Mount Pilchuck Trail

Mount Pilchuck State Park, Washington

Distance2.6mi
Elevation Gain2,537ft
Trailhead Elevation3,151ft
Top5,300ft
Elevation Min/Max3151/5300ft
Elevation Start/End3151/3151ft

Mount Pilchuck Trail

Mount Pilchuck Trail is a hiking trail in Snohomish County, Washington. It is within Mount Pilchuck State Park. It is 2.6 miles long and begins at 3,151 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 5.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,537 feet. The Mount Pilchuck Trailhead parking is near the trailhead. There are also a bbq and restrooms. Along the trail there are screes. The trail ends near the Mount Pilchuck Lookout viewpoint and Mount Pilchuck (elevation 5,197 feet).

Mount Pilchuck Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"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."

"Being a short trail close to Everett, and having panoramic views, helps make Pilchuck one of
the most popular hikes in Washington. From its historic lookout perched a mile above the countryside, scan the horizons from Rainier to Baker, Glacier Peak to the Olympics, Seattle to the San Juan Islands—and every jagged, snowcapped peak lining the Mountain Loop Highway."

"Tackle this 5.2-mile ascent through a former ski resort to a historic fire lookout. The trail begins at the end of the 7-mile-long Mount Pilchuck Road, following the service road once used to access the ski area. From the parking lot, a nice little view of the Stillaguamish Valley and Green Mountain hints at the kind of vistas that await at the summit. The route briefly wanders through young forest, which quickly thins to yield ever-larger views of the valley below.

In the summer hikers flock to Pilchuck. With such stunning views at the end of a fairly short trail, it’s easy to see why. We highly recommend trying this in early winter, when the snow is clean and powdery and the wind has sculpted the trees to look like something out of a children’s book."

"Though the only man-made structure here is the summit lookout, Mount Pilchuck could
not be any better designed even if it had been specifically planned and constructed by
hand. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, no other peak offers such great rewards for so little effort. This landmark hike should not be missed."

"Rising 1 mile above the surrounding countryside and perched on the western edge of the Cascades, Pilchuck packs some of the best panoramic viewing to be found in these parts.

From its historical and restored fire lookout, scan the horizon— from Rainier to Baker, Glacier Peak to the Olympics, Seattle to the San Juans—and every jagged, rugged, and snow-capped peak lining the Mountain Loop Highway. One of the most popular hikes in Washington, Pilchuck is a “social mountain.” Expect company and enjoy the camaraderie."

"Mount Pilchuck offers good technical trail running experience. Most of the trail is well maintained, but boulder fields always require a little more care than dirt trail. As the trail gets steeper it also gets rockier until you are climbing on blasted granite and talus. The time allowed for this run includes waiting for your turn to climb into the lookout. It’s worth it, with close-up views of Three Fingers, Whitehorse, and Shuksan Mountains, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, and Mount Rainier.

There are also spectacular views of all the cities in the Puget Sound area. Up on this lofty peak there is nothing to stop the wind, so be prepared for dramatic changes in temperature. Mount Pilchuck is one of the few short trails in the region that reaches the summit of a major peak. The existing lookout was renovated recently and is maintained by the Everett branch of The Mountaineers. Much of the lower portion of the mountain was logged in the 1940s and 1950s, and some of the upper portion was cleared for a since-abandoned ski area within 1975-acre Mount Pilchuck State Park."

"Mount Pilchuck is one of the most visible mountains on the western front of the Cascade Range. Although not a high peak, Pilchuck stands out from other higher peaks because of its westerly position. A popular hiking trail leads to its summit, where there is a former lookout cabin that has been converted to accommodate a large number of visitors. The final climb to the summit involves a bit of scrambling through big granite blocks, then up a ladder.

The hiking trail is too crowded to make it a popular ascent for climbers, although there are scrambling routes up the east ridge that deserve attention. Mount Pilchuck is a lonesome winter and spring snowshoe climb. The summit offers excellent views of the Monte Cristo peaks, Glacier Peak, Mount Baker, and Mount Rainier, and west across the Puget Sound lowlands to the Olympic Mountains."

"Mount Pilchuck is the western outpost of the Cascades between Mount Baker and Snoqualmie Pass. Its forested southwestern slopes and summit are clearly visible from Everett and, to a lesser degree, Seattle.

This tour offers panoramic views of the western scarp of the Cascades and steep fall-line runs from the summit area to the road 2,200 feet below. Difficulties: High avalanche potential; permit / fee area."

"This is one of the most popular trails in the state, and for good reason. It’s a short hike to an incredible Cascades panorama. The trail leads through old-growth forest, heather slopes, granite boulders, and tall cliffs to a historic fire lookout.

Mount Pilchuck rises from the far western edge of the Cascade Range, towering over the lowlands. Because of this location, the summit features unparalleled views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, as well as the snowy peaks of the Cascade Range.
HK"

"Mount Pilchuck offers several miles of gently climbing trail that follows
the winding road leading to the summer trailhead parking area. Farther
up the trail, adventurous snowshoers can forsake the roadway and hike up
through the trees or along the wide runs of an abandoned downhill ski area."

"Mount Pilchuck is a fun, easily accessible ski tour that includes slopes that were once part of the old Mount Pilchuck Ski Area. The ski area’s last season was 1978, but since then Mount Pilchuck has become a popular spring ski touring destination with a unique setting overlooking Puget Sound on one side and the central Cascades on the other.

Although Mount Pilchuck’s western position in the range means that it receives a healthy mix of both rain and snow during the winter, its north-facing terrain builds and holds snow depth surprisingly late into spring."

Mount Pilchuck Trail Reviews

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8/12/2012
pretty straight forward trail until the ridge line where you can choose a boulder scramble or hunting for the trail in scattered snow pack. but well worth the extra effort for the beautiful 360 view the tower lends
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7/22/2012
Road open to Trailhead. Multiple snow fields on way to summit, suggest minimum of pointed hiking poles to ease the snow passage.
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2/7/2010
Forest Road closes 1.5 miles before trail head. Good hike, nice trails, a bit wet, but its winter.
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9/20/2008
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.
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7/16/2006
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.
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2/26/2005
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.
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8/15/2004
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.
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5/25/2003
Even easier and less crowded when there is still lots of snow on the ground above the forested area. In the summer, you have to concentrate more on putting your feet on stable rocks in the rock slide areas. And it's definitely fun to slide on your butt on the way down. Wear good boots and think about a pair of rain or snow pants if you'd like to keep your butt dry. Count on getting muddy feet. Still quite a few people - at least 25 others on way up or down, but it was Memorial Day Weekend. Pretty hike with nice view when the clouds permit.
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11/11/2000
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

Mount Pilchuck State Park
Nearby City
Mount Pilchuck State Park
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Moderate
Skill Level
Verlot Public Service Center, 33515 Mountain Loop Hwy., Granite Falls, WA 98252; (360) 691-7791; fs.usda.gov/mbs
Local Contacts
USGS: Verlot; Green Trails Map #109 (Granite Falls)
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018