Looking for a little solitude on one of the many hiking trails that surround Seattle?
The Mount Si Trail is the most popular hike in the state, and for good reason. Mt. Si boasts some fantastic features like an elevation gain of 3,500 feet over 8 miles (roundtrip), stunning views from the top and the trailhead is just a 40-minute drive from downtown Seattle.
But, if it’s really solitude you crave, you won’t find it on this over-crowded treadmill.
There are many – and when I say many, I mean heaps and gobs – of alternative peaks to bag along the I-90 corridor. But if your heart is set on scenic Mount Si, I’d suggest you take the rarely used and comparatively empty Old Si Trail. Previously known as the “Taylor Memorial Trail,” The Old Si Trail has been in use for the past 80 years, and while it’s unmarked you have my word that it’s very easy to find and just as clear to follow.
This route will require a little more grit as it shaves off about 1.25 miles from the Mt. Si ascent, increasing the incline noticeably. But if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with the same great views (the trails merge just below the top) and still get to experience the peace most of us go to the mountains to enjoy.
To get there:
Take Exit 31 off Interstate-90 and head left around the roundabout going north about a mile until you hit North Bend Way – take a right. Then turn left onto Mt. Si Road and pass over the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. Park at the Little Si trailhead on the left side of the road in a quarter-mile. Head up the Little Si trail and follow the trail past the first entrance to the Boulder Garden Loop Trail and on to the other end of the loop. Take the Boulder Garden Trail until it Y’s and the trail you want obviously goes up while the Boulder Garden Trail veers off to the right.
A couple of my favorite Northwest hiking resources for those heaps and gobs of other hikes: