Explore the most popular walking trails near Granite Falls with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
5 days ago

Agree with previous review. It's a medium-hardness hike. Mailbox was a ton more strenuous.

My first time hiking this mountain and it’s not that hard at all compare to MailBox. Amazing View, I definitely go back again when it’s sunny.

Driving all the way up to Mt PilChuck Parking lot was Nuts a lot of holes.
Get there early parking lot gets pack right away.


HAVE FUN

Very nice trail with great views. It was foggy and cold at the lookout. Plenty of Yummy huckleberries along the way! The round trip hike is exactly 6 miles not 4.8 miles that is listed here...

Beautiful trail enjoyed while I carried a two month old and my husband carried our two year old. Flat in the beginning on a gravel trail/boardwalk, several bridges over streams. Fairly easy hike up with about 200’ gain and beautiful view of the mountain, waterfall, and caves once you reach the top. The rangers at the top were very nice and available to answer questions. On the way back down stopped to let the toddler throw some rocks in the river. We will be back! Note that you need a NW Forest pass to park and the kiosk at the trailhead is not currently operational so stop at the Verlot ranger station on the way for a pass.

Excellent hike. Definitely moderate grade with lots of roots and boulders to navigate. Get there early.

Found this hike on accident. I went on a Tuesday so there was no body the whole time! the lake was beautiful and the trail was very easy to stay on!

hiking
10 days ago

Great did with dog and friend I had to take like five breaks going up but worth it for gorgeous views

hiking
10 days ago

This is a great short hike that is on the easier side of moderate. Really cool view at the top with the lake surrounded by mountain peaks! Lake 22 is cooler in my opinion, but Heather lake is an easier and quicker hike that is less trafficked.

Challenging and beautiful hike. The scramble at the top is a bit daunting, but totally worth the view you experience. Took us 3.5 hours total (2 hours up, 1.5 hours down). As everyone else says, the road up to the trailhead is pretty crappy. Not sure why they don't fill in those massive potholes. Made it up okay in a lowered golf though. Will be back again for sure!

backpacking
13 days ago

A 50 lbs pack on this hike was a real leg burner but worth it. We camped 2 nights and 3 days. The downside is that we got stuck in a constant rain+wind storm for 2 days and couldn’t see more than 30 feet in front of us. The the views were of a gray cloud that we were stuck in. Upside, bears and bugs don’t like that weather so no run in’s, ha. I have an inReach Garmin and kept holding onto hope for Monday, our last morning, since the weather report kept updating at 0% chance rain. It did finally blow out and I’ll admit, seeing that happen was almost worth the storm. Once the sun finally pierced through the clouds, it was amazing. Then it took about an hour for the cloud cover to blow away and reveal why the North Cascades are my favorite. Photos don’t do it justice, you just have to come and see for yourself. Just don’t be a jerk, pack out what you pack in and no fires. The plant life up here is like a PNW rainforest. It’s gorgeous and there are also tons of wild blueberries around. We got to spend 3 hours exploring around which was great. We all had tent fever pretty bad and needed to stretch out minds and our legs. I’m just happy we were able to see the endless sea of Cascades before heading down. We were also stoked that we didn’t have to scramble down wet and muddy rocks. I will say that the scramble area is way longer than posted on here. It wasn’t constant but there were scrambles for the last mile. Some of them were so high that my full pack top touched what I was climbing. Trekking poles and hiking boots are a must, and not worn down hiking boots, you’ll need good outsoles. Also, the split from Barlow trail to Gothic Basin happens a little before what’s posted on here. The original trail is unsafe, looked like a tree fell through. They made a new trail to connect over, just follow the wooden sign that says “Gothic Basin” and ignore your preloaded maps. I use OnX, it lets you preload high resolution maps for offline use. They’re better than my Garmin maps. Definitely bring a bear canister or ursack. There was a warning sign saying they “strongly discouraged camping” at Barlow pass, which is the trail you begin on. Apparently it’s a bear hangout and the trial head where you park, bears have gotten into vehicles and aren’t easily scared off. So while Gothic Basin isn’t Barlow pass, they share the same parking and part of the trail and it’s still bear country. So be smart. Do your research and enjoy the view! It’s worth every bit of leg burn.

Road to North Lake trail is not too bad. Low clearance vehicles can do it, but have to go slow in a few spots. Trail from Independence Lake to North is steep, rocky, and lots of tree roots. Slower going than trail to Independence. Follow cairns around rock fall near the saddle at the top above North Lake.

hiking
13 days ago

I really really liked this hike. I did this right after Mount Pilchuck so in comparison, much quieter, less people, and easier terrain and under half the elevation. A very moderate hike in terms of terrain and scenery but diverse in scenery. The majority of it is dirt, roots, and the occasional pile of rocks to walk over. The best part of this trail to me was the view at the end and the smells and sounds around the lake. In the distance about a half mile from the lake you can vividly hear a waterfall and around and near the lake you can smell the flowers, damp dirt, and a faint smell of pine. We came on a clear day but right after some rain, I bet the smells are even better!

-Difficulty-
Nothing too strenuous in my opinion but I am 24, 135 lbs, and in fairly good shape. My friend Brian, his Australian Shepard name Oz, and I were able to knock through this no problem in about 1.5 to 2 hours including walking around the lake and taking some spectacular pictures. Our pace averaged around 20 min or so. You could easily trail run this on the way back just being careful of roots, small wet rocks here and there, and your speed down the switchbacks.

