Hike of the week: THUNDER KNOB

Hike description: Thunder Knob is another of the wonderful low elevation, family-friendly hikes we have in the northwest corner of the Evergreen State. Load up the family - kids, pets and all and head out to this lofty spot above Diablo Lake and its Thunder Arm and the Skagit River. And, don't forget the mountain peaks across the water and in the far distance. Three viewpoints with benches offer opportunities for soak up the scenery. Plan a three-course lunch, with something to much at each viewpoint.

From the trailhead by the entrance to the north section of the Colonial Creek Campground, walk through the campground, taking in the obvious impact of the creek deciding to change course in 2003. Large logs bridge the creek channels with another bridge spanning the original creek bed further on. Though the trail is close to the highway in about 1 mile you will notice that the sounds of traffic have faded away. This is not a long trail in terms of distance, nor does it demand a lot of you in terms of elevation gain. The vistas are grand and breathtaking. Only when everyone has had their fill should you turn and head back down the trail to other adventures.

Directions: On the North Cascades Highway, Highway 20, drive 24 miles east from Marblemount to the Colonial Creek Campground. Just past milepost 130 you will turn left into Colonial Creek Campground. You’ll find the trailhead parking to the right of the entrance.

Difficulty rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 5 is most difficult) Miles round-trip: 3.8 Elevation: 425 feet Best time of year: Year-round Map: Green Trails Diablo No. 48 Pass: There is no entrance fee for the North Cascades National Park Service Complex

Also: The guidebook suggests that this trail is wheelchair accessible but it is not paved so wheelchair accessibility is problematic. Water and toilet facilities are available at the campground through mid October. The lakefront campsites at Colonial Creek Campground are open all year round but with no water, no services and no fee. Traffic on the trail will be lower during campground off peak season.

Info: North Cascades National Park Service Complex, for current trail and road conditions: www.nps.gov/noca, 360-854-7200; “Best Hikes with Kids Western Washington and the Cascades,” “Day Hiking North Cascades,” both Mountaineers Books.

Hike of the Week is presented by The Mountaineers Tacoma Branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee. For other hikes, visit www.thenewstribune.com/hiking.