The Old Mount Si Trail - A Better Way to Hike the Most Popular Seattle Peak
Here’s a better way to hike Mt Si, the most popular Seattle peak: use the Old Trail! It is rougher and more challenging, but you get to the same spot - with hardly any crowds along the way.
Why is the old trail better?
Both the new and the old trail zig-zag in the trees for the entire 3.7 miles until the very top, where views open up. There's nothing you can do about that, it is what it is.
The problem with the regular trail is the crowds. Sometimes it's so packed, especially on weekends and summer months, and if you're after a little solitude, thew new trail is not for you. NWHikers forum user Angry Hiker illustrated this problem in a funny post here.
Choosing to hike the Old Trail solves this issue. You hardly see any hikers there, even during weekends.
Why is Mount Si the most popular hike around Seattle?
For the casual hiker it's because it is relatively close to the city, it's not too long, not too steep, and, once you reach the top, you get outstanding views of the peaks around you, including Mount Rainier, the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River below, and in the distance, the city of Seattle, Bellevue and the Olympic Mountains.
A classic training hike for climbing Mount Rainier
For the experienced folks, Mount Si is a standard training route for bigger mountains like Mt. Rainier, Denali and even the Himalayas. During winter and spring months, you will often see folks wearing big boots and carrying huge packs. They're most likely training for something bigger.
Hike it yourself in under 2 hours with a 40 lb. pack and you're in good shape, according to common wisdom.
Mount Si during the winter
This hike is so popular also because you can do it year round, with no risk of avalanches and less snow cover than other higher peaks in the area - the top is relatively low at 3900'.
Enjoy a classic Pacific Northwest trail
The Mount Si trail, both Old and New, take you mostly though a classic Pacific Northwest forest. It's true, there are no views, but this is an experience in and of itself. Pictures speak a thousand words, here are some images:
Meet the Mount Si inhabitants
Last but not least, meet the Mt. Si resident birds. They'll be following your last steps and stick around you for food.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your hike!
Mount Si Old TrailDay Hike / Overnight • Washington / Central Cascades / I90 / North Bend
Distance: 8 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 3150' gain, 3900' high point
Permit: Discovery Pass
Trailhead: 47.486708647.4880, -121.7580548
Map: Green Trails Mount Si NRCA 206S, WTA Guide