Ultimate Guide: Mount Pilchuck Trail in Washington For 2022

mount pilchuck trail

Are you searching for an adventurous hiking spot to visit next year? If so, then Mount Pilchuck Trail might be what you are looking for. Mount Pilchuck is a 9.7 kilometer highly traveled trail, situated in Snohomish County, Washington, that has gorgeous wild flora. It is an extremely famous hiking spot within the North Cascades though it is a quite challenging, rocky ascent to the highest point.

The historical vantage tower is a sight of charm however, the million-dollar scenes are the biggest lure. You can view mountains far away on a sunny day. You are surrounded by Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, as well as the Olympics which is a breathtaking view.

 Mount Pilchuck trail is most popular for hiking, cycling, ice skating, including wildlife walks, and is ideal to visit from June to October. All these tempting factors make Mount Pilchuck be among the country’s busiest trails and you will find many tourists on your way.

To see a further breakdown of the Mount Pilchuck Trail , please visit the official page for the Washington Trails Association. Link to the relevant page on wta.org for the hike.

Mount Pilchuck Trail History

mount pilchuck trail

Mount Pilchuck Trail is situated in Mount Pilchuck National Park however, the land around the peak, such as the visitor center is inside the Mountain Baker-Snoqualmie Wilderness Area. Although it is inside the national park, the path leading to the top is entirely supported by the United States Forestry Department due to the contract. It is one of the most famous hikes in the state because of its quick accessibility as well as the incredible sights of the Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound.

Even though this trail is reasonably small about 5.5 miles, you would reach 2,300 feet within 2.75 miles which is a fairly steep elevation.  Additionally, the top 1.5 miles is quite rough. The top’s elevation is about 5,300 feet. Before late summer, the path to the top is completely surrounded by ice.

At Mount Pilchuck’s top, an ancient fire watchtower is present that is currently utilized as a travelers’ tent. This former viewpoint is mutually handled by the Washington National Parks as well as the Everett group of The Mountaineers. Originally built in 1921 (approximately one decade after the first hillside trail was developed), this fire watch tower presently stands as a prideful historic site for the neighborhood. During the years, this roof has experienced many redevelopments and remains to be among Washington’s most famous and also a demanding lunch place.

Getting to The Trail

mount pilchuck trail

Going to the Mount Pilchuck trail is indeed a long drive but, the way is quite adventurous and you’ll surely enjoy the journey. Firstly, you must have your car because the trail is not within walking distance. Do not rely on phone GPS as it may be incorrect. It is recommended to use a paper map to reach here.

To begin with, you have to reach Granite Falls. After reaching Granite Falls on Highway 92, you would find a traffic circle. Make exit number 2 and turn to Quarry Road. Stay on Quarry Road for 2 miles. You would find another traffic circle, however, drive straight. After two miles, you will be on the Mountain Loop Highway. On this highway, turn left and continue for 10 miles to reach the Verlot Tourists Center. Move past this center and drive for another mile. After you go past a bridge, turn right onto the elevated Mount Pilchuck Road. 

After turning right, search for a display implying that the path is FR 42. Continue on this road for 6.8 miles and finally, you will see the parking space which is on the side of the trailhead and restrooms. The initial 4.7 miles of this path are bumpy and harsh while, the 1.9 miles on the end are smooth. To enter the parking space, you will need a Northwest Forestry Permit. After that, you will start your hiking.

Leave the trailhead then get to the intersection immediately. The left track is a wrong route, so turn right and let your feet soaked while crossing a river, to reach Mount Pilchuck. You will find the “Going into the Pilchuck State Park” label just after a half-mile. This is not a dangerous trail in the start however, in the later journey, you may struggle with rugged, icy, and damp weather seasonally, so be ready for everything. Your hiking journey has begun.

Park Facilities and Regulations


mount pilchuck trail

The Mount Pilchuck Trail offers many facilities which are appreciated by the tourists. These facilities make the journey a bit less challenging. The employees there are quite cooperative and help the visitors. They give a warm welcome and to the visitors.

In summers, from April 1 to Sept 30, the timings for the Pilchuck State Park are 6:30 am to dusk. While in winters, from Oct 1 to March 31, the timings are 8 am.

The Tourists Center facilitates the visitors by letting them know about the rules as well as the warnings while hiking. Restrooms and shelters are available for the visitors to take rest while hiking.

Mount Pilchuck Trail offers an open picnic area where visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views in their surroundings. A camping area is also provided where tourists can do camping and enjoy at night while looking at the sky.

In winters, visitors are allowed to do snowshoeing to experience a different form of hiking. While in other seasons, many activities can be done like bird watching, wildlife sighting, peak climbing, rock scrambling, and much more to make this the best journey.

There are many lakes on Mount Pilchuck trail and surrounding trails where you are allowed to do fishing. Fishers especially come here to catch fishes as a variety of fishes can be found here. The Mount Pilchuck Trail also offers a huge parking space where you can park your cars safely. 

There are many trails to explore with many facilities like the Lake 22 trail, Heather Lake trail, and many others.


One strict rule is the protection of animals, plants, park facilities, symbols, benches, and other structural elements. Abolition or harm of any sort is forbidden. Shooting, feeding of animals, or fetching wood from the forest is illegal.

Do not leave valuable items in your vehicles. In case of any loss, the staff will not be responsible. Also, it is recommended not to bring pets with you as they are not allowed inside the State Park.

mount pilchuck trail

Let’s take a look at the following trailheads and routes to help navigate the Mount Pilchuck Trail:

Heather Lake Trail

Heather Lake Trail is a trail that is 8.0 kilometers and is situated close to Granite Falls, Washington. It includes a lake and has been graded as moderate. This trail provides a range of choices for activities and is an ideal one to hike from May to November.

The path towards the trailhead has big traffic jams. Right outside the parking lot, there’s a fairly good ascent. In some places, it helps to breathe during hiking.  The path contains hard and big rocks so solid shoes are beneficial. The lake is gorgeous. There’s a massive rock overlooking the water, making it a perfect spot to sit down at noon to relax. If the actual Mount Pilchuck Trail is quite difficult for you then, you should first try the Heather Lake Trail.

Pinnacle Lake Trail

Pinnacle Lake Trail is a trail that is 6.8 kilometers situated close to Granite Falls, Washington and is categorized as mild. The route is used mainly for climbing. It is a quick but harsh climb to two tiny lakes. The first lake, named Bear Lake, is less than half a mile near Mount Pilchuck on a pleasant trail. Conversely, when on the path to Pinnacle, you encounter a rough, rooty, and soggy mess that is slowly rising and slowly descending. A nice peaceful small lake surrounded by stones and woods, generally not populated is the bonus of your hard work.

Lake 22 Trail

Lake 22 Trail is a highly crowded trail that is 11.3 kilometers and is listed as mild. This trail is mostly intended for climbing, hiking, and wildlife trips, and is ideal to use from May to November. The trail starts quite smoothly as it progresses via the woods of Western Hemlock, Valley Hemlock, Elm, as well as Crimson Cedar trees and is properly protected. There has been a lot of work to create such a trail that could survive the conditions. Rock steps, dirt crossings, and pikes contributed to making this path as safe as possible such that it will not be inaccessible to hikers.

Final Thoughts

The Mount Pilchuck trail is a lovely day hike and among the best hiking spots of Washington. This trail is a bit challenging for the visitors however, once the visitors make their way to the top, they are rewarded with breathtaking views of the surroundings. Mount Pilchuck  trail offers lots of amenities and has lots of trail options to choose from. You can choose your desired trail and have the best experience. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and plan your next trip to Mount Pilchuck with your family now!

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