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July 22, 2019

Photo by Brodie Vissers from Burst

Your days are long and the sun’s out past 6pm - time to enjoy some of Washington’s breathtaking hikes. From easy half-day hikes, to all-day arduous treks, we’ve got you covered with this list of the top 5 hikes you should try this summer whether you’re walking, biking or running!

Gold Creek Pond  
  • Location: Snoqualmie Region 
  • Length: 1.0 miles, roundtrip 
  • Elevation: 10ft gain with highest point at 3000ft

This ADA-accesible paved loop hike situated upon a mountain pond on Snoqualmie Pass is ideal for parents and children walking with strollers, people in wheelchairs or folks looking to enjoy scenic views along a mild trek. This 1 mile hike will guide you through a well maintained boardwalk, leading you to a marshy area before crossing over a creek on the northern side of the pond. Its glassy blue water is still and translucent. A short distance away from the pond are picnic grounds with multiple tables on the beach for summer lunching. Ditch the tables and bring a large blanket to dine on for class picnic etiquette.

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Tradition Lake Loop 

  • Issaquah Alps - Tiger Mountain 
  • Length: 2.9 miles, roundtrip 
  • Elevation: 150ft gain with highest point at 540ft  

A series of nearly-level trails and some swampy areas make up this lush, forest trail loop highlighting two serene lakes. The “Green Trails Map” reveals a network of trails of Tiger Mountain’s Traditional Plateau with several options for loop hikes with Tradition Lake in the center. Tradition Lake Loop is our favorite because of its ease. Fern, moss, stream crossings and wildflowers adorn this 2.9 mile forest trail. Mid-distance into the hike will bring you to a viewing platform where you can watch the wind ripple along the surface of the lake before continuing your trek. Pay attention to the signs as the trail is made up of a highway of hikes, giving you the opportunity to choose your own adventure.

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Little Si 
  • Snoqualmie Region - North 
  • Length: 4.7 miles, roundtrip 
  • Elevation: 1300ft gain with highest point at 1550ft 

A favorite amongst locals, Little Si strikes the perfect balance for novice and avid hikers. Heavy inclines bookend this mini-trek, yet rest assured knowing the hike levels out midway offering respite before you make your final push up the summit. A gorgeous woodland canopy straddles the bluff, keeping temperatures cool while creating a tranquil backdrop. You’ll have the opportunity to reroute to Boulder Garden Loop at 0.3 and 0.5 miles or stay left to continue on Little Si. Despite its junior title, Little Si boasts expansive views of the valley and surrounding peaks, including Mount Washington!

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Mount Si 
  • Snoqualmie Region - North 
  • Length: 8.0 miles, roundtrip 
  • Elevation: 3150ft gain with highest point at 3900ft

The mother of Little Si, the Snoqualmie people have said Mount Si is the “body of the moon, fallen to earth through the trickery of the fox and the blue jay” if that helps provide insight to its size and distinction. Similar to Little Si it is quite popular and hiked each year by roughly 100,000 people, so be prepared for packed parking lots on clear days. Gaining 3,100 feet in a little under 4 miles, this hike will challenge you but is balanced out by beautiful views and entertaining woodland animals. A break in the canopy after roughly 5 miles provides your first views dominated by Mount Rainier. This is also the unofficial ‘lunch or turnaround’ spot for many. Look towards the right for stone steps to continue up the bluff that eventually overlooks Snoqualmie Valley, Seattle and the Olympics.

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Kendall Katwalk 
  • Snoqualmie Region 
  • Length: 12 miles, roundtrip 
  • Elevation: 2600ft gain with highest point at 5400ft

Rounding out our list is Kendall Katwalk. If you’re imagining a skinny trail carved out a steeply sloped rock you’re partially right, aside from an old-growth forest that makes up part of the trail. Stunning views of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness adorn both sides of the pass below Kendall Peak where Katwalk begins. A small waterfall partway through the trail alerts you of stream crossings ahead. Good balance and/or trekking poles can help this stream crossing, however be safe. If it feels like too much don’t be afraid to turn back. From there, an open forest provides an ideal campsite sans running water. Stop here or continue through the narrowest portion of the Katwalk for new views of Gold Creek Valley and the peaks of Alpine Lake Wilderness.

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Hike details provided by the Washington Trail Association

By Abiola Akanni

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