Everett hikers have literally one of the best regions in the country for perfecting their leg building craft. For example, the lookout at the summit of Mount Pilchuck is one of those amazing and popular hikes that attracts families and people of all ages for a very challenging but very rewarding experience.
If you ever have had the experience of ascending Mt. Pilchuck east of Marysville and Granite Falls, then you already know its an incredibly busy but spectacular experience to the 5,341 foot level — complete with an accessible lookout tower.
The trek up the mountain is a hike that is close for anyone in Snohomish County, and you certainly won’t have to worry about getting lonesome. As one of the most popular hikes in the region, you’ll wonder at times if you are training for Everett’s 4th of July parade. No matter, some hikes are about getting away from people, and some are not. This one is not, but still its well worth every extra boot you’ll see on the trail.
With 360 degree sweeping views of Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, the peaks of Canada, the San Juan Islands and the Olympics — this hike is hard to beat for its close proximity and its easy access.Just past Verlot campground on the Mountain Loop Highway, you hang a right (just across the Stillaquamish River) and spend about half an hour driving up to the trail head parking lot at 3,100 feet elevation.
Even the parking lot itself offers amazing views across the valley to Three Fingers peaks and the timbered river valley below. But the 3.5 mile hike itself is a climb that starts in old growth forest and ascends up through scattered high elevation forests and then gorgeous rocky crags and boulder fields and eventually the stunning light-colored cliffs the rise above the forest.
Though popular, this hike is not a beginners trek. In fact at the end of the day, you can giggle as you listen to the moans and groans of the hikers as they return to the parking lot. With an elevation gain that equals four space needles on a trail that many proclaim is a way — rather than a path (especially towards the top), Mount Pilchuck is a good workout for the cardiovascular system as well as the leg muscles themselves.
The last scramble up to the lookout is not for anyone who has vertigo or queasy about the prospects of climbing vertically on boulders as big as cars. But once you finally get up there you’ll find yourself in heaven.
Mt. Pilchuck is quite a gift to the Everett Hiker, just make sure you try a few easier hikes to get in shape for the climb first.