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It's tough to hike with a baby. Thus, I only got out a couple of times last summer. Here's to me getting into shape to carry my water and my kid on my back. He's old enough to be jostled around (and keep his head upright) so I hope this coming summer will be a better one for hiking.

I made a little checklist of what to bring with on a day hike that you might find useful. You might also be interested in my car camping to-bring list.

Also, a couple of obligatory links... the Washington Trails Association and the Pacific Northwest Trail Association are two groups that do a lot of work building and maintaining good places to hike around here. They are worthy causes to support if you enjoy hiking.

Where to Hike near Seattle

Finally, here's a list of some good hikes we've done in this area (Olympic peninsula, Seattle area and Cascades) along with (in some cases) photos and directions:

Talapus Lake, off I-90 exit 45 up FS Road #9030: Lynn and I kicked off 2004 hiking season with a hike up to an alpine lake. There was still quite a bit of snow up there; the poles and gators we got after last year's early season hike to Green Mountain were great. The lake was still pretty much frozen but that didn't stop Rooster, Aaron and Dana's dog, from jumping right in to chase sticks. Two other dogs that were up there with some other hikers were not as brave: they went in but waded only, refusing to swim. We hiked partially around the lake. It was a beautiful day for April, unseasonably warm and not raining! During this hike I managed to crack the LCD of the new digital camera, so that sucks... hopefully it can be repaired.

Comet Falls, Mt. Rainier: This is a really great hike in Mt. Rainier National Park. It's pretty steep terrain for about 2 miles but all your work pays off when you get to the falls. Here are some pictures. Once you have had a chance to cool off at the falls, keep climbing up towards Van Trump park -- an alpine meadowland further up the trail where you can check out the wild flowers and the vistas. While you're there see if you can spot any mountain goats on adjacent slopes. Note that there is usually snow up here (5500 ft or so) until late July. Even then you might find some. This hike is not accessible early in the season. Also note that this is a pretty popular hike but it gets less crowded the further up you go. It costs $10 to get into the park, the Comet Falls trailhead is marked on the map they give you. Here are some other photos taken on the drive through Mt. Rainier National Park.

Tiger Mountain, off I-90 near Bellevue: This is a cool hike because its close to Seattle / the Eastside and because the view at the top is great. From there you can see Lake Sammamish, Lake Washington, and downtown Seattle in the way-distance on a clear day. Plus you didn't have to drive two hours to get here! You can also do the next mountain over, Cougar Mountain.

Rattlesnake Ledge, off I-90: This is the next hike east on I-90 past Tiger and Cougar mountains. Lynn and I did this hike with our friends Mason and Melissa late in the season, 2002. It's a very short, steep hike (~1.5 miles) full of switchbacks up to a rock ledge where you can eat lunch, catch your breath and admire the view. From there you can continue up the trail to a ranger station and fire lookout point at the top. The total distance is maybe ~3 miles one-way to the top.

Green Mountain, near Glacier Peak: Our friends Aaron and Dana, both avid hikers, took me and Lynn out to this hike. I think it's about 4 miles up to the summit. On the way up we saw a bunch of marmots. Once at the top you've got a great 360 degree view dominated by Glacier Peak. We hiked this one in early June and there was still a lot of snow. The elevation at the top is over 5000 ft. Here are some pictures.

(near) Fish Lake: Late in the summer 2002 we went camping and hiking with a big group of friends: Aaron, Dana, Andy, Carol, Dan, Leslie, Jason, Steph, me and Lynn. The second day up there we took a cool hike about 3.5 miles of climbing up to a ridgeline and a good view.

Dungeness Spit, off 101 east of Port Angeles: Lynn and I hiked the spit with Shana who is a volunteer at the lighthouse (located at the end of the spit). The hike is a flat ~5 mile trek along a sandy beach out to the lighthouse at the end. Along the way you will probably see seals playing in the surf. At the lighthouse you can relax and have lunch and then turn around and walk back. A pleasant way to spend a summer day on the Olympic Peninsula -- just remember your sunscreen, camera (I forgot mine!) and comfortable boots. Hiking on the sand really tires you out.

Wallace Falls, off Hwy 2 near Gold Bar: I like the hike to Wallace Falls because it's close to Seattle and because the falls are spectacular. I have to be hiking to something, like a good view or a nice waterfall (or a lighthouse!). This hike is about ~3.5 miles one-way up to the falls.

Tonga Ridge, off Hwy 2 near Skykomish: The coolest thing about this hike is that the car does all the work. You drive up to about 4500 ft and then the hike is mostly flat as you walk down the ridgeline. The views are ok, not great but not bad for having done no climbing. There's a whole meadow full of huckleberries that were ripe and tasty when we did this hike with Andy and Carol in late September, 2003. There's a spot about 4 miles in where you can scramble up a dry creek bed to a saddle point and get a better view. Here are some pictures.

Snoqualmie Falls, just off SR202: This is lame and doesn't really even count as a hike but it's a cool place. If you take highway 202 east from Redmond you come to a little town called Fall City. On the right is a beautiful waterfall called Snoqualmie Falls. There's a posh lodge at the top (Salish) where you can get a (really) fancy meal or spa... and the power company has built a hydroelectric plant there. But the main attraction is the waterfall -- you can take good pictures from the top or walk down to the bottom on a somewhat steep but short (~1 mile) trail. This is a good place to "hike" with your parents or athletic grandparents.

index.html was last updated 19 July 2013 and is Copyright (C) 2002-2015 by Scott Gasch (scott.gasch@gmail.com).