Mount Pilchuck

Granite Falls, Washington 98252

Mount Pilchuck

Mount Pilchuck Professional Review and Guide

"This moderate 5.4-mile round-trip day hike climbs to the top of 5,324-foot Mount Pilchuck, an impressive peak perched on the western edge of the Cascades. The trail climbs through a scenic north-facing basin, often filled with the sound of rushing snowmelt. From the restored Forest Service fire lookout at the summit, you’ll get some of the best views around of Puget Sound, the Olympics, and beyond.

Mount Pilchuck is the perfect hike for first-time visitors to the area who want a taste of the Cascades, and perhaps want to reach a summit and fire lookout as well. Standing atop Pilchuck’s broad rocky summit gives you the feeling of having
climbed a “real mountain.”The 360-degree view from the old Forest Service fire lookout cabin (restored by the Everett Mountaineers in 1989) is breathtaking."

Mount Pilchuck Reviews

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This was a nice scenic hike, mostly over rocky terrain. Not for the faint of heart for those afraid of heights, especially getting up to the look out tower. Will have to do this hike again on a clear day when I can enjoy the 360 degree view from the top. Happy Trails All.
My wife and I mostly hike around Tucson where we live. This hike was different. The mountain was fogged in, trees dripped with moisture from recent rains, and some top segments of the trail were snow covered. All good! We spent about 4 hours on the trail in order to go the peak and back. I recommend a noon start in order to have the best chance of catching views from the top. I hear the views are spectacular. When we reached the top, we found the lookout building to be perched at the top of a boulder pile. There was a route to the top but the scramble was a little scary for us.
I started this hike out with the false belief that it was only four miles round trip, as it says in the guide book, "Washington's Glacier Peak Region" by Ira Spring and Harvey Manning, published by The Mountaineers. Generally, books by this duo serve as my Bible, but I discovered that Harvey must have been in need of a new pedometer when he charted this one, because it's been rated as either 5.6 mile hike here, or as a 6 mile hike on the Mt. Baker Forest Service website. Now, what's two extra miles for a decent hiker? Nothing I suppose. But I, along with about 150 other hikers, hit the trail six months early to take advantage of the light snow this season, and needed to be aware of exactly what to expect so as to ration our time and energy etc. (The Forest Service had opened the trail, although the road to the trailhead was nearly impassible with snow and ice) The trail itself was amazing, with more views than any other trail I've hiked, short of the Fremont Lookout hike on Rainier. Every time I stopped for a breath (approxamately every 40-50 steps on account of the elevation and my unwisely overloaded pack and poor physical condition) I was met with more rocky snow-covered peaks, more fog-blanketed forested rises heading off to the horizon. The trail was eaten up by snow about a mile in, so the rest of the way, I had to plant my boots extra hard with each step to make sure they stayed put. All the amazing sun we had that day glazed over the snow and made the hike more of a lunatic dance, flailing for balance at times, though mostly on the downhill. Very good for learning humility. There were some fun boulder fields to scramble over, and the top was one big jumble of rocks to climb to reach the lookout. I didn't have crampons or poles and did fine, but I'm sure it would be steadier with them. What I would take next time: giant telephoto lens, sunscreen, and poles.
The driving directions on this eTrail are bad. Use a road map to get to Granite Falls (east of Lake Stevens). Just past Verlot you cross the Stilly River and immediately find a road on the right which leads to Mt. Pilchuck.
See Jeremy Wilson's review. Excellent comments. Great hike for experienced or hiking newbies. Pretty gradual grade. Specactular 360 views. Current snow level - parking lot has snow, peak has 2 feet! Great climb year round if sunny. Exposed top can be chilly. Tempted to stay at the lookout cabin. Bring warm clothes! Enjoy.

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Trail Information

Granite Falls
Nearby City
2,200 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
3 hours
Late June through November
USDA Forest Service Verlot Public Service Center
Local Contacts
USGS Granite Falls
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018