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Journey to 25 Hikes and 100 Miles – Part 4: Summer Hikes

Summer in the Pacific Northwest is always the best time for hiking! Check out my summer hikes:

Hike 12: Mt Catherine (3 miles)

Mt. Catherine | Photo Cred: Taylor Shimizu

Nestled right past Snoqualmie Pass in Hyak is this hidden trail to Mt. Catherine. But beware–you need a car that can go through big rocks (SUV, Forester, Jeep). My poor little Honda Civic couldn’t make it up through the 4 miles of winding potholes and big rocks to the trailhead. My friend had to come back to the bottom to grab me. The trailhead doesn’t have much parking—only about 5 spots and then everyone parks to the side of the road and nothing is marked. Up the trail through some switchbacks and straight up the mountain you go about 2 miles and reach this cliff. You can climb up the dirt and rocks or there is a metal rope there to pull yourself up. Once on top the view is beautiful. We had it all to ourselves! Took some great 360 degree view panoramas. This time of year there are always mosquitoes so wear bug spray. After our journey back down the mountain I could feel all the bug bites—25 to be exact! Since we worked up a sweat straight up 1300 feet we deserved a little lunch and afternoon beer, so we went to Dru Bru! Such a great brewery next the summits just one exit down! All in all a great hike with gorgeous views and great company!

Hike 13: Ira Springs to Mason Lake (7 miles)

Mason Lake | Photo Cred: Taylor Shimizu

An easy hike to find right off I-90 and up a gravel road. Not too many potholes, but go EARLY to avoid the parking and number of people on the trail. The trail is very easy to follow, but lots of bugs so bring bug spray if you have some. You’ll get to a split off–go left and up and over to find Mason Lake or continue on your pathway up to Banderra Mountain. We just went to Mason Lake and it was a beautiful summer day, but again a lot of bugs especially near the lake. If you are going towards the mountain it’s a beautiful view from there but a nice steady incline! Overall a great hike close to I-90 with some great scenery!

Hike 14: Tonga Ridge to Mt Sawyer (8 miles)

This dog-friendly trail is a little off the beaten path. Follow Google Maps along a gravel road for 5 miles and once you get to the turnout you know you’re there. There is no parking lot, just park on the side of the road. The trailhead is at the end of the turnout. The beginning part of the trail is pretty simple and straightforward to follow. You’ll get to a split that’s hard to see, but you go left to go up to the mountains. There are many switchbacks up to Mt. Sawyer, but once you get to the top it’s breathtaking! You have 360 degree views of mountains, trees, and a small lake! We were the only ones at the top which was nice! On the way down we went back to the split but continued straight and came across Fisher Lake and Deception Creek! It was Grover’s first hike so we didn’t want to go too far! For a little guy at 7 pounds he did very well!

Hike 15: Cherry Creek Falls (6 miles)

This hike was not far of a drive–just off Woodinville-Duvall Road, but the trailhead is actually a private road. Look for all the cars illegally parked on the side and you’ll find the entrance pretty quickly. This trail is very easy going and quick to go up and down. There are two pathways towards the falls, stay right for easier trail, going left it becomes tricky–lots of overgrown shrubs and trees. The falls was pretty, but smaller than I anticipated it being. Definitely a good beginner hike for kids, families, and dogs.

Hike 16: Snow Lake (7 miles)

This easy to find hike is just past the Snoqualmie Pass West/Alpental Ski area, but beware the parking lot fills up quick and you must display a Northwest Forest Pass. Trailhead is to your right and you are on your way! A couple switchbacks to climb higher and then you’ll go back down towards the lake. Take a cool photo of the lake at the top and then head on down towards the lake for a swim if it’s warm enough or just to sit on some rocks and look out into the beautiful blue hues of the water. One of the best and easiest hikes if you’re looking for a great view, swim, and easy to find hike that’s not too far away!

Hike 17: Annette Lake (8 miles)

Another trail along I-90 (it’s just the easiest place to go)! Easy to find parking and access to the trailhead. There’s a number of switchbacks and lots of rocks but otherwise the trail is in great condition. There’s no descent to the lake, it’s just right in the open which is nice. It’s a lot cooler by the lake of course and we even saw some people jumping in – it was only 70 degrees that day. We met some cool people on the hike which makes it easier climbing up and down of course! Another great alpine lake to visit!

Lake Serene | Photo Cred: Taylor Shimizu

This trail along Highway 2 up near Gold Bar just reopened at the end of August so my friend and I of course wanted to go see the falls and the lake, but we decided to do a sunset hike. We got to the trailhead around 4:15pm and started up this grueling stairclimb of a hike. I should have read the trip report as we climbed 2,000 feet in the last 2.5 miles… But the first mile and a half to the falls was pretty easygoing. I also had my friends dog pulling me up the whole time!

After seeing the falls we started the monstrous stairclimb and I mean, it’s literally stairs. This was actually worse than Mailbox Peak, at least to me, since I had done Annette Lake 4 days prior. But we made it to Lake Serene and it was gorgeous. The best part was we had the whole lake to ourselves. There’s this big rock you can go sit on and just look right into the blue waters.

With the sun going down we turned back down — make sure to bring headlamps or a flashlight (we made it about halfway down before needing one), but sure happy to have it when it seemed pitch black. I was pretty terrified, being the only ones out there but we had our guard dog. Overall a great first sunset hike that I would highly recommend.

As summer is ending I’m through 18 adventurous hikes and 129 miles! Not sure if I’ll get to 25 hikes, but I know I want to try a snowshoe hike so stay tuned!

This is part 4 of a 5 part series on hikes in the Pacific Northwest. Read the entire series here.



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