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
(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
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.