For 2018 I made it a goal to do at least 25 hikes this year! This didn’t mean one every other weekend–I mean come on we have lots of rain from January until April, but just 25 hikes to spread across a year. My other goal was to do at least 100 miles throughout all that hiking.
This is the beginning of my journey of 25 different hiking trails across Washington State.
Hike 1: Rattlesnake Ledge: East Peak (The Beginner Hike)
My first hike–January 1, 2018 just because I wanted to start the year off right and it was a beyond gorgeous day. My friend Cory and I got to Rattlesnake Ledge trailhead fairly earlier–10:30am. Surprisingly the parking lot was not busy, but that’s because too many people stayed out way too late the night before. We bundled up a bit–it was only 30 degrees out and set off up the mountain. It only took us 45 minutes to get to the lookout ledge (it’s only 2 miles up) and naturally we paused for a photo just like every other person who goes to Rattlesnake. And yes it’s breathtaking as always, but we thought let’s go up higher so we embarked on the East Peak, another couple miles up with even more lookout points along the way. As we came down the mountain more and more people filled the trail so my advice is–GET TO THE TRAILS EARLY because parking was crazy as we left. Hike #1: 6.5 miles
Hike 2: Granite Creek Trail to Granite Lake (The Alpine Lake)
January 13th, we sought after a destination hike to a lake this time. This trailhead is right past Mailbox Peak in North Bend–you need a Discover Pass. You can start at the Granite Creek Connector trail, which is what my friend, Garrett and I did. It’s a scenic 2.8 mile trek up, around, and through many creeks to get to the Granite Creek Trailhead. You can also just drive another 2 miles down from this parking spot to the trailhead for a more direct access point and to skip the extra 2.8 miles. Once you arrive at the actual Granite Creek Trailhead, transcend up over 3 miles through beautiful, scenic viewpoints of bridges, waterfalls, snow-filled mountains, and nature until you come to a fork in the road–left to Thompson Lake and right to Granite Lakes. We went to Granite Lakes–trudging through the snow, but made it to the still semi-frozen lake–a beautiful and fulfilling view for all the hard work up. Along the entirety of the trail you will also come across 65 creeks to go over hence the name Granite CREEK Trail. There is one in particular that is over a raging river, which we deemed dangerous to cross at that point in the trail so we deviated a bit off the trail to go over the river in a more stable area. Along this trail you should WEAR WATERPROOF SHOES, BRING HIKING POLES, PACK SNACKS/WATER. Your shoes and pants will get wet–at least this time of the year. You will also encounter snow–we saw traces to 7 inches. Overall this is a great hike and when the weather is beautiful, which we had it’s even more worth the trek–it would be a great spot to have lunch in the summertime when the lake isn’t frozen. Hike #2: 11.5 miles.
Hike 3: Teneriffe Falls (The Rainy Day Hike)
February 4th right before watching the SuperBowl on a very foggy and drizzly Sunday my friends and I went on a hike up Mt. Teneriffe. This trailhead is in North Bend right past Little Si and Mt. Si and has a new 70 car paved parking lot. We got there just before 10am and began the half mile climb to the first fork in the road. Make sure to go LEFT and not right – right goes to the old trail and not up the mountain. Once you go left you’ll walk a mile or two and get to another fork, but this one is clearly marked for Teneriffe Falls. Follow it up and once you get to the clearing of just rocks that you will soon be climbing over, around, and through you have another mile or two.
This trail is all ROCKS, so prepare your ankles by wearing high top hiking boots or ankle braces.
Climbing over the rocks you get views and openings through the trees to take some cool photos. Then after some climbing you must go up and over a smaller waterfall to get to the big one. Don’t worry the trail continues upward–and then the big falls can be seen and heard. The big falls can be seen up close on a little landing–but be careful you may get soaked. You must pass the landing and climb straight up about half a mile to the very top of the clearing. Unfortunately, when we got to the top it was pouring down rain and very foggy so the views were not as amazing as it can be, but making it to the top is what it’s all about. Going down, be careful of sliding rocks, your ankles, and falling. Otherwise this was a great hike to do with friends and in the rain–you are covered for most of the time.
I would recommend doing this hike in both the winter, a rainy day, and a sunny day. Hike #3: 7.5 miles.
Hike 4: South County Park Trails (The Fun, Up-and-Over-Branches Hike)
This hike is more of a ‘Jurassic Park’ free-for-all through random trails of beautiful trees, creeks, and greenery. You are not going up a mountain, but you are climbing over rocks, sliding down pathways, going up and over fallen tree branches. This trail is an adventure walk through ravines – you can come across a tree house, an old tire swing, and just random pathways for days. It’s a fun time just walking around with friends or if you have a dog who wants to run around for a bit. You can hike miles and miles, exploring so you might want to make sure you know how to get back to your car.
Pack along some snacks and you can eat lunch down by the giant creek that runs through the middle of the trails or just walk through the jungle full of overgrown trees, a number of sticker bushes and muddy tracks in peace and quiet while listening to the water streaming down the way.
Either way this trail is about being outside in nature and exploring your own backyard! Hike #4: 2 miles.
Hike 5: Poo Poo Point (The Hang Glider Hike)
Start off by heading out EARLY as the parking lot for this trail is always jam-packed on a sunny day. You DO NOT need a Discover Pass for this trail. The parking lot for this trail is the landing spot for the hang gliders so be careful as you embark on your journey up the mountain. The trail is very well marked!
Through the 2.5 miles up – and I mean up, like straight up the mountain – this trail is basically like climbing stairs. It’s a path of rocks straight up with a couple switchbacks here and there. You get about to the halfway mark when you hit the first of 4 benches (tree benches), then you get to an open patch that has a small creek and just gravel/rocks. You’ll get to an open grass meadow, but this IS NOT the top–but a great place to see Mt. Rainier on a sunny day. You have to continue following the trail another 10 minutes and then you are at the real top where the hang gliders jump from. Hike #5: 5 miles.
Through the first 5 hikes I’ve already gone 32.5 miles! If you have any recommendations or trails that are worth the hike please let me know! I have a huge list of hikes to accomplish and I’d love to keep adding to the list!
Until the next article and the next 5 adventures!
This is part 1 of a 5 part series on hikes in the Pacific Northwest. Read the entire series here.