hiking

dogs on leash

lake

Mount Pilchuck State Park is a 1,893-acre day-use park that features mountainous alpine terrain with diverse scenic and recreation attractions. The main recreational attraction of the park is the three-mile trail to the summit and the old fire lookout. The trail begins at 3100 feet above sea level and winds through an old growth forest to alpine heather and large rocks at the summit of Mount Pilchuck (5324 feet above sea level). The hike is strenuous and in the summer can be very crowded. At the top is an incredible panoramic view of the Cascades, Olympics and Puget Sound. The trail is usually covered with snow until midsummer.

Beautiful and fun hike! the hardest part for me was closer to the top where all the rocks and boulders were but other than that definitely doable and so worth it. its a popular hike so definitely prepare for that and be sure to have a parking pass or get one at the station just a few miles before the hike.

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful trail, arrived at 9:45 am on a Saturday and would recommend going a bit earlier. The hike itself gave a great view of the forests and the cascades at some point. Waterproof shoes are a must, the trail became a creek at times. Lots of cute dogs, saw a small avalanche on the far side of the lake (didn’t interfere with the trail.) I recommend a down layer if you’re planning on sitting near the lake at all, the sun doesn’t get into the valley at all due to it rising and setting so far south.

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful hike! Not much to see on the way up but the lake is stunning. Pretty easy if you’re in some sort of shape. Ice and snow when you’re pretty much to the top. Definitely doable without spikes and poles but HIGHLY RECOMMEND waterproof shoes and layers for up tops. The sun didn’t breach the ridge line so the whole lake was shaded the entire day. We got to trailhead at 9:15 and there weren’t too many people but trail was definitely crowded on our way back down. Would not recommend going on ice.

Such a nice hike! I packed extra layers & I’m so glad I did. They were needed at the top, once you stop moving it gets really cold, but the view is worth it!

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful day with our friends on this winter hike. We definitely needed our Yak Tracks for the snow at the top! Gortex boots made the stream crossing simple.

hiking
4 days ago

We went on 1/11/19. Definitely need waterproof shoes on this one. You have to cross through quite a bit of water, not deep water. We didn’t have Microspikes and we were fine. I used trekking poles once we got to the icey part of the trail. When you get to the lake it is vey beautiful. The lake was almost completely frozen over. We had lunch at the top and it was very cold just sitting there. Hiking warmed you up, but when you stood still for too long it got cold fast. We did the loop around the lake and the snow was deeper there. Worth it to see all the angles of the lake. At the end my Fitbit said 5.50 miles. And yes, just like everyone else said the pot holes are bad on the way to the trail head. Just take your time driving and you’ll be fine. We saw all kinds of little cars that made it too.

5 days ago

This is one of those hikes I could do and never get tired of. I only do this one in the winter for the scenery.

Climbed this one in the winter. Definitely need a 4x4 and snow chains to make it to the TH. Recommended to have knowledge of avalanche safety for the winter route, as there are 3-4 hazardous areas of crossing. Overall, a fair bank for your buck.

snowshoeing
5 days ago

First off as everyone mentioned, the road is in pretty rough shape. I wound up parking at the turn to Ashland Lakes and walked up due to the snow this morning, added like 30 minutes each way. The trail is a good solid moderate but today with the snowshoes for the upper half it rated a hard. The lake is nice, but the better mountain views are on the way up.

hiking
9 days ago

Cel

Went up to the lake it was amazing. Went on Monday 01/07/19. Need water proof shoe's for sure and layers of cloth's to keep warm very cold at lake but well worth the trip.

Beautiful trail to hike in the winter! We went today on 1-6-19, it took about 3 hours for us to hike the trail (which included some breaks for pictures). There was some snow on the trail leading up to the lake, we brought microspikes in case but didn’t need them, it was mostly just wet (bring waterproof shoes!!). Once you reach the lake you feel like you are in a winter wonderland, it truly was stunning! Potholes galore on the road just before the trail head, please drive slowly and bring a high clearance vehicle if you can!