-Notes-
No music please! There were a couple groups playing music and in this kind of area (valley and open), you can hear a med loud song for easily a 1/4 mile or so. My friend and I ran to get past the group and far enough ahead so we could enjoy the sounds of nature and our own company. If you wanna listen to music, wear some headphones. Remember, most people do these hikes for the sheer joy of disconnecting and finding peace within nature. Music scares away peaceful thoughts, peaceful sounds, and the wildlife.

Amasing hike!

14 days ago

Beautiful hike with impressive views to the valley on the way up. Almost all of the hike is under heavy growth, so very pleasant and fragrant. Drastically insufficient parking, though the picnic area across the highway has a fair amount more. The lake is more impressive than I think most people expect it to be. It’s small but in a dramatic setting. Nice access to the shore for swimming. Possibly among the most rugged trails around, resembling a stream bed more than a trail for long stretches, especially the third quarter of the hike up, or so. Quite fatiguing especially on the way down, where each step is fairly calculated. Not a place for solitude, but quite lovely.

hiking
14 days ago

One of my favorite hikes. Hiked at sunrise on 9/2 with the best possible weather conditions. Clear visibility the whole way up and the view from the lookout is breathtaking. Trekking poles and/or gloves are helpful for navigating as you scramble the granite.

Definitely hard. More Boulder than trail, but no snow. Took my out of shape dad and out of shape me a little over 4 hours. Took my fit 20 and 13-year old brothers just less than 3. Great views (on a clear day!) Saw some super human 7 year olds make it all the way, but can't recommend it for kids or for anyone with joint/back/knee problems. Also saw dogs on the trail, though it looked like they needed to be carried the last stretch. The road up is full of potholes.

hiking
14 days ago

Magnificent old growth, gnarly beauties all along the trail, peekaboo waterfalls and many rivulet crossings even this dry season
Must go round the lake to appreciate the grand scale of Pilchuck backdrop with ice caves, giant talus boulders, and views across the lake
Sturdy shoes needed to traverse rugged, rocky stretches

spectacular views from the top

hiking
14 days ago

Gorgeous hike with amazing view once you get to the open areas of the hike. Started at 7 am and when coming back down it was busy. When I got to the parking lot it was full of groups about to hike up. Not hard for me to hike maybe the last half mile because you gain a lot to get to the end. Saw fresh bear scat so make sure you are loaded or have bear spray. Trail is rocky but well maintained. You won’t be disappointed

First intentional day hike/fish excursion. a family of four and a little pup went for a day hike (really to fish) 1 mile seemed perfect for our first together & hope to have many more. This hike is listed at Moderate and I would agree, from the trail head it was 3 quick switchbacks then onto a bit more level hike/walk, it was dry so this was relativiely an easy hike, although a couple of us were huffing an puffing because a) were out of shape b) were ex-smokers c) it was about 65 degrees. Overall a great hike. Once we got to Independence lake we stopped to fish, this was the clearest most blue water I'd ever laid eyes on and yes, there were fish in the lake. We got quite a few hits & double hits from the fish whom were chasing rooster tails/lures like candy but wouldn't take em. Great hike, we will definitely be back here and continue to explore this great Northwest we have in our backyards.

Beautiful hike Sept 2. We got an early start and it was not too crowded. Met lots of people coming up on our way down. The early start was well worth it.

Trail ran this today. Similar to what the other reviewer said, biggest regret was not bringing a tent. The basin is pretty awesome. Hard to describe and pictures don’t do it justice. Hike was smoke free, bug free. Super steep at times so be prepared to have your legs burning. Kind of like Mt . Si but 3 miles longer. First 2 miles are flat and easily runnable. Hiking poles and hiking shoes are a must. Trust me. I post photos of my hiking adventures on instagram under “adventuringKR”. One final note, this hike is 30 miles from cell service so download some offline maps and get a lot of gas before you get there.

trail running
15 days ago

The trail is snow free and very easy to follow. The views are worth the rough road up to the trail head, and the difficult hike. Plan on 15mph or less on the road up to the trail head, it is in pretty bad shape. I will say that the first 2 miles of road have the most potholes.

hiking
15 days ago

Only regret is not bringing our tent. Take your time, and bring hiking poles if you’re unsteady on your feet. Plan on hanging out in the basin for a while!

Perfect forest walk!

hiking
15 days ago

Two hours to the top, an hour coming down. Gorgeous views. Hike is very gradual going up- it’s a great hike all around! Can be slippery. Shoes with good grip necessary.

I love this hike for being family friendly. My three year old can hike a lot of this on her own. It felt a little underwhelming to me until we reached the beautiful wildflower meadow just before the lake. It was absolutely magical seeing all the flowers encased in rolling fog with the mountains in the background. I recommend this hike mostly in the fall with the foliage or when the wildflowers are in bloom, otherwise if you’re going just for the views, there may be better options.

Very nice and extra hard trail however well worth the view all the way to the lake

Absolutely incredible hike, highly recommend. Does anyone know if the door to the fire watch is still open to travelers? Always wanted to do an overnight stay!

Amazing

Load More