Snowshoe to Mount Pilchuck Lookout

Washington Mount Pilchuck Trail

  • Activities:

    Photography, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Winter

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    5.4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2300 Feet

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest

Trek to amazing views of the Puget Sound and the surrounding Cascade Mountain range. At the summit, relax in the historic lookout to escape the cold and enjoy lunch.

Snowshoe or hike through old-growth forest and snowfields to reach the summit of Mount Pilchuck. Along the trail you’ll catch glimpses of the phenomenal views that lie ahead. The second half of the hike emerges from the forest and snakes through both boulder and snowfields. Be mindful of where the trail goes - especially if fresh snow or wind drifts have partially covered the way. Many hikers have gotten lost on the trail (in all seasons) so be sure to register in the hikers log at the trailhead and also check in with a trustworthy friend before departing.

Despite Pilchuck being a very busy summer hike, you’ll typically only encounter a handful of people during the winter. The lookout will likely be vacant allowing you to eat lunch and enjoy the panoramic views in peace.

The lookout door might appear to be locked upon first inspection, but a warped floor panel is to blame. Make sure the latch is fully depressed, give the door a firm push, and it will come right open!

If the snow is light, the trailhead parking should be accessible. This is subject to change if heavy snowfall occurs, so be prepared to walk partially up the Mount Pilchuck Access Road if the road is obstructed. The hiking trail is currently covered in compact snow/ice, but is easy to walk on, with or without snowshoes.

DIRECTIONS:
  • 48.0621 N, -121.8107 W
From Everett:
  • Take Highway 2 towards Lake Stevens
  • Exit left towards Lake Stevens
  • Turn left on WA-9 N. In about 1 mile turn right onto WA-92 towards Granite Falls
  • WA-92 becomes Quarry road, which then becomes the Mountain Loop Highway
  • Remain on the Mountain Loop Highway for 14.8 miles
  • After passing the ranger station, keep an eye out for NF-4020 or "Mount Pilchuck Access Road"
  • Drive 6.3 miles up this gravel road and you will arrive at the trailhead

Pack List

  • Snowshoes or boot chains
  • Insulated/waterproof boots
  • Gaiters
  • Trekking poles
  • Warm beanie
  • Jacket
  • Pants
  • Gloves
  • 10 Essentials
  • Lunch
  • Water
  • Camera.
  • Northwest Forest Pass
Optional:
  • Avalanche beacon
  • Shovel
  • Probe
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Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

This was a great hike. It definitely gets slippery when it still has snow. Totally worth the views from the tower at the top.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Hello, Awesome photos! I was wondering where a backpacker might set up camp along this trail? Have you camped on the summit?

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Love love love this mountain!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Stephen Bellrichard

Outdoors > Indoors. Enjoys photography, skiing, and exploring of all kinds.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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