Trail is in good condition for winter, there are muddy and wet places but overall solid. The snow only starts about an 1/8th of mile from the lake but there are some slick, icy spots. Poles and micro spikes can't hurt but most people were fine without.

hiking
15 days ago

The bridges we icy, not a lot of snow till about a mile or so from the top. There are parts of the trail that are steep and icy with not a lot of branches to grab onto. The lake is pretty much frozen.. but please do NOT GO OUT ONTO THE LAKE. I had a group ask me if it would be okay to walk on the lake and I expressed how dangerous it would be.. they ended up beating me up there and they were sure enough on the lake. Just hanging out taking selfies.... I am sad the say that that was the first of 3 groups of people that I saw on the lake that day. After the first group I saw and heard the ice brake. I heard the 2nd group talking about the noise the ice was making while they were on it and they stayed on it. The 3rd group decided to go on the ice that the 1st group broke. I don't think that they listened to me when I told them as much....Please be safe...set a good example for everyone on the trail.

Icy but beautiful!

15 days ago

went approximately 2 days ago! greatt hike although very tricky. 1st bridge was very slippery. should bring spikes with you. quite a few icey spots through the whole hike. and freezing up at the top. my father fell and ended up breaking his leg on the first bridge. so be very cautious! if someone can take pictures of the hole in the bride that would be very appreciated to warn others! I definitely prefer this in the Summer.

As mentioned in the previous reviews, the road leading to the trailhead parking has some big potholes. The trailhead was fairly packed by the time we reached there around 11 AM. The trail is rocky, muddy and icy. Microspikes definitely help in the last 1 mile of this hike as some areas had ice on rocks which was tricky to pass through. Took us 2 hours for whole hike including staying there up there for a couple of minutes and doing the loop around the lake. Overall, a really good hike. The lake looks beautiful!

hiking
16 days ago

Beautiful hike! Just some notes for people going there in the following days:
Parking lot was packed (go early)
Toilet paper out at the trailhead’s toilets: bring your own
Trail is extremely wet: waterproof boots
The first bridge is extremely slippery: caution+poles
Some trees down, most easy to bypass, one we had to go under and it was not fun.
If you make it to the end, do not skip the loop around the lake! It’s SO worth it!

A perfect day to start off the New Year 2019, gorgeous views, perfect day to hike...conditions were awesome.

hiking
17 days ago

New Year's Eve and the trail was still crowded. That's what blue skies in December does. Trail was quite slippery, especially the wooden bridges. However it was largely snow free until just before the lake. Scenery, gorgeous throughout, with classic old growth on the way up and icy natural art at the top.

18 days ago

Really awesome hike. I started in the rain in a very old growth forest. By the time you reach the lake you’re in a foot of snow which the trail is compact so no need to worry. I feel like I shouldn’t need to comment this but after seeing some people on the trail with Nike’s and Converse shoes....This is the PNW you should wear waterproof shoes (I think their feet were a little damp by the end)

Great Hike! my wife and I made our 3rd trip on 12.27.18. Beautiful day. Some snow on the boulder field, and packed trail snow. we did not use or need special footwear other than water resistant boots. we didnt bother doing the lake loop at the top. but the trail was visible and accessible.

I thought this was a great hike. the elevation wasnt brutal and the views were beautiful. we walked all the way around the lake and finally realized we were walking over an avalanche. I fell through the snow and got a good bruise on my shin from a boulder. Was snowing at the top and very wet.

hiking
25 days ago

We did this hike on 12/22 and started at around 10:30 AM. The lower gate was open but the second gate was closed. We were the only car parked at the second gate and could tell from the foot prints that there were only two other people in front of us going up the road. The snow starts on the road about mid way between the first and second gate and covers the ground all the way up to the top.

The hike itself is great. Fresh deep powder all the way up. Beautiful scenes the entire way. It is cold though you will need good winter/snow gear.

