Hike description: If you want solitude and you are choosing between Mount Si and another hike, do the other hike.
Mount Si is one of the most popular trails in the Northwest because it is close to a major city, is challenging and has a view from the top that includes Mount Rainier and the Snoqualmie Valley.
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If you don’t like busy trails, this is not the place to be on weekends. But if you are looking for a serious spring workout, Si is tough to beat.
You’ll see everybody from fine-tuned athletes to jeans-wearing novices. For some, this is a training hill. For others, it is their Mount Rainier.
Almost every step is uphill, as the trail to the top climbs about 3,200 feet in 4 miles. The trail travels among the trees, saving dynamic views as a reward for those who make it to the top.
A short scramble over boulders at the top of the trail provides the best view. Some hikers choose to continue on to scale the steep, rocky outcropping known as Haystack. This is not for the faint of heart or for those who aren’t sure-footed. On my most recent visit, I was fortunate to have Haystack almost all to myself, even after seeing numerous hikers on the trail. I shared the rocky slope with a small mountain goat.
In addition to watching their steps, Haystack scramblers should stay alert for rocks knocked loose by people higher on the slope. It should be noted, for those debating if they should attempt the scramble to Si’s true summit, the view isn’t considerably different atop Haystack.
Directions: From Interstate 90 in North Bend, take Exit 32 and turn north to cross over the freeway on 436th Avenue. After 0.5 miles, turn left on North Bend Way, then right on Mount Si Road. Parking can be found on the left after about 2.5 miles.
Difficulty rating: 5 (5 is most difficult, 1 is easiest).
Miles round trip: 8.
Elevation gain: 3,200 feet.
Best time of the year: Late April-November.
Map: Green Trails 174: Mount Si.
Pass: Discover Pass.
Also: Microspikes are recommended in the spring, because there is likely to be ice and snow near the summit. If Mount Si seems too daunting, the considerably easier Little Si trail is next door. There are other options. A vault toilet is located at the trailhead. Visitors are reminded to take steps to minimize their impact on this popular trail. It is considered polite to yield to uphill hikers. Don’t even think of trying to get away without using a parking pass. The lots are heavily patrolled. Dogs on leashes are permitted and must be cleaned up after. There are geocaches in the area, according to geocaching.com.