HIKE | MOUNT-SI
Mount Si Trail
What You Need to Know!
The trail is popular and it can be crowded. Something like 100,000 people hike the trail each year. I like that. There are a lot of interesting people from around Seattle and around the world to meet. It’s fun to see what kind of gear people have bought. It’s fun to see kids enjoying nature. Sometimes you can strike up a conversation with someone fun to find a hiking partner. I’ve hiked Mount Si many times and no matter how crowded it was, I never felt like it was too many people. It’s a great trail that I hike many times a year, sometimes several times in one week.
Overall, it’s a good workout. Some people climb the mountain very quickly with heavy packs to train for other mountain adventures. Lots of people use the trail for a trail running route. I like to go in the morning. I don’t hike to the top. I time myself, and usually I go for one hour on the clock, and then I turn around. I don’t try to go fast or slow, I just set a comfortable pace. I want to enjoy my time on the hike.
The reason I often choose this trail for my morning hike is that I feel very good no matter what the conditions. It’s no secret that it rains a lot in North Bend, but I like to hike this trail in the rain. The beautiful trees cover me from getting completely drenched, even when it is raining hard. For clothing, I just hike in hiking boots and hiking pants and a t-shirt, then I take a good fleece in case it rains. I suppose you might take a good rain-jacket if it is pouring.
Breakfast where Twin Peaks was filmed!
On my latest adventure, I stopped with friends at Twede’s Cafe for a quick bite. I needed some energy for the trail and they wanted to see the place where Twin Peaks was filmed. I like Twede’s for its connection to Twin Peaks, the television series created by David Lynch. I loved the first installation in the early 1990s and I love the new version on Showtime. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll notice Twede’s as the location where certain characters have a piece of cherry pie and a cup of coffee. Today, we did the same. I also add four scrambled eggs for protein. Twede’s is fun. Check it out. I’d even budget a few extra minutes to make this stop, especially for a little socializing with friends. They open at 630AM on Saturday. You can see Mount-Si from the front door.
Hiking the Mount Si Trail!
On this hike, I took several friends I arrived at the trailhead just past 700AM. There weren’t too many vehicles in the lot, maybe twenty total cars, most of them had just arrived. The weather was good. I set a solid pace, nothing too fast, but something I can keep up no matter how steep the terrain. Like I said, I set a time limit for one hour. Wherever I am at after one hour of hiking I’m going to turn around and head back. Plus, the group was in no hurry. We wanted to talk and tell jokes while we hiked.
Immediately, when we crossed the footbridge over the small creek near the trailhead, we were in another world. I was out in front and completely forgot about my friends for ten minutes while nature soaked in. I don’t know what it is, but I always feel very content and happy when I am hiking. One of my friends commented on how green everything was, and that brought me back to the real world. This is a great trail to show to friends. They’ll appreciate it, no matter where they are from.
We cruised through the switchbacks. The trail was dry. The weather was good. We talked a lot while we hiked but we got a good workout. All of us are in good trail shape and so it was not uncomfortable, but we were all sweating when we turned around. It was a very pleasant walk and it was a good time to share stories and create a new one.
I like to get to the old growth trees about a mile or so up the trail. We found some huckleberries, we saw ferns, we saw evergreens and cedars. There were squirrels and gray jays. I was hoping to show my friends some elk, but they are difficult to see in summer. Winter is the time to see elk, especially down near the homes along the river on the drive in to the trailhead.
We hiked without packs or water, but we just hiked for an hour and a half. If you plan to hike to the top, you might take more gear. You might like to bring a bottle of water, hiking poles, a light jacket, and a phone or camera. If the weather is clear up top, you’ll be able to want to take a photo or selfie with Mount Rainier. In winter, you might want crampons for your boots or hiking shoes if there is snow and ice.
Mountains to Sound Greenway
One of my friends wanted to know more about the Mountains to Sound Greenway. We saw signs for it all over the place. I knew a little bit about it. It’s an initiative to protect and observe green spaces along the I-90 Interstate, the road that we took to get to the Mount Si Trailhead. It’s designated as a National Scenic Byway. We did a little more investigating on our phones and found out that the Greenway connects 1.5 million acres along the interstate. That is amazing. When you get out to see nature firsthand, it quickly becomes more important to you. I encourage you to check out the Mountains to Sound Greenway.
Mountains to Sound Greenway
Remember the Discover Pass.
The trail is convenient for me. It’s just off I-90 Interstate. It’s close to some stores where I can get some food in the morning if I need it. The trailhead has good bathrooms. There’s a parking lot at the base of the hike. I’ve never been turned away from a parking spot, but I always get there pretty early. Remember, you’ll need a Discover Pass to park your vehicle in the parking lot. It costs $30 and you can buy it online, by phone, or at state offices and retail locations.
Washington State Discover Pass
Seafood dinner by the sound.
After our research on the Greenway, we brainstormed some restaurants in Seattle that would complete our journey from mountains to the sound. We wanted seafood, and we also wanted some place that was locally-sourced and environmentally friendly. I suggested The Walrus and the Carpenter, which is in Ballard near the locks.
We enjoyed wine and beer along with fresh oysters from around the Pacific Northwest. They have many different kind of seafood specials, and our table tried frie oyster with cilantro aioli, grilled sardines with walnut, parsley, and shallot, and steamed clams with lentils, curry, and cream. Amazing. They were also serving fresh vegetable dishes, and we tried grilled treviso and shaved summer squash, both of which were perfect. The Walrus and the Carpenter is a great restaurant, one of the new establishments that makes you feel good about what you are eating, who you are supporting, and that your money is going toward people’s livelihood. They give their employees full benefits and they give lots of money to local charities. It’s a good place to support.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Here are some final thoughts.
After the hike up Mount Si and dinner at the Walrus and the Carpenter, we all agreed that Seattle offers the best place to live. There are very few places in the world that you can enjoy mountain and saltwater scenery, two completely different places only about an hour apart. I love the Mount Si hike and my friends loved it too. When I hike this trail alone, I have a completely different experience. I hike this trail often, so I will link to another review of a trip up to the top! I hope you’ll try Mount Si. It’s worth every step. Hopefully, you’ll find a long lasting connection to nature. You’ll get in shape too.
Here are directions from Seattle to the Mount Si Trailhead:
The first time you drive out to the Mount Si trailhead, the directions can be a little tricky, so take a map, or take your phone, or write down some street names. There are lots of signs for how to get to the trailhead, but you might miss one in all the excitement of your adventure.
1. Follow signs for I-90 E/Bellevue/Spokane and merge onto I-90 E 30 Mi
2. Take exit 32 for 436th Ave SE 0.3 mi
3. Turn left at 436th Ave SE/Cedar Falls Rd 0.5 mi 4. Take the 3rd left onto SE Cedar Falls Way 0.3 mi
5. Take the 1st right onto 432nd Ave SE/Stilson Ave SE 0.1 mi
6. Continue onto SE Mt Si Rd 1.3 mi 7. Continue onto 452nd Ave SE 0.4 mi
8. Continue onto SE Mt Si Rd/Nat for Dev Rd 9010
9. Continue to follow SE Mt Si Rd 0.8 mi
10. Turn left at Mt Si Trailhead Parking Lot 0.1 mi