Trail Name: Mount Si
Location: North Bend
Date Hiked: April 6, 2021
Start Time: 6:57 AM
End Time: 12:20 PM
Total Time: 4 hours & 36 minutes (not including lunch)
Elevation Gain: 3,272 ft
Total Distance: 8.38 miles
Weather: 28 degrees F – Sunny with blue skies – Some snow on the ground near the summit
If you are looking for a beautiful, rewarding, dog-friendly hike, check out Mount Si. If you live in Washington, you know that early April can still be a tricky time to find a hike that has accessible roads and is mostly snow-free. Mount Si has been on my ‘wish list’ for some time now, but I kept putting it off because I would much rather drive the scenic, traffic-free route to the Olympics, than through a bustling freeway through Tacoma, but today was the day! I read that there was only a little bit of snow on the trail towards the last mile, and it was dog-friendly so I could bring my girl, Bindi.
Side Note: This past September (2020), my husband and I adopted our blue heeler pup after months of researching which breed would be best as a farm dog and hiking companion. Australian cattle dogs, or better known as blue heelers, kept popping up, so that is how we landed on her. I’ve taken Bindi on a handful of hikes as she has been growing to build up her stamina and to get her used to being on leash, and even wearing a backpack. She has done incredible since her first hike at only 10 weeks old! Although a lot of hiking trails allow dogs, a lot don’t, so make sure to know before you go!
In my research about hiking Mount Si, I read that it is a very popular trail and that the parking lot fills up fast. Knowing this, I picked up my mom at 4:45 AM for our two-hour drive to the trailhead. We arrived at the trailhead around 6:45 AM and there were about ten cars parked already. We geared up, pulling on our hats, and latched on our backpacks (including Bindi). Normally, I like wearing my Deuter Aircontact Lite 60 + 10 SL Pack for day hikes because I like to have plenty of room for layers, cooking supplies, food, and other miscellaneous supplies, but today I opted for my smaller Lowe Alpine backpack because I wanted to carry less weight for the decent elevation gain we were about to face. I also had Bindi wear her Coleman dog backpack so she could carry her food, water bowl, and some first aid supplies. I still carry her water since she is still getting used to the backpack and I don’t want to overwhelm her. After gearing up, we started our hike at 6:57 AM.
The trail quickly starts going up through a series of switchbacks, surrounded by lush forest and a couple of small water features. The path is well-maintained and has clearly had a lot of love and time invested into it. After a little over a mile, we got some relief from the constant uphill when we reached a flat area filled with old growths. We took a water break here and enjoyed the scenery before moving on. (I suggest catching your breath here too because the trail only gets steeper. Also, even if you aren’t hungry, this is a great spot to grab a quick snack because you will want the fuel for the next stretch of the hike).
From here we huffed and puffed our way up the trail. I wish I would have counted the switchbacks, but I didn’t. We only encountered two groups of hikers on our way up which was amazing getting to enjoy the quiet trail. Hiking Mount Si will definitely let you know how in shape you are. I felt like I was in fairly good hiking shape since I had been hiking our local trail (Green Mountain) pretty often, and when I’m not hiking, I am dirt biking, but apparently I could use more cardio!
After about three miles into our trip, we started to see a little bit of snow on the ground. Not enough for microspikes, but as we continued a little further, the snow became more and more. At this point, we stopped to put on our microspikes. The snow that was on the ground was very compact and slick from being walked on and freezing, so our spikes were a game-changer! The last mile slowed us down a lot trying to navigate through the slick, frozen snow on an incline. Trees and bushes became our friends quickly using them as hand rails to help pull ourselves up and give us some stability on the slick ground.
We reached the summit around 9:30 AM and were only joined by two other hikers. The weather was perfect and the views did not disappoint while hiking Mount Si! We had crystal clear, blue skies and we could see for miles. Even though it was in the low 20s, the sun felt so warm beating down on us. I don’t know about you, but I am a sweater. By the time we reached the summit, I had completely soaked my SmartWool. Thankfully, because the sun was out, I was able to dry my SmartWool on the rocks while we ate so I could put on a dry top for the way down.
For lunch (more like breakfast), we made Trader Joe’s Spicy Miso Soups which hit the spot. Bindi wanted nothing to do with her kibble, so she ended up eating some of my beef jerky and homemade peanut butter energy balls. After our hot meal, we packed up and started our descent.
On our way down, we started hitting the crowds that I had read about. It was slow-going at first as we were sliding down the trail, and other hikers were slipping up it. Our trip down was a breeze after the 3,200+ ft elevation gain we had just put under our belts. We reached our car after a little over two hours at 12:20 PM. By this time, the parking lot was about 95% full, so I recommend getting there early if you aren’t into crowds.
I definitely recommend hiking Mount Si! It is a decent workout, but it is a good length for a day trip and you get a little bit of everything.
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