Spring is here, and it’s time to dust off those hiking boots. Sure, most high-elevation hikes are still buried under several feet of snow, but below are five day hikes near Tacoma that are snow-free and easy to reach (no chains or snow tires required).
Everybody knows about Little Si’s big brother, Mount Si, which often remains snow-topped well into early spring. But have you climbed nearby Little Si? At 1,550 feet, Little Si packs a challenging-but-doable punch. You’ll gain 1,300 feet and total 4.7 miles round-trip as you explore an enchanting forest of moss-covered boulders and towering evergreens. The summit provides great views of, among other landmarks, Mount Si and Haystack Rock. Discover Pass required.
Psst! This 4-mile round-trip hike is no secret. Even on a cloudy winter weekday, you’re likely to encounter your share of fellow hikers as you climb 1,160 feet to the 2,078-foot ledge. But there’s a reason tourists flock here: the views of the surrounding Cascades are stunning. If you’ve still got some energy left after visiting the first ledge, return to the main trail and continue climbing another few minutes. A second and third ledge are just a few minutes further up the trail, and you’ll likely have each one to yourself. No pass required.
Can’t stand sharing the trail with other hikers? Just a few hundred feet down the road from the Rattlesnake Ledge parking lot is the trailhead for Cedar Butte, a humble-yet-worthy alternative to its more popular neighbor. This easy 3.5-mile hike requires only 900 feet of climbing to the 1880-foot summit, where you’ll likely enjoy the peek-a-boo views alone. On your way back, make sure to take the detour to the Boxley Blowout, the sight of a logging community that was swept away when a dam gave way in 1918. Discover Pass required.
Parking can be tricky here, since only a few spaces are available at the trailhead. But when the lot is full, visitors can usually find parking on the street or at nearby Issaquah High. Though located in the heart of Issaquah, this 8-mile round-trip hike whisks you away from the urban sprawl and drops you at a paraglider launch point on the steep shoulder of Tiger Mountain. You’ll have to work to enjoy the views and the show, however. The climb to the 2,021-foot knoll is 1,858 feet. No pass required.
While Cougar and Tiger Mountains are the most popular of the Issaquah Alps, Squak Mountain remains a favorite of those looking for a little solitude. The 6.6-mile round-trip hike along the Central Peak Trail offers no payoff, just a cell tower at the top. It does, however, provide you with an ample workout: 1,684 feet of elevation gain on the way to its 2,024-foot summit. Be sure to visit the remains of the Bullitt fireplace, now all that’s left of the Bullitt family’s stately summer home that once stood on the mountain. Discover Pass required.
To learn more about hikes near Tacoma, visit the hiking blog, 3-Minute Hikes.