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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there Pacific Northwest! My girlfriend and I are coming out your way in early March to visit one of her college friends.

We're going to ski three days but have another two or three days that we'd like to fill with some hiking and/or running trails outside the Seattle area (within one or two hour drive would be preferred). We're young, energetic and love a good challenge and awesome scenery - so any great places you can recommend would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
Rob
 

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theres the touristy crap at mt. rainier but i'd recommend a trail called ranger creek, i used to mtn bike there, ill see if i can find it, its been years. great scenery, instead of just seeing parts of mt rainier you see all of mt rainier and lots of other mountains. i always saw people hiking there, i remember seeing an old subaru wagon rock crawling at the top. directions in link http://www.mountainbikebill.com/WA-RangerPalisade.htm
 

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I like Wallace Falls hike, when in SEA. It's close by (405 North to exit Rt 522 that turns to Rt 2/South). It's a moderate hike - for me (I am not young any more) with great scenery... but I am not sure, how it looks in March as I have always been there only in summer.
 

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Gallery Ninja, ,
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There are so many its hard to even begin to make a recommendation. Just remember, there's lots of snow up high so anything at 3,000 feet or higher is going to have a bunch of snow. (be prepared).

That said, here's a great resource for checking ideas, seeing photos and reading trip reports.

Washington Trails Association

P.P.S. Scramble Persis Mountain if you dare. hint: It's steep but has great views!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Excellent, thanks for the responses fellas!

A scramble sounds great, Boxxerace. We did Angel's Landing at Zion and loved it. Any hard effort is worth a great view.
 

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Don't know of too many that are accessible this time of year, but glacier basin, Gothic basin, bridle veil falls/lake serene are some of my favorites. This time of year you will require snow shoes and a plethora of balls.

Depending on how much driving you want to do, the beaches of the Olympic peninsula are incredible. Kalalock, la push, and that general area are incredible. Not to mention beach camping.
 

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Mt. Si is a popular hike with great views (if the weather cooperates). It's located off I-90 in North Bend, about 30 miles east of Seattle and about half way between Seattle and Snoqualmie Pass (where there are a number of ski areas).

Although Mt. Si won't offer solitude, it will give you a classic 'Washington' hike with plenty of elevation gain. There's probably snow at the top, but no avalanche risks and the trail will be easy to follow even with snow due to the frequency with which it is hiked - but it may be icy.

Near Mt. Si there are other good destinations as well (all easier since there is less elevation gain): Kaikazee Falls, Rattlesnake Ledge, Little Si, the John Wayne/Iron Horse Trail (a rails to trails project great for a long run) and Twin Falls.

Between Seattle & Mt. Si are other options but also even more populated and less memorable views: Tiger Mtn, Cougar Mtn

As someone else suggested, WTA.org is a great resource, as is NWHikers.net forums.

Wallace Falls is nice (Hwy 2, northeast of Seattle) too.

Be aware that a lot of these require a parking permit... but of course some require different permits than others. Usually you can find out if a permit is required and which one it is at WTA.org. Discover Pass and the Northwest Forest Pass are the two most common ones. Both can be purchased on a day by day basis for $10 each I think it is, or $30 for an annual pass.

Hope the weather cooperates during your visit.

I have a bunch of hiking trip reports (and lots of photos) on my blog, but the majority of them are a bit further north.

Here are a couple reports for a few of the trails mentioned above:
Kamikaze Falls
Mt. Si (but no actual pictures of the mountain... google it, it's impressive)
Little Si (with a photo of Rattlesnake Ledge from Little Si)
Twin Falls

Wallace Falls

Carbon River/Ipsut Falls/Ranger Falls
(all in Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park, but minimal mountain views from here)

There are a million other great places to go too, but this is plenty to get you started.

Have a great time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Don't know of too many that are accessible this time of year, but glacier basin, Gothic basin, bridle veil falls/lake serene are some of my favorites. This time of year you will require snow shoes and a plethora of balls.

Depending on how much driving you want to do, the beaches of the Olympic peninsula are incredible. Kalalock, la push, and that general area are incredible. Not to mention beach camping.
We were hoping to make it to Olympic at least one day; I know we won't be able to see much in one day, but at least to get out there on this trip.

Thanks again for all the input, I'll definitely look into the WTA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The mountains her friend recommended we hit are: Stevens Pass, Crystal and Mt. Baker - any comment on these three?
 

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If you get over to the peninsula, go for a soak at Sol Duc hot springs. Great way to end a hike.
 

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Gallery Ninja, ,
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AO, what kind skiing or riding are you looking for? Any preference?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Boxxerace, no riding for me - just skiing, hiking and running. And no preference for downhill skiing, just some good runs with powder since we don't get much of it on the east coast!
 

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All three are good ski areas.

Mt. Baker is where the snowboarding craze started - it's a great ski area with lots of elevation and top notch scenery (when the weather cooperates, a frequent issue at all our ski areas). Here's a trip report of mine with a video showing a small part of the Mt. Baker ski area on a sunny winter day. Baker ski area is only open from 8:30am to 3:30pm... no night skiing.

Steven's Pass is nice too but it's a smaller area with more people (closer to Seattle). Across the highway from Steven's Pass is a nice (but steep) snowshoe route to Skyline Lake. Here is a trip report from a nighttime snowshoe trek up there, with images of the Steven's Pass ski area at night.

I previously mentioned Wallace Falls... you'll drive by that park on your way to Steven's Pass.

Crystal is closer to Mt. Rainier and I haven't skied there for decades but it has a lot of runs too, and a new gondola I think.

