This weekend, I hiked to Talapus Lake with my 3-year-old nephew Ben, my brother Jonathan and my sister-in-law Sarabeth. Talapus is one of many stunning lakes that gives the Alpine Lakes Wilderness its name. The lake is accessible by a short and gently-sloped path – which makes it a very popular trail for hikers of all ages and abilities. The trail became increasingly crowded the longer we stayed but I found it to be more manageable than some of the other more popular Seattle-area trails.
Granite Mountain has been on my bucket list for a long time. Located just west of Snoqualmie Pass, the mountain is famed for amazing 360-degree views of Mt. Rainier to the south and Mt. Baker to the north. It’s also one of the few hikes in the area to feature a lookout tower at the summit. The Granite Mountain trail is off-limits most of the year due to extreme avalanche danger. Now that summer has arrived, the snow has finally melted out – except for the last mile or so which crosses a snowfield.
I love hiking long trails. What I don’t love about long-distance hiking, however, is being away from my family for extended periods of time. Luckily for me, there are lots of shorter “long trails” in my area to explore. The Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT) is one of those trails. Traversing the entire length of the Tiger Mountain State Forest, the TMT is rugged and wild and attracts a fraction of the crowds that flock to more popular trails with big views.
During our recent heat wave, I decided to hit the trails early for another midweek hike. This time I headed to Cougar Mountain – it’s an area I’ve visited previously but not for several years. As a part of the Issaquah Alps mountain range, Cougar Mountain is the easiest to access as it’s the closest mountain to Seattle.
I spent a pleasant afternoon this past Sunday wandering the trails at Magnuson Park. I’ve been to the park before and was already familiar with individual areas such as the dog park and kite hill, but this time I focused on exploring the entire park’s trails. I parked at the E1 parking lot in the Southeast corner of the park with the intention of walking along the Beachwalk Trail, and instead found myself exploring the wooded trails of Promontory Point.
Last Wednesday dawned bright and sunny and so I decided to check out another new trail before work. This time I chose to explore Squak Mountain. Located between Cougar and Tiger Mountains, Squak Mountain is easily accessible from the I-90 corridor and only a 40-minute drive from my house.
While researching new trails that are within reasonable driving distance, I came across Bandera Mountain. I remember seeing the peak on a map when I previously hiked in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and I was curious to check it out. I briefly skimmed through the description on the Washington Trails Association‘s website and noted that the last section gets a bit steep. The total distance and elevation gain of the hike overall didn’t seem that bad though. How hard could it be?