Mount Pilchuck Trail

HARD 590 reviews

Mount Pilchuck Trail is a 4.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Granite Falls, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,125 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

bugs

rocky

scramble

snow

As of June 2018, please note there is still snow on the trail. Dress accordingly and be prepared to cross plenty of mud and snow. The Road at Heather Lake was closed, but should now be open. Please check with park ahead of time. Mount Pilchuck Trail is a challenging hike to a old fire lookout tower at the top the mountain that offers panoramic views. The trailhead is located within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in the North Cascades area of Washington State off of Mountain Loop Highway. The hiking trail itself is in Mount Pilchuck State Park. The trail is well maintained and there's a fantastic change in scenery as you ascend up the mountain, starting with lush/old growth forests at the beginning and then transcending into arid/rocky overlooks towards the top. The terrain can be rough and requires good balance to navigate the rocky pathway. From the top of the lookout tower there are great views of Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, the Puget Sound, and the Olympics. This popular hike is one of the busiest trails in the area so expect to see others. Arrive at the trailhead early to secure a parking spot. The final stretch of road leading to the trailhead is in very rough shape. The last few miles are comprised of crushed stone/dirt and contains potholes throughout.

hiking
5 minutes ago

Rocky trail. At first I was looking at the data and wondering why this trail was rated as hard, but it all made sense because of the extremely rocky trail starting at 1 mile from the trailhead. However, the view at the top made it all worthy. We camped near the lookout (it was soooo crowded), and watched the Perseid Meteor Shower!

There was a little stream at 4347 ft, and also a lake on the north side with some distance which was not easily accessible. Otherwise there was no water after you get started on the rocks, so bring enough water on hot days.

hiking
4 hours ago

This hike is awesomely hard and rocky. Even though the views today were obliterated by smoke from the wildfires (we accidentally missed the media's warning to avoid strenuous outdoor activity), the gorgeous and dynamic rock formations made the effort worth it. We did not see as many people or bugs as previously reported, probably a positive side effect of the smoke. For dog owners: I would recommend this hike to dogs that are used to hiking on rockfaces and unstable surfaces. Our jack russell terrier made it up the mountain like a champ, except we did not take him on the final rock scramble because the rocks were too big and slippery for him to gain the appropriate traction. On a clear day, I can imagine the view from the top is breathtaking.

hiking
2 days ago

This hike was exhilarating! I highly recommend everyone try it at least once. We went on August 12, which was a little overcast. Check the weather before you go so that you hike on a day to meet your expectations. An overcast day keeps you cooler, but you will miss some of the views. Overcast worked for me, as I skipped some of the trails the closer we got to the top. For an extra challenge try some boulder jumping. This was an amazing experience!

3 days ago

Oh sweet Jesus this was challenging! Mostly because it was so hot! Went on Wed Aug 8 and it HOT! But what a beautiful hike and views at the top we’re worth it... I went alone but in hindsight might have been good to have company... I appreciated the meditative time with nature.. Enjoy!

hiking
4 days ago

The intensity level reflects what is stated on the site, HARD. I’m new to hiking and this hike was very rigorous and exhausting. I’m not in the best shape and I have asthma so I took many breaks on my way up. My legs started giving up once I was almost at the lookout but a group of hikers let me borrow their trekking pole. You definitely meet nice people when hiking :)

Tips:
- Bring bug spray, you don’t really feel the mosquitos and flies unless you stop.
- Drive VERY carefully on the last 6 miles before arriving at the parking lot as the dirt/gravel road is filled with a lot of potholes.
- Wear hiking shoes as you are walking over LOTS of rocks.
- You need a parking permit (Northwest Forest Pass), which you can purchase at Verlot Public Service Center for $5.
- Bring plenty of water and a snack.
- Take breaks as needed.

hiking
7 days ago

Aug 6,2018. Another wonderful day with nature. But the road going there was awful, it was like crater in the moon! So drive safely. And don’t forget to bring bugspray, you’ll thank me later. Lol.

As always, view at the top is breathtaking. But definitely not for beginners.

7 days ago

I love this hike for the amazing work out and AMAZING view at the top but there are a couple things to know:

1)The potholes on the road were awful! Enormous potholes everywhere so you have to drive pretty slowly and carefully which takes quite a while.

2) The mosquitos were REALLY BAD! Bring bug spray for sure! They are swarming everywhere, even at the top! Flies were pretty dense too but avoid mosquito bites and bring some spray!

8 days ago

NOT A BEGINNERS HIKE!!! Beautiful exciting views all the way up. Definitely a leg burner

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful!! I’m a fairly experienced hiker but this is one of the tougher ones I’ve done. We went at dusk and ended up having to hike back at dark with a little one on our backs which made it feel a lot more intimidating. The scramble at the top is no joke but is completely doable. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking.

hiking
9 days ago

Was here a few days ago. The road to the trailhead is very poor, lots of potholes that took a bit to maneuver in my little car (others with trucks and 4WDs flew by with no issue however). The trail was actually fairly easy to follow with orange signposts along the way, however if you’re not paying attention it would be pretty easy to take a wrong turn and wind up going the wrong way so be alert. I wore bug repellent and had no issues. It was a beautiful trail, only a few people up the top when I summited ~10am however passed many groups on their way up when I was descending so if you want a quiet trail best to go in the morning I would say.