When we arrived at the top we found the tower was boarded up and closed. There was a small opening at the bottom of the door so we crawled in and found the other two people that had went up that day. They told us that earlier in the morning the lower gate had been closed as well so they had to make the climb from the Heather Lake parking area.

The top was beautiful but very windy and quite cold so be prepared.

hiking
25 days ago

Got on the trail this morning at 8:30, saw only a half dozen people on the way up. Waterproof shoes required if you are doing this in the winter as there are quite a few creek/run off crossing. (I did not need spikes despite the snowy/slushy conditions) Not to mention the fact that most of the trail is under an inch or two of water the whole way up. There are a lot of waterfalls along the lower half of the trail to check out. About 1/2 way up, rain turned to snow and there was about 4-6 inches of snow at the lake. I didn’t do the whole loop because as soon as I got to the lake, I could see and hear an avalanche on the far side of the lake where the loop goes through. Found a spot on the lake and took a 30 minute lunch with my dog to take in the beautiful. scenery. Got back down to the trail head at noon with water logged shoes. Tracked 5.8 miles in 3.5 hours with lots of photo stops and a lunch break. Rated only moderate because of the slippery rocks, slushy conditions, and water crossings.

hiking
25 days ago

Got on the trail this morning at 8:30, saw only a half dozen people on the way up. Waterproof shoes required if you are doing this in the winter as there are quite a few creek/run off crossing. Not to mention the fact that most of the trail is under an inch or two of water the whole way up. There are a lot of waterfalls along the lower half of the trail to check out. About 1/2 way up, rain turned to snow and there was about 4-6 inches of snow at the lake. I didn’t do the whole loop because as soon as I got to the lake, I could see and hear an avalanche on the far side of the lake where the loop goes through. Found a spot on the lake and took a 30 minute lunch with my dog to take in the beautiful. scenery. Got back down to the trail head at noon with water logged shoes. Tracked 5.8 miles in 3.5 hours with lots of photo stops and a lunch break. Rated only moderate because of the slippery rocks, slushy conditions, and water crossings.

hiking
1 month ago

Today, December 12th, was my second time hiking this trail. The first time was in July, and I must say that I enjoyed the hike even more today! Saw 90% less hikers, the views were stunning, there was lots of snow in the lake, and way more water flowing down the trail. My regular hiking shows were pretty good for the adventure. The rain and snow just made it more exciting.

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked up lake 22 on 12/5.

Many parts of the trail was icy. It would be helpful to have spikes.we brought our spikes, but we didn't use them. However, it would have been a lot easier to go up and down certain parts had we had spikes on. The snow around the lake is absolutely beautiful. We walked around the lake, and the snow on a trail was packed.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked to lake 22 today knowing that it is a very popular hike we thought a mid week hike would deter a lot of people. Well we were wrong. We arrived just before 9 and there was only 2 other cars in the parking lot. But on the way back down we ran in to everyone. I was a little underwhelmed by the hike after hearing all the hype. There is about 8 inches of snow once you hit the lake but since it has been so nice out for the past few days the snow is iced over and very compact. Did come across a few places that you had to watch your step because of water frozen over on the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a nice trail, but very heavily trafficked (at least on weekends)
If it's not foggy, you can have a clear view of the valley somewhere near the lake. A lot of moss, a few waterfalls and river streams to cross, typical PNW landscape.

The lake is nice, was snowy when we went (Dec. 2nd).

We did this hike on Sunday 12/2 between 10am-2pm, the actual road to the hike was uphill and lots of potholes in the beginning but it does get better and turn into an actual road closer to the top of the trail. Snow on the entire trail, gets a bit deeper closer to the top about 1 inch of snow. Not very crowded, saw more people as we were coming down than going up. The last section of the hike is like a mini rock climb to get to the tower you have to climb up some rocks and then climb the ladder to the tower, bring good snow gear if you plan on going to the very top at this time very cold and icy! Great hike overall, one of our favorites. Bring northwest forest pass!!

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