Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally his thoughts on life.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Hiking Big Si, North Bend, Washington

Mt. Si is probably the most popular hike to do near Seattle, Washington. Akin to Phoenix's Camelback Mountain, it's popularity stems from it's proximity to the city, the difficulty, and the time required to complete it. Parking is a bit tough on the weekends, but if you make it up the mountain, you'll be rewarded with beautiful views of the valley. That is, if the clouds let up.

Trail Description
Length: 7.5-8.0 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 3277 feet
Difficulty Assessment: Moderate
Trail Type: Out and Back
Dog Friendly - Must be leashed

Discover Pass required to park
Official Site: http://discoverpass.wa.gov/
You can buy it at various vendors. Annual is around $30, day pass is I think $10.


From I-90E, take exit 32 and head north on 436th Ave SE. When you hit SE North Bend Way, make a left and turn right onto SE Mt. Si Rd. After crossing the metal bridge, you'll pass by two parking lots. Those are the lots for Small Si. Ignore those. Drive for a few more miles down the street and eventually you'll come to the large parking lot. There are so many signs that you shouldn't miss it. The entrance to the lot should be between 464th Ave SE and 461th. Alternatively, you can just Google "Mt Si Hike" and you'll find it.

Parking is not as difficult as it is at Little Si. Mostly because the lot is much larger.

The Hike

The Mt. Si trail is incredibly well maintained and any concerns about getting lost on this hike should be put to rest.

At the parking lot, you'll find water, bathroom, trashcans, and a giant map. Be warned however, although the bathroom is developed, it's not very well ventilated.

Regardless of when you start, you'll probably run into people on the trail. According to WTA, Mt Si is hiked by upwards of 100,000 people each year. Some people even use the trail to train for Rainier, hiking up the trail in full gear.

The hike can be summed up very briefly: it ramps up very quickly in the beginning, there's a lot of switchbacks, and its very beautiful. Whether it's the forests you're walking through, or the views up top, there's a lot to enjoy if you're a fan of the outdoors.

In time, you'll find yourself appear from the bushes to the "top" of Mt. Si. This is where most people will stop, relax, and have their lunch. In reality, this is not the true peak. The Haystack is the true peak of Mt. Si. However, most people will stop right before the Haystack. So consider the Haystack if you have the time!

For more information on the hike, please see:

1) WTA - Mount Si
2) AllTrails - Mount Si
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