In search of some snow, incredible views, and a challenging first hike for my dog Graham, today we’re hiking Mount Walker in Olympic National Forest. Climbing 2,000 feet in 2 miles, grades up to 25% lead to amazing views of Rainier and the Seattle skyline with a few surprises thrown in on the clearest of days (like today!).
Graham was very enthusiastic all day and is in much better shape than I am. He pulled me all the way up and would get impatient with me when I took too long of a break.
The trail gets quite steep and slippery the more you head up the mountain. We were looking for snow and once we hit it, the trail got a lot more interesting.
When you reach the summit, your thighs will be burning but the views are worth the effort. The trail finishes at the north viewpoint, featuring views of the Olympics, Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, and even into British Columbia on a day like today.
The north end of the eastern Olympic mountain range – Constance, Warrior, Welch Peaks, and Townsend.
From the north viewpoint, you’ll walk along the service road leading to the south viewpoint.
From this viewpoint, you’ll see Seattle, the Cascades, and all three south peaks (Rainier, Adams, and St. Helens).
I couldn’t believe the visibility today. St. Helens and Adams are over 120 miles away as the bird flies.
Speaking of the birds, there were quite a few fluttering around – much to Graham’s bemusement.
Looking back to Seattle – I’m reminded it’s time to get moving again and start hiking Mount Walker the other way – down!
To get back to your car, it’s either back to the steep trail or hike the much less-graded forest road down. We took the trail because it was faster and the shadows were growing ever longer. Some people hike up with skis and then ski down the road. That would be pretty great, I admit.
See also: Summer at Mount Walker
I’ve come up here manytimes via motorcycle. But when the road is closed, you have to work for these views.