Hey fellow PNW hikers,
I hope you had the chance to get out and on a trail or two during the past few days and enjoy this exceptionally warm and sunny stretch of April, as we are back to colder temps and rain for Saturday through Tuesday. Anastasia's excellent reminder on avalanche safety from last weekend is just as important this weekend, as many of the search and rescue organizations are continuing to report high levels of risk due to so much recent snow and this week's warm weather.
My advice is to steer clear of the higher elevations and mountains in the Cascades (unless you know the areas and have the experience and skills to navigate them) and instead consider some of our great trails in the foothills and surrounding areas.
I'm itching to get to spots I haven't been to since last year, like Granite Mountain, Bandera Mountain, and McClellan Butte, but it is still too early in my book. My first recommended trail this weekend is Mount Teneriffe in North Bend--a challenging alternative with nearly 3,800 feet of gain and just shy of 14 miles round-trip. Reports from the past few days looks great, with snow on the final couple of miles that can be crossed with microspikes and trekking poles.
If you are searching for a trail less intense than Teneriffe or want to check out some new scenery, head up to South Lost Lake Trail in Larrabee State Park, which is about 90 minutes north of Seattle in no traffic. The trail is 9 miles round-trip with 1,950 feet of gain. There are stunning views of waterfalls, Lost Lake, and Fragrance Lake, the Samish Bay, and more in this lush coastal forest.
If you enjoy getting farther away from civilization and into spotty- or no-cellphone range, give Boundary West Trail a shot. It is about 2 hours and 30 minutes from Seattle and starts very close to Coldwater Lake near Mt. St. Helens (a favorite area of mine!). The trail is 10 miles round-trip and gains about 2,400 feet.
Happy hiking this weekend--have fun exploring and be safe!