As far as trails near any of those three areas, all will be subject to tons of snow and potential avalanches (depending on conditions). You'll want skins on the skis or snowshoes out on those trails that are outside the ski area boundaries.

Check in on the avalanche conditions at the Northwest Avalanche Center website here: NWAC
 

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Gallery Ninja, ,
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For skiers + good snow conditions, go to Crystal. You need not go anywhere else. It has fantastic views, awesome long blue, black and double black runs.

Did I mention the skiing was great?

Stevens is an alright hill, but its one of those places you need to go with someone who knows the place to really get to the fun stuff that also won't put you in a precarious position.

Baker is perfect if you are a snowboarder, but it's a hard hill to navigate beyond some basic groomers. It has some very unusual volcanic terrain. Saying it "snows alot" there is a big understatement.



 

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Going in March will be at the end of the season also. March is usually heavier for rain too. We get light rain the in city but in the mountains it really pours. Every outdoor person in Seattle has full gortex at some point. Temps typically will be 30-45 during the day all month at sea level and even at the ski resorts.

Baker- Best chance for powder, known for breaking world records in snow fall. Small ski area, tiny even and was closed for a few months this year because they got too much snow. All should be well when you arrive but go to their website and make sure they are open. A good 3 hour drive from Seattle.

Stevens- my favorite because it's 1 hour from my house. Bigger than Baker but small. Only locals know where the good skiing is at. Higher elevation than Snoqualmie and has double black diamonds that can be unsafe when the clouds roll in so they shut them down. Great place though.

Crystal mountain is south from me so I've never been there but I've never heard anything bad about them.

Snoqualmie- not my cup of tea. Alpental I'm told has the good stuff so I'm told, but the main resort is very boring imo. Closest to Seattle.

Mt. Si- awesome plan "B" for hiking. Trail is open year around and is has 4k elevation gain or so in 4 miles. It was a tough hike when I went there several times with 60lbs on my back in all weather. REI sells "yak tracks." If you going to do any hiking in WA they are worth having. They are chains for your boots very light and easy to put on and off, which you will do a lot potentially.

Enchanted Valley- It's on the Olympic peninsula and is lower elevation at like 2k feet. Mostly flat trail.

Wallace Falls is a very short and easy hike compared to Mt. Si. I want to say it's about 2 miles and 1200 feet elevation gain, but there are other areas to expore there too like Walace Lake. I't one of the few places that is fun to moutain bike in the area imo. Wallace can be hiked in a couple hours and has a small water fall at the end that you can get very close too. Mt. Si I can do in 6 hours with a pack and the view is of other mountains. Scrabling to the top you can see Seattle on the clear day but it should be very dangreous to do that in March, so please don't. Several epople have fallen off that thing in good weather. Snoqualmie Falls is the big one in the state though and they have a casino near by if that's your thing. All the other places people have mentioned are good choices too. The really great hikes here are multi-day trips and are more summer type stuff.

You can not buy just one permit and be good. Each area might require something different or none at all. WTA is the website for all that though.

If you can't make it to Kalalock which is awesome (and about 6 hours drive one way), then Dungeness Spit in Port Angels is a good compromise. There is also Ocean Shores where they let you drive on the beach in short segments on the opposite side.

IF you time the ferries right they can be a scenic way to get around but it's usually cheaper and quicker to drive around but be warned we do now have some toll roads. Traffic is one of the worst in the country. 5-10am and 4-7pm are the hot zones. Avoid them all you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Excellent information, thank you everyone! We're going to sit down this weekend, do some research (especially WTA.org) and nail down our trip plans. Trip is about 10 days away now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Finalized our itinerary today since we're off to the west coast in a few days! For anyone that can comment on the places we choose, feel free.

Day 1: Arriving midday; heading west towards Olympic NP; stopping at Gray Wolf River or Big Quilcene for a trail run; moving on to Port Angeles for the night (anyone recommend a restaurant there?).

Day 2: Heading further west to do the Ozette Triangle: Cape Alava - Sand Point Loop; then south to Hoh River Five-Mile Island and/or Ruby Beach for a run; then a long ride back to Seattle; staying with friends outside Seattle.

Day 3: One or two of these trails, undecided at this point: Mt. Si, Rattlesnake Ledge, Bare Mountain, Rooster Mountain, or Cathedral Rock.

Day 4: Skiing at Stevens Pass.

Day 5: Skiing at Crystal Mountain.

Day 6: Potentially skiing at Mt. Baker (we'll see how wiped out we are!) or downtown Seattle stuff.

Day 7: back to the east coast :(
 

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It would seem that you are out here now or headed back. It looks like you got typical WA weather! Sunny and oddly warm one day then off an on rain the rest of the week.

Let us know how it went when you get back. All those hiking trails are good choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I got back on Tuesday and the weather was better than expected - it really only rained one day and we had excellent weather for hiking and skiing (except for Sunday at Crystal - completely socked in).

We followed our itinerary almost to the T: Gray Wolf River trail run on Wednesday afternoon; Hoh River trail run, Ruby Beach and Ozette Triangle hike on Thursday; Friday we stayed on the peninsula most of the day and hiked around Hurricane Ridge; skiing at Stevens Pass in sunny weather Saturday; couldn't see twenty feet on Sunday at Crystal Mtn but it was still great skiing, and then did some stuff around Seattle on Monday (that REI store is...AMAZING! spent two hours in there). All-in-all, great trip!

I'll post a few pics once I pull them off my cameras. Thanks again for all the tips everyone.
 
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