Mount Pilchuck Trail

HARD 537 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

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
27 minutes 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
2 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.

3 days ago

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

hiking
3 days ago

Bugs

4 days ago

Love it beautiful views a little bit crowded but is worth the effort

hiking
6 days ago

Unbelievable views! We went early and didn’t run into too many people. I really didn’t think the snow was too terrible to cross over but the bugs were insane! Definitely will be prepared for those next time. I didn’t bring my dog and glad about that. The rocks at the top are not dog friendly :)

hiking
6 days ago

Great hike as always! Would have enjoyed it more if less people were there.

7 days ago

Definitely a good amount of snow still on the trail (7/14), makes going down pretty slippery. Hard but great! For me, 1:40 up, 1:40 down. Go early because it got busy quick. And bring bug spray.

7 days ago

This hike was gorgeous! Multiple types of terrain the whole way up. You hit snow around the mile marker- it is slightly slushy, so if you aren’t stable on your feet, I recommend trekking poles. I did without and was careful, all went well. There is quite a bit of bouldering, mainly towards the top of the hike. But boy are the views worth it! Loved that the fire look out had maps of what you could see from the distance. Note to all wanting to do this hike- bring bug spray! I reapplied 2 times because bugs were so bad.

8 days ago

Couldn’t ask for a better day. Gorgeous views and a moderate challenge. Not too crowded. Move fast to avoid the flies. Road up could use some tlc but nothing a little tactical swerving can’t get around. Dog loved the snow

9 days ago

Hard work but amazing views! Still a lot of snow for the last mile or so, and bugs bugs bugs bugs! I wouldn't
hike this trail with small dogs unless you're prepared to carry them across the boulder fields near the top. But bigger experienced hiking dogs will be fine!

hiking
11 days ago

hard but amazing 360°views!

hiking
11 days ago

Best view!

16 days ago

Lots of snow! And lots of bugs!! Great push to the top!

hiking
16 days ago

As of July 2018, there is still lots of snow on the trail, starting about halfway into the hike. The more open/snowfield section before the final ascent to the peak is the most difficult part of the hike, with lots of slushy-slick snow and a hard-to-follow trail. Hikers were approaching the peak from multiple points; some were losing the trail completely and giving up. Just follow the orange posts and other footprints and you should be able to find a manageable way to the top. The views from the top are well worth it! Hiking back down in the snow was harder than the climb up due to slick footing. There are a few areas where your best bet is to just let yourself slide, because you will likely fall down anyway. The mosquitoes are also really bad right now -- they'll swarm you every time you stop moving, so be prepared with bug spray or protective clothing. Trek poles and good, sturdy, closed-toe shoes also highly recommended. Crampons would be ideal -- if you have them, bring them!

hiking
18 days ago

The first 5 miles of the road you could lose a smart car in some of the potholes and the last 2 miles are paved. Parts of the trail looked like a creek and decided to run down it. At 1.5 miles we ran into snow and once you are in the snow you are surrounded by snow (not patches). We were reliant of others footsteps to know where to go. Once at the top there is lots and lots of snow. We decided to take the fun way down by sliding on our butts 'til we got our of the snow.

27 days ago

Make sure you have a snow Gear. There is still Plenty of snow out there. Took us 4 hrs to get to top and 3 hrs to get down. It’s was a extremely difficult hike but the view is worth it.

hiking
27 days ago

Great hike! We had a lot of fun despite losing the trail a few times due to the snow, had to use a GPS to find our way back to the actual trail. It was pretty slippery- we saw people in tennis shoes (not recommended) . Also I do not recommend this hike for dogs maybe when there’s less snow fall. The view was amazing from the top!

29 days ago

Amazing! And hard. Make sure to go in summer when huckleberries are out - out won’t have to bring lunch! And you can sleep in lookout tower at top if you want. Requires a little bouldering at end - I wouldn’t plan on summiting with a pup

hiking
1 month ago

Access road is closed at the Heather Lake trailhead. This adds an additional 4-5 miles to get to the trailhead.

Giving 4 stars because we didn't even attempt it so why screw with the ratings. Heather Lake was a nice detour.

hiking
1 month ago

definitely coming here again!

hiking
2 months ago

You’ll have to walk 6 miles to trailhead from Heather Lake TH due to road blockage. It was too much for me to take on the additional trek and turned around at 4 miles. Some snow at mile 4 on the road. There were some epic waterfalls along the way though. I’ll have to come a little later in the year when they open the access road back up.

2 months ago

Trail is currently closed. We ended up doing Heather Lake instead.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this trail with my uncle when I was 10 yrs old. Instilled in me a love for hiking and the outdoors. Great panoramic view from the summit on clear days!

2 months ago

Hiked this trail late April of 2017. This was fairly challenging but well worth it.

The trail varied from well marked and groomed, to minimal markings in the rocky areas. I had to read through reviews ahead of time (glad i did) to get a sense of how to navigate the rocky portions.

There were several vistas that provided an opportunity to stop and rest while enjoying the view.

I would recommend taking this hike early in the morning because towards the afternoon it gets dark on the way down. the entire hike including a 45 min lunch at the top took me about 5-6 hours at a steady pace.

The fire tower at the top was great. Plenty of room despite the 10-15 other hikers I met up there.

Well worth the hard work to get to the top. but I would plan a whole day so you don't have to rush.

4 months ago

Hard but worth it

hiking
5 months ago

I went in November and trail didn't have snow till half way up.we didn't have right shoes or microspike but we able to go the top and great view!

5 months ago

Road to the trail head is closed for the season at Heather Lake trail head, be prepared to hike an additional 5 miles up the road to Mt pilchuck’s trail head.

hiking
5 months ago

One of my husband's and I's favorites!

koo koo machoo

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