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Video Review of Guidebook Beyond Mount Si, The Best Hikes within 85 Miles of Seattle.

8 Years of Seasonal Weekends
7,551.2 — Miles Driven
576.2 — Miles Hiked
157,555 — Vertical Feet Climbed
70 of the Best Hikes
all in our back yard
within 85 Miles of Seattle
(2250.8 average vertical gain per hike)BeyondMtSiChallenge

The Beyond Mount Si Challenge…

Western Washington is a special place with a wealth of hiking adventure opportunities.

The Beyond Mount Si challenge is a culmination of 8 years of seasonal weekend hikes (as many hikes are only accessible in Late July-October).
In 2005 we began this adventure carrying newborn twin girls in baby backpacks.  Modifying our strategy and techniques along the way (letting dad run ahead on the more difficult trails) by September 7th 2013 we hiked the Thunder Mountain Loop to complete all 70 hikes in the Beyond Mount Si guidebook.

Beyond Mount Si by John Zilly
This guide published by Seattle-Based Adventure Press features 70 of the best hikes within 85 miles of Seattle.  Hikes can be selected by geographical location or difficulty.  The difficulty system is based on one mountain being easy to four mountains as difficult to the epic 5-mountain rating.  There is good background information on safety and preparation.  After completing many hikes I enjoyed the ease of browse-abilty of difficulty, distance and elevation gain to determine a good weekend objective.  Driving directions provide good detail for those locations that drop out of gps range (most hikes fall into this category).  I love the Ira Spring hiking guides, but have to say the quality of selections and ease of use make this my favorite regional hiking guide.

Nice work John!

The Lay of the Land

There are several prominent drainages running  east to west from Mt Rainier in the South to the North Cascades.  Most hikes in this guidebook are on the west side of the Cascade Mountain Range and are accessible via 3 major east -west pass crossings (Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass, Mountain Loop Highway).
From the South Going North
Northern Mt Rainier National Park –  Highway 410
• Norse Wilderness directly north of Mt Rainier National Park – Highway 410
• Cedar river watershed closed to hiking due to security of the water source for the City of Seattle and southern communities
Snoqualmie Pass – Central Cascades, Multiple alpine lakes, drainages, waterfalls and peaks – Interstate 90
Stevens Pass – Multiple alpine lakes, drainages, waterfalls and peaks – Highway 2
Mountain Loop Highway – Southern Part of the North Cascades, Multiple alpine lakes, drainages, waterfalls and peaks – Extending from Granite Falls north to Darrington.  Does not pass east to west due to the Glacier Peak Wilderness (Washington’s only wilderness volcano) east of the mountain loop highway.
At this point hikes to the west of Seattle often necessitate ferry travel and are not documented due to travel time.  See 60 hikes within 60 Miles: Seattle for more seaside trails.
Deeper Tracks
There are a handful of very popular hikes in the Cascades near Seattle.  These are like the top 40s hits and can be so popular in the summer months that the parking lots overflow with excited hikers.  Part of the goal of this guide is to introduce you to the “deeper tracks.”  Sure Mount Si, Snow Lake and Kendall Catwalk are popular for a reason, but after checking those off the list you may find that McClellan Butte, Cutthroat Lakes, and The Necklace Valley are just as spectacular hikes without the throngs of people.
With so many hikes to choose from, here are a handful of our favorites from Beyond Mount Si.
• Best Hikes with young kids –
Twin Falls, the waterfalls are even greater on a rainy day.
Barclay Lake, with boardwalks, stream crossings and a swim beneath the impressive Mount Baring.
This short hike is a sure win with little ones.
Denny waterside on the way to Melakwa Lake – Just go during the week or off-season.  With little parking space and high-demand this trail-head fills up in a hurry.
Lake Dorothy – A beautiful hike with a grand impressive Alpine Lake at the finish.
Green-water lakes, not as popular, but lots of interesting waterfalls, soft tuff trail and multiple stream crossings to keep kids entertained along the way.
• Best Alpine Ambiance –
Lake Serene, thanks to its ease of access from Seattle. The first half of the trail to bridal veil falls is mellow, the second isn’t but puts you in a radical alpine lake basin below the impressive North Norwegian buttress of Index peak.  Great in 3 out of 4 seasons.
Gothic and Both Glacier Basins (beneath Mount Rainier and Monte Christo) also are winners in this category challenging hikes but are certainly worth the effort.
• Most Spectacular Lake –
Lake Blanca, with teal water and an expansive view across to Keys and Columbia peak this is a dramatic alpine backdrop with many high adventure route possibilities from here…
• Most impressive Trail –
Reminiscent of the misty mountains in the Lord of the Rings, looking up the craggy Mount Pugh it looks as there is no possible way a trail that is passable to the summit of the peak.  It’s even harder to imagine load carrying donkeys that used this path to build the fire lookout on top.  But continue on up the 5,000+ vertical feet and sure enough a magical trail unfolds.
• Best Shoulder Season Hikes –
Thanks to lower elevations, Cougar, Tiger and Squawk Mountain Trail systems are great bets for year round hiking (even better trail running).  Other low elevation easy access treks include the Boulder River Trail, Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River as well as White-chuck Bench.
Well, that sums up our review of Beyond Mount Si, so grab a copy your own and come back to Best of the Northwest for videos of many of these and other classic NW trails.
We would like to thank everyone that was a part of this adventure and look forward to many more in our great Pacific Northwest backyard.
So lace, strap, buckle on your footwear on and let’s get out the door and explore the Pacific Northwest!
 Buy the book here
Check out our video review of the Beyond Mount Si Challenge

Beyond Mount Si by John Zilly Adventure Press

The Best Hikes Within 85 miles of Seattle
By John Zilly
Adventure Press
Seattle, WA
Interstate 90
1. Wilderness Peak
2. De Leo Wall
3. Anti-Aircraft Peak
4. Bear Ridge
5. Squak Mountain
6. West Tiger Rambler
7. West Tiger Mountain 3
8. Talus Rocks
9. Dwight’s Way
11. Twin Falls
12. Little Mount Si
20. Anette Lake
21. Talapus Lake
22. Pratt Lake
27. Snoqualmie Tunnel
28. Alaska Lake
29. Margaret Lake
Highway 2
32. Boulder Lake
33. Big Greider Lake
45. Lake Valhalla
Mountain Loop Highway
47. Heather Lake
48. Lake Twentytwo
57. Peek-a-boo Lake
58. White Chuck Bench
Highway 410
61. Federation Forest
63. Lost Lake
64. Snoquera Falls
65. Noble Knob
68. Glacier Basin-Mount Rainier
69. Upper Palisades Lake
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