Mount Si

Mount Si is a hauntingly beautiful mountain with a reputation for offering hikers a dependably great hike. Mount Si’s rocky face watches over North Bend and was featured in the opening credits of the 1990s television series Twin Peaks. The early spring attracts backpackers warming up for the hiking season, and weekend hikers expectantly awaiting scenic views from the top. You may even meet some expedition teams training with 80 pound loads on their backs, but you will most likely not be alone on this hike. It is a popular retreat for outdoor enthusiasts due to its accessibility and its proximity to Seattle, and is often selected over the diminutive Little Si.

©Erika Klimecky

Embark on the trail from the parking lot. Climb gently for about the first mile of the hike. As you climb you’ll find that the lush underbrush is slowly replaced by tall, slender stumps of Douglas fir. Roughly 1.8 miles into the hike the trail flattens to cross Snag Flat, which features a wooden boardwalk and a small interpretative center. The trail climbs steadily after Snag Flat, winding in repeating switchbacks across the mountain’s shoulder. Continue climbing for about 2 more miles to step out into a sun-filled summit basin that is brimming with wildflowers and rocky outcroppings, featuring views of the Cascades and the Eastside. This isn’t the summit of Mount Si, but is the highest that most hikers will climb.

©Erika Klimecky

The true summit is known as the Haystack, a pyramidal rock formation on top of the mountain. Reaching the summit of the Haystack is a feat that only few attempt because it is a tricky and physically demanding scramble, requiring good balance and rock climbing skill. The 360 degree view from Haystack is worth the climb, and you can even write your name and a message to leave in the plastic jar atop the mountain.

Length: 4 Miles one way
Variety: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 3100
Difficulty: Moderate
Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Trail open to: hikers, Dogs
Passes Permits: NW Forest Pass
Facilities at Trail head: Privy
Maps: Green Trails: #174 Mt. Si, #206 Bandera, #206S Mt Si NRCA
USGS: Chester Morse Lake, Mount Si, Lake Philippa

©Erika Klimecky

Driving Directions: from I-90 take exit 32. Turn left to pass over the freeway and drive .5 miles to North Bend Way. Turn left and in .25 miles turn right onto Mount Si Road. Continue along the road for 2.5 miles. The parking lot will be on the left.

 

 

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About the author

Melissa was born and raised in the Northwest and grew up hiking in the Cascades and exploring the wild beaches of the San Juan Islands. Her first backpacking trip was a 10 day trek across the Olympic Mountains, following the Quinault River. During college she spent four months abroad in New Zealand studying writing and backpacking throughout the North and South islands. An avid hiker and outdoorswoman, Melissa is inspired by her outdoor adventures, whether they are bouldering, backpacking, hiking, trail running, scrambling, or simply setting up her hammock in the sun. After graduating from the University of Puget Sound in May 2010 Melissa has begun a career as a freelance writer and juggles painting, poetry, and writing a novel in her spare time.

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