enough and beautiful enough to make it all worthwhile.
The trailhead is located at the far end of the parking lot, between the restrooms (pit toilets) and the information board.
Most of the trail remains in the trees giving shade from the sun and protection from wind. Mount Si's lower elevation allows hikers to enjoy the trail year-round, though snow does cover higher parts of the trail throughout the winter months.
Gaining 3,100 feet in roughly four miles provides a workout for anyone, and the trail gradually gains elevation with switchbacks. After the first 1.5 miles, hikers reach Snag Flat, where old-growth trees tower overhead and hikers can catch a breath and a break from the steady elevation gain before the next set of switchbacks.
Nearing the top of the trail, the surrounding Central Cascade Mountains come into view. Continue further and reach a rocky overlook. On a clear day, views of Mount Rainier appear to the south. Continue up the rocky steps to the base of the Haystack, Mount Si's true summit. Some hikers choose to scramble up the exposed rock while others take in the views and enjoy a snack before returning back to the trail and to the parking lot.
A Discover Pass is required to park at the trailhead, which gets very congested during the summer months. Buy an annual pass or pay at the trailhead.
For kids who like the outdoors, Mount Si is a perfect combination of safety (close to the city, plenty of people), and strenuous activity with a serious reward: sweeping views of the valley below.
Sights to See
Mount Si, though I've hiked it a dozen times, always seems to go on and on! I don't like it as much as Little Si, which feels more meandering than the switchbacks of Mount Si. It's not necessarily a hard hike (unless you're not much of a hiker), but it definitely gets your heart rate up and is a great place to train and get stronger during the colder months. The views from the top are great, and I've enjoyed doing this hike after work hours on the weekdays, with headlamps, YakTracks and snowflakes. Beats going during the summer weekends when everyone else is there! ★ ★ ★ ★
A great training hike close to Seattle. You stay in the trees for the majority of the hike, which makes it good for a rainy day. ★ ★ ★ ★
Hike with Emilie and arnaud. 2.5 hours up. Half hour lunch