My husband and I have continued to eye Mount Pilchuck over the years. Finally we made the decision to hike it after some coaxing from one of our good friends.
The forest on Mount Pilchuck covered in snow with views of the Cascade Mountain Range in the background
We hiked in early November and the trailhead was already a bit icy and snowy. On the trail, you'll start off by walking through the forest, jumping over streams, and climbing up hills and dirt stairs. It doesn't take long before the views begin. When you're able to look out and see Everett in the distance, you'll realize just how high up you've already come.
Then, you'll step into Winter Wonderland--truly. The snow will probably be completely covering the trail, the trees, and the rocks. It's like walking into Christmas. We kept climbing and found a good portion of the hike where you follow the trail over boulders. If you have a dog with you like we did, make sure their paws don't slip down between the cracks, one of our biggest concerns. Turned out our chocolate lab did just great navigating his own way.
It was a sunny day when we hiked--here you can see one of the steepest parts of the trail
Views looking toward Puget Sound, the islands, and Everett
Yup, that's the trail--make sure you are well prepared for the steep inclines before hiking Mount Pilchuck
If it isn't too slippery, scramble up the boulders and ladder to the lookout tower. You can actually climb down into the building. We were hoping there might be a restaurant or Starbucks in there, but there wasn't.
The white look-out tower beyond the trees at the top of Mount Pilchuck--it's cold up there, but the views are worth it
The Dr. Seuss mountain peak in the background, lichen growing on the rock on the left, and Cascade views in the background
We had imagined there being a good place at the top to eat our lunch. The look-out tower is probably your best bet because frankly, with all the snow, there aren't many places to sit down.
One of our favorite parts of reaching the top of the mountain, looking out and seeing seven eagles flying at the same elevation as we were standing. It's the closest we've ever come to getting a bird's-eye view. Probably one of the best moments of our lives.
We had a lot of fun--carefully--sliding back down the steep mountain in the snow. We all fell several times but mostly on the snow powder. Do be careful, watch your footing, and stop to enjoy the views on the way back down.
This artful slice of the cliff landed here, who knows when
Things To Know:
- The round-trip hike to the peak of Mount Pilchuck and back is 5.4 miles
- The elevation gain is 2200 feet
- Make sure you are prepared for this hike before you attempt it: waterproof hiking boots, enough layers, food, water and plenty of daylight
- It's a good idea to chat with the ranger at the Ranger Station that's on the way to the turn-off to the hike
- You'll need a Northwest Forest Pass to park at the trailhead (this is different than the Discover Pass) you can buy it at the Ranger Station
- Dogs are allowed on leash
- This is not a hike to go on if it's snowing, raining, or if the conditions are at all chancy
- For current conditions on the trail visit: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/mount-pilchuck
Our chocolate lab enjoying the hike--as soon as we reached the bottom it was as if he was saying "Are you ready to do it again?!"
This is a phenomenal trail to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest!
Head on out Around Puget Sound...and Beyond