So you say all this hiking is just too much work? Then I tell you that it gets easier as you get into shape. You say you want to go someplace that gives you the most for the least effort. I tell you that I understand and have just the place for you. Mt. Pilchuck!
It is only 2.7 miles to the top. A short hike. Almost as short as Rattlesnake Ridge I say. You tell me that you have climbed Rattlesnake Ridge and did pretty good. Then I tell you that you will be at 5,000 feet when you reach the top with a 360 degree view. So you say, let’s go!
One of the most challenging things about Mt. Pilchuck is not the hike itself, but getting to the trailhead. It is an adventure on the road. The national forest service maintains the trail, but the county owns the road. That is the rub. They claim they have no money to fix it. So, the potholes on the road approaching the trail head are epic. You need to be very careful especially in the dark.
You drive back and forth across the road trying to avoid the deepest potholes. If you have a typical car you might bottom out. I have a very small car so there may come a time in the not so distant future when I will not be able to hike Pilchuck. However, coming down after the hike is a little better due to daylight.
If there is one thing that distinguishes Mt. Pilchuck from other hikes in terms of difficulty, it is the rocks. They begin after about a half-hour to forty minutes into the hike. In places, they are small and nasty and in other places huge and majestic. There is no trail in the usual sense of the term. No dirt. Just rocks. Large, flat rocks.
The trail is difficult to follow due to the rocks, so the forest service has placed signs everywhere. It is pretty hard to get lost. Just follow the sign with the picture of the water tower and you will be fine.
The Water Tower
You can read all about this building at the top of the mountain by googling Mt. Pilchuck. It doesn’t look like a water tower. Here I just want to point out that people sleep inside it so expect you will have company no matter how early you arrive. I have not woke anyone up yet. Also, there is a little bouldering to do to get to the building. It is worth it for the view.