If you live anywhere in east of Seattle, Snoqualmie Pass is your ticket to freedom. A short drive away and you’re free of the city to discover unbelievable mountain peaks, wildflowers, fresh air, and sweeping vistas.
The best peaks are worth working for, unmarked trailheads, potholed dirt roads, and steep jagged cliffs will make your after-hike beer the best you’ve ever had. Each hike has its rewards, and they’re always changing from season to season and from rainstorm to clear sunny day. They’ll leave you with stories to tell and fond memories. You’ll get addicted to the great outdoors and reap the physical and emotional benefits from living in one of the most incredible places in the world.
Washington’s Cascade Mountains are snow-covered and often unpassable for much of the year leaving a short hiking season peppered with stunning wildflowers.
Bandera Mountain Summit, this is a tough one, but if you’re up for the challenge, you won’t regret it. Bandera is a hiker’s favorite, and once you hike it, it may spoil you for all others. The road to the trailhead has a few miles of potholes, drive slowly and expect it to be slow going. Bandera is eight miles there and back. Throughout the hike, you’ll traverse deep green mountainsides with colorful wildflowers lining your way.
During the last bit, you’ll be on all fours scrambling up some very intense boulders. At the top you won’t be disappointed, the mountain peak views are to die for. Little Bandera has the best viewpoint, this is where most hikers turn around, it’s a false ending, but the best views can be found here. If you continue up past this peak is just for fun through more forest until the actual end.
Check out these fantastic hiker photos, and you’ll head for your car in ten minutes.
Kaleetan Peak is a mountain peak in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, expect a full day of hiking to this twelve-mile summit with 4,800 feet of elevation gain. It’ll take you ten hours or more, so plan to come early and leave late. Sweeping views of rocky ridgetops and jagged toothed mountains are there to greet you at the top. This challenging path is part hike, part scramble. At times you’ll be on all fours hoisting yourself up boulders and rubble, but views at the top are worth the work. Jagged toothed mountains rise above sweeping valleys with crystal mountain lakes and soft, green trees in the distance.
Mount Defiance is an eleven-mile hike full of steep, narrow trails with more than a 3,500-foot incline and sheer drop-offs earning this trail has a rating of difficult. Spectacular wildflowers make it unforgettable. The summit is vertical and climbing, but worth it at the top with views of a dozen peaks including Mount Rainer and several crisp mountain lakes sprinkled throughout. Don’t forget your bug spray.
Kachess Lake, you don’t have to be a hard-core hiker to appreciate the great outdoors. Kachess Lake has a quick one-mile trail that will bring you almost as much joy. It’s a popular snowshoeing spot in the winter and walking in the summer. This lovely mountain lagoon is worth a walk and a dip on a sunny day.
Annette Lake, this one has everything you need in a great hike, waterfalls, wildflowers, mountain peak views, creeks, and forests all culminating at a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by evergreens. This seven-and-a-half-mile hike has a steady incline, as you follow along a babbling brook that turns into a beautiful trailside waterfall. It’ll take several hours, and you’ll love every minute of it.
Granite Mountain you will find heaven eight and a half miles up on top of Granite Mountain. It’s not a hike for the beginner or the out of shape. The trail climbs 3,800 feet and at times can be like a boulder stair climber. The views will leave you raving. This hike is recommended for late summer, during the winter or early spring it has high avalanche warnings. The trail takes you up and up until you come across wildflower meadows and mountain top views of Mount Rainer and a dozen other peaks.
Be sure always to come prepared, bring lots of water, food, never leave the beaten path, and make sure to check for inclement weather. Rain gear and a few layers are a must even in August. Weather in the mountains can turn on a dime, and if you come prepared for anything, you’ll have the best experiences of your life.