- Ranking: 3/5 As far as day hikes go, this is a good one, if not for all the scenery, then at least because of it’s training value, lots of elevation gain, in a short amount of distance, which accounts for why it’s so popular with the locals who like to climb. The views from the top aren’t bad either, on a clear day.
- Difficulty: 7/10 Again, for day hikes in the area, there are few that are so close that afford such good elevation gain, 3100 feet in a little under 4 miles.
Maps: The Green Trails Map #174, Mount Si
Permits: None required. This is a day use only area.
Since this is hike is within an hour’s drive for most people in the Seattle/Tacoma metro area, thanks to I-90, it is very popular. Because of its over 3000ft in elevation gain over 4 miles, this makes it a great training run for those wanting to scale nearby Mt. Rainier, but don’t have the extra time to drive to the mountain. Which explains why, on a weekend, you’ll see people of all disciplines here. Trail runners, dayhikers, families, and people in training, lugging 50lb packs up the trail. Get here early, as the large parking lot fills up quickly on weekends.
I heeded that advice, and got there early, but with only a light load, as this will be my first full on exertion with loaded pack. That, and both my pack and boots were new, so no reason to overdo it, right? Also new this year, will be taking along a GPS unit, so that I can track our trips, and submit them with pictures and trail notes to Backpacker.com. Hopefully, as things progress, I’ll be able to add the routes link here.
I want to see what it looks like from the very top, so I continue on to the scramble route, to take a whack at climbing to the top of Haystack rock.
The trail begins right away, and does not really relent until you reach the viewing area below the pinnacle of Haystack rock, at around 3600 feet. The day was warm, and it felt good to finally get out and stretch legs and lungs. Not too many people on the trail this morning, and I’m relieved to see the sparse crowds, knowing that will soon change. Arriving at the top, I decide this day, I want to see what it looks like from the very top, so I continue on to the scramble route, to take a whack at climbing to the top of Haystack rock. It’s a little steeper than I thought, but it still looked manageable, even with the weight on my back, so I went for it. Trekking poles here are useless, as I needed my hands to help pull me up. Twenty minutes, and several gut checks later, I topped out at the high point of this trail, with breathtaking scenery all around! A true birds eye view of North Bend, and the Snoqualmie river valley! I paused here to eat, and enjoy the scenery for awhile, before heading back down. And, is it down! By the time I got back to the parking lot, my legs and knees were screaming at me. And, they would not relent for days, reminding me incessantly that they were not happy with the first hike of the season. Other than that, it was a great beginning, and the new equipment worked well…Next week, we tackle the Northern Loop, once again…