This trail is absolutely gorgeous! I highly recommend it! It took my bf and I 1h50 to get to the summit and 1h15 to come back down. Although it is marked as hard if you are in a ok shape you'll be perfectly fine. Lots of switchbacks and a gentle and constant climb, a little steeper at the end but very manageable. I highly recommend microspikes, as it gets icy quickly and people without them were struggling. The view at the top is simply stunning, and lots of grey jays hanging around in search for food. It's my favorite hike so far within 45 min of Seattle, and there are lots of people which I find reassuring if you're climbing solo.
Love this hike. I did it twice in 3 days! Its a steep climb uphill but the views at the top are more than worth it. I went in January and the trail was very icy. I used microspikes which were incredibly helpful (not sure it would have been possible without them). When I did the hike on a Saturday, there were about 10 people at the top while I was there. When I did the hike on a holiday Monday, I was the only one at the top for 30 minutes! It was beautiful.
12/29/16 Loved this trail. It's pretty steep and very icy if you don't have spikes. We didn't and we made it to the top but couldn't do the haystack. Going down was significantly more challenging than going up with the ice. The view at the top is so worth it. There are lots of dogs, including mine, off leash. 8/9 dogs we ran into were, so I wouldn't recommend bringing a dog who is reactive to other dogs. It's pretty crowded even for a Thursday morning, but it's a long enough trail that you don't feel crowded the whole time.
I hiked this last weekend on Christmas Day and it was awesome! Perfect weather and lots of grey jays at the summit. I used yak trax for traction and they worked great. The snow is very compacted and it gets really steep toward the end. Took about 4 hours round trip. It's a difficult hike, but honestly I expected it to be harder. Love this trail!