• Activities:

    Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    5.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2200 Feet

Forest
Scenic

Get amazing views of central Washington and the Puget Sound area. If you hit the trail early enough, you might get the views from the Lookout all to yourself.

Hike the well-maintained Mount Pilchuck trail through old-growth forest and boulder fields. At the top, you'll reach a lookout tower perched on Mount Pilchuck. Pilchuck sits on the western edge of the Cascades, which offers up amazing panoramic views once you reach the summit.

Pilchuck is is one of the most popular hikes in the area, so if you want it a little more on the empty side, be sure to get an early start on the trail. If you opt to hike in early summer, make sure you bring the proper gear and that you're prepared for some snow on the ground or muddier conditions.

Pack List

  • Hiking Gear
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Northwest forest pass (for parking at trailhead)
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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Reviews

Overall rating: 

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Not too hard of a hike and the view is incredible. From mountains to the ocean, you can see it from the fire lookout at the top.

6 months ago
6 months ago

We did a sunrise hike this morning (Aug. 20) and it was magical. Definitely bundle up for the hike as it was only about 50 degrees when we started up the mountain at 4am. We got to the top around 5:45am, which was just enough time to see the red glow start peaking over the mountains. I wish we had brought a thermos of coffee to share while watching the sunrise but other than that, it was perfect! You might want to bring a dry shirt and sweatshirt to change into at the top to stay warm. It can get windy up at the lookout. You can either watch the sunrise from the lookout or just pick a rock that faces east. Either way, you won't be disappointed.

6 months ago
6 months ago

Fun hike!! Super crowded, like everyone tells you. And quite windy at the top, I had a few layers on. We were also there in the AM, maybe it warms up later? It was totally clouded in when we went but despite the fog coverage...it's a pretty cool hike. I'd recommend trying to camp in the fire lookout! Looked pretty awesome!

7 months ago
7 months ago

Fun hike, steep but short, it almost feels like cheating to get such views! However, on a cloudy day you are out of luck, there will be absolutely nothing to see at the top. Also fun to glissade down with the spring snow!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

My favorite hike

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I hiked Mount Pilchuck today and while it was raining and I didn't have a view from the lookout, the hike itself was fun and challenging. I will definitely do this again on a better day.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I wanted to take my visiting boyfriend on a hike that would show him the best Seattle's mountains have to offer and Pilchuck did not disappoint. We're college seniors and love challenging hikes with great views and this mountain was exactly what we were looking for. Never anything too crazy although there was still about 100-foot stretch of snow left in mid-June (definitely not something that should deter you) but the mud was a bit much-don't wear your nice gym shoes. Also BRING BUG SPRAY. But besides those two things, I could not recommend this hike more, and the mountaintop-lookout is really awesome.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This hike is a personal favorite of mine, whether it be during the summer or the winter. Some of the best views of the major Washington volcanoes can be seen from the top, with minimal hiking distance compared to other nearby hikes with similar views.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Scott Kranz Explorer

Full-time commercial and editorial photographer specializing in outdoor sports, lifestyle, landscapes, and travel photography.

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