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Mount Pilchuck Trail

HARD 1195 reviews

Mount Pilchuck Trail is a 6 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: 6.0 miles Elevation Gain: 2,125 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

snow

Dress accordingly and be prepared to cross plenty of mud and snow as late as mid summer. 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
2 days ago

This was a “lost dogs” hike. We didn’t do the whole hike. At about 1.5 miles the owners were hauling ass up the trail because they said the dogs were up past the boulder field. They got loose below so that’s where we were looking. I forgot how beautiful this hike is, even in the rain and fog. I’ll be back, hopefully snow covered.

hiking
icy
rocky
scramble
4 days ago

Arrived to the trail at 10am and finished at 1:30pm. It started out pretty icy so we had microspikes the whole way up but on the way down we took them off for some spots since it had melted a bit. Hiking poles we're really helpful when I didn't havd the spikes on since it was still frequently slippery. Foggy today with no view but still just good to get out and hike- the fire tower was open and nice to have a covered Bench to sit on but the shutters are down so you can't sit inside and look out. The road is certainly very very rough with potholes most of the way up until it becomes paved for the last little bit. Thanks Pilchuck for a good first visit.

hiking
snow
6 days ago

hiking
icy
rocky
scramble
snow
7 days ago

Beautiful hike today! Views of all the mountains. Very icy from start and snow on most of trail to top. Wore spikes whole time but didn’t need poles. Potholes are bad on road up so take it slow!

hiking
icy
snow
7 days ago

One of our favorite hikes, gorgeous day, fantastic views. As always the road is a maze of potholes. You can probably navigate those with a car with reasonable ground clearance, but ... when you clear the pothole sections you’ll soon be into the snow line and the road is snow covered and icy. You can make it up without 4WD or chains but I put my 4Runner into 4WD on the way up. Coming down several people slid off the road into the brush. I had no problems but I kept it in 4WD, low gear, and kept my speed down. So play it smart & you will be ok, be an idiot and you will be in the brush or put your chains on. The trail is in good shape, snow covered most of the way. The first few hundred meters is a sheet of ice. You can pick your way up but spikes highly recommended. I didn’t use my spikes on the ascent but put them on at the summit for the trip down. Again, you can pick your way down without spikes but there are icy stretches and even though the snow was dry it can be slippery, it’s a rocky track, if you go down it is not going to be a pleasant experience. Remember, it’s winter conditions, if you can’t make it down under your own power you better have gear enough to stay warm for 12-24 hours until you can be rescued.

hiking
icy
rocky
scramble
snow
8 days ago

Awesome awesome hike with amazing views, but hikers be prepared. (And drivers too). The road to the trail has a resemblance of the moon with craters everywhere! Higher clearance vehicles and patience will get your there no problem! I drove my 4WD Honda Crosstour and made it just fine! The trail was discouraging at first as it literally was a sheet of ice, looked like we were hiking up a frozen stream. Trust that this is short-lived and passable! Clamp-ons are a good idea but my friend and I only used them on the way down. The rest of the hike is fairly smooth with great views, once you reach the tower it is again jarring as you have some berg fancy footwork to get to the tower. Well worth all the extra effort!

hiking
icy
rocky
snow
10 days ago

Experience: awesome! Weather: 30-40 at start, below zero at top Date: 11/25/2019, light rain at start(0730), foggy/windy/icy at peak(0930), View: foggy/ominous Trail: 1/3-wooded_2/3-rocky_3/3-icy, light layer of snow - going up didn't feel I needed spikes. Going down I had to use my butt as a form of transport - would recommend spikes for the way down. Road: potholes large enough to swallow up a tricycle - need to go slow and you'll make it up no problem. Cleared using a full size sedan, with hardly 5 inches of clearance. Saw a few compact cars at the top as well so it's doable in any vehicle (driver dependent of course). Summary - I almost didn't even attempt this hike due to the reviews regarding the pothole situation on the road to the trailhead. I'm glad they didn't deter me away - the hike was incredible. Challenging, and rewarding even in with low visibility. The fire station lookout at the top is a great spot to get out from the wind - once you crawl into the space as the weather shutters are down during the winter months.

hiking
rocky
11 days ago

Great hike even though there was no view from the lookout. Hiked yesterday and the fog and wind swept in so fast. Still made for a really cool hike. The terrain is incredible. Super rocky hike, and definitely icy. I had my microspikes but didn’t put them on. Found I could navigate around it pretty well. Definitely not a great time for dogs, children, or elderly people with knee issues. The physical output is only moderate but the terrain and icy conditions makes this trail difficult right now. Road was definitely full of potholes on the way up so make sure your car has good clearance! My cross trek made it up fine.

hiking
icy
12 days ago

Hiked this today and trail was very icy for most of it. Our party used microspikes for most of it but we had a dog with us and we spent a lot of the time trying to keep her from sliding off cliffs. We ended up turning back slightly before the end because there was no visibility anyway. Would not recommend bringing dogs right now and if you humans go, definitely bring microspikes.

hiking
13 days ago

I did it today and it was amazing thanks to the beautiful weather (except for the drive to get there as mentionned in previous comment). The trail is easy to follow, some icy bits but did not need to use micro spikes. A must do hike!

hiking
snow
22 days ago

Writing this review now because I’m only finding out about this system recently hah! Mount Pilchuk was a phenomenal hike! Driving up is pretty tough because you need an SUV but after that, the hike was not too bad if you go with a solid group of friends. Once at the top, if you sleep in for sunrise, the view is insane and worth the stay. Before you die, you have to hike up to the top, sleep with your friends, share stories and laugh a little bit. 5/5, can’t wait to do this hike again!

hiking
icy
muddy
rocky
26 days ago

1 month ago

didn't care for the crazy pot holes on the road up and not my favorite scenery, too many rocks and boulders for my liking but still beautiful.

icy
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
icy
rocky
1 month ago

Drive: Horrible, I had a sedan and multiple times I can hear the bottom of the car scratching against the road, how is it that no one fixes the road is beyond me. Hike: Wow! The best hike I ever did. 2/3 of the hike has spectacular views of mount rainier, mount baker, and many more. Steep but manageable. There is a stretch of very icy trail, we saw someone slip and break their wrist unfortunately. Please bring your ice cleats/ spikes with you. Reaching the top requires a bit of climbing at the end of the trail, but it is totally worth it!

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