Being located western side of the Cascade Mountain Range, Snohomish County residents, and travelers alike, have easy access to one of the most scenic areas in Washington. Just a few minutes drive from any city and you can find yourself in deep forests and surrounded by rivers, streams, waterfalls and a natural beauty that is Snohomish County.
One of the most popular trails is the Centennial Trail. The Centennial, once a main railroad line, starts in Arlington and has 17 miles of paved walk way that snakes through Marysville and Lake Stevens and into south Snohomish. There are many different places to start on Centennial Trail without having to go to the very beginning. One common area is off Getchell Rd and can be found just a few blocks on the eastside of Highway 9. As one of the closest trails to main urban centers, Centennial Trail sees a lot of use from walkers, joggers, cyclists, and even horse enthusiasts that are looking to enjoy the great outdoors without having to travel too far.
As Centennial Trail is very popular for its proximity and beauty, Mount Pilchuck is Snohomish County’s most climbed peak for its sweeping views and for making people feel as being at the top of the World. Follow Mountain Loop Highway through Granite Falls and turn right immediately after Blue Bridge. Follow the road to the top of the mountain and park in old ski resort parking lot. Its 4 mile hike is mild with a gradual incline until the last mile where the sky seems to open up and your eyes are engulfed in Mother Nature’s wonders. The viewing center is at the very top of the mountain, literally, and provides a 360 degree views along with a maps identifing the outlining peaks.
Not ready to be on top of the world? Continue on the Mountain Loop Highway and arrive at the Monte Cristo trial head. Monte Cristo is one of Snohomish County’s only ghost towns and has become a popular hike because of the historical features and scenic views. Be prepared with water and food as the Monte Cristo hike is 8.38 miles round trip and takes nearly 4 hours to complete not including time spent wondering around the town.
Big Four Ice Caves
There are much easier hikes to do and two very good starters are the Big Four Ice Caves and Gold Robe Trail. The ice caves are a natural wonder that are formed every year when the snow in the Cascades begins to melt. As the snow melts, waterfalls form at the top of Big Four and down the long bluffs to the bottom where the winter snow pack builds up. The water then flows from the back the snow pack to the front forming natural ice caves. A beautiful and chilling natural wonder on a hot Washington day just don’t go inside the caves. The snow melt which shapes their beauty is a disaster for hikers.
Old Robe Trail
There are other dangers on the Old Robe Trail. Landslides have reshaped the trail right before the Tunnel 5. The slide has caused the closure at this point, 1.2 miles in, but if you are not as smart as I then walk around it. Once past the first slide then its on through Tunnel 5, Tunnel 4, what is now called “The Bridge” and to the end at Tunnel 3. Tunnel 3 is almost completely filled in and is caved a short distance inside.
Lake Twenty-Two trail head starts right off the Mountain Loop Highway, after Blue Bridge and the Ranger Stations. It’s a intermediate trail that makes the hiker work for for the view to come. Totally 5.4 miles and an elevation climb of 1,300 ft, Lake Twenty-Two is a high mountain glacier lake that is calming as much as it is beautiful. There are many places to rest, fish, swim, picnic, and catch your breath after the up hill hike.
There are many more hikes through out the county and a great place to look over more hikes is Craig Romano’s Hiking Snohomish County guide.
Other Top Hikes in Snohomish County
– Spencer Island
– Green Mountain
– Boulder River
– Goat Lake
– Wallace Falls
– Lake Serene