11 days ago

Cool Misty day, bugs were not a problem. The road going up was!! Dirt road for first 4.7 miles. In about the worst condition l have seen a popular Forest Service road. Then paved the last 1.8 miles with one 15 foot dirt path with about a 4 to 6 inch drop. Trail was as expected with about 4 short snow patches. Got to have good knees.

hiking
14 days ago

Last did this hike in 1977, Wonderful views. Going back this year.

hiking
16 days ago

One of the best hikes i've had all summer. Do not underestimate this trail, you will need to pace yourself. As far as the view, second to none. It was well worth the couple hour hike. Down side is the bugs, stop and you get eaten.

hiking
16 days ago

The trail starts out moderately easy and then gets difficult... lots of rocky terrain with amazing views all along the way. Took about 2 hours to get up the trail and 1 hour to come back down. Keep in mind you will literally be climbing your way to the top of the mountain. We took our corgi and he made it up all the way :) it’s best if you get there around 7am to avoid the heat and the crowds. Bring lots of bug repellent!

hiking
17 days ago

I definitely underestimated this hike, but the bugs are what ruined it for me. Every time I stopped to catch my breath I got swarmed, maybe next time I go I'll leave in the morning on a weekday so there's less people as well. Great views though..

17 days ago

Great for a rocky hike with awestruck views of the cascade from the lookout post at the summit. The trail is close to 6 miles and has a lot of bugs/mosquitoes. Recommend wearing long sleeves and doing the hike as early as possible. Carry lots of water.

17 days ago

Definitely earns it's hard rating! Took me 4 hours, that's with a generous pitstop in the tower. Would estimate 2 1/2 to 3 hours for the avg hiker. Lots of scrambling over rocks!!

hiking
17 days ago

Good views. Really rocky. Hiking shoes recommended. Steady climb to the top then some rock scrambling to get to the lookout. Nice place to camp or hang a hammock on the ridge left of the lookout

18 days ago

July 22, 2018: Short huff'n'puff to some amazing views!

Get to the TH early it fills up fast; a little before nine and it was already half full. Road is bumpy but doable in just a car.

The snow is basically all gone, and the trail is pretty straightforward. On a nice weekend expect the trail to be very busy, making for an awkward boulder and ladder climb to get to the lookout.

Volunteers were doing maintenance on the lookout resulting in 1/4 of the catwalk closed, but there are other places to go around the summit.

hiking
18 days ago

Such a perfect day for a hike. It was so clear when we made it to the top. No snow on the ground but 3-4 muddy spots that are easy to get around. Not too many people on the trail so we had to lookout to ourselves for a while. My only complaint... SO MANY BUGS! Any time we stopped to take photos we got eaten alive.

20 days ago

perfect day for it. one of my favorite hikes! no snow on trail, only a few little wet spots. no animals except for copious bugs at the summit. Rainier was out, but not quite Adams or Helens. the road up from the highway takes about 30 minutes to get to the trailhead - lots of large potholes.

hiking
21 days ago

Muchas rocas al final de la caminata, pero nada imposible subimos con mi bebé de ocho meses todo fue posible.

21 days ago

great workout. beautiful view. must stay hydrated.

23 days ago

Classic northwest trail - not much water

Well worth the 2188 feet elevation gain. Rough in some areas so make sure your shoe souls are durable (or just have hiking shoes) as you will be climbing a lot or rocks and trees. A lot easier and faster on the way down but take a deep breath at the top and enjoy the 360 degree view.

23 days ago

Great hike. Challenging, but worth it.

hiking
23 days ago

Great views! Challenging but fun hike!
The bugs were annoying but didn’t really bite and we didn’t use any repellent.
However, can we discuss the bumpy road to get to the trailhead? 3 miles of carsiiick! Omg!

The top was worth it! Do it :)

hiking
26 days ago

Beautiful hike. We were a bit leery about heading out given all the bug reports. We came prepared with Repellent and while we used it, the bugs weren’t that bad. They were mostly at the very top and a bit worse on our way down. I’m glad we didn’t let them keep us away.

The trail is very rocky so I definitely recommend hiking boots. There is also quite a bit of water on the trail in places so plan accordingly with waterproof shoes.

We logged 5.6 miles on my Garmin vs. the 4.x listed on the trail summary. We stuck to the main trail so not sure where the discrepancy is coming from.

Enjoy the hike! Worth it.

27 days ago

Great quick hike. Absolutely beautiful day and not too many hikers.
Up and down in 2:04.

hiking
27 days ago

Bugs

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