Hiking in the Pacific Northwest (PNW)

Swapna M
7 min readMar 6, 2023

My previous post about my commencement into hiking gave me immense pleasure in putting my love for this sport into tangible words. So, this post is another one in the #hiking series where I try to delineate my feelings as I walk along these pnw trails.

Snoqualmie Falls + Tokul Creek Trestle trail

1.4 miles out & back, 334 feet elevation gain

Jan 2023 started with some serious hikes as covered in my previous post, however come February, I ventured into a mild, almost a short stroll at Snoqualmie Falls. It was picturesque, with many out of towners and tourists taking a leisurely stroll on the mud trail which ends at a lookout from where you can get a panoramic view of the falls. P.S. Twin Peaks, the TV show was shot in this area, with a prominent focus on the hotel at the top of the falls.

Also, this hike was with a few of my colleagues, and helped me to get to know them outside the normal working environment. We appended another stroll on the Snoqualmie Valley trail further up the road, that takes you to the Tokul Creek Trestle (bridge) that provides unparalleled views of the gurgling Snoqualmie River down below.

Otter & Big Creek Falls

9 miles out & back, 793 feet elevation gain

I wanted to venture into a full length/day hike, which made me sign up for Otter and Big Creek Falls the next weekend, again along the Snoqualmie River trail. Now the skies that weekend were pregnant with grey and black overtones, but I thought PNW is always this gloomy, so let me put away my fears and not back-off from my commitment. Little did I know that this relatively flat trail is going to give me heartache the entire way through.

We started off pretty well, with a few patches of snow here and there along the beginning of the trail, and after realizing the wintry conditions, I immediately got cozy with my thick ski gloves. However, I forgot to get my gaiters for this hike, my micro-spikes weren’t tested through by me, my winter jacket was “water-repellant” instead of “waterproof”, and lastly, I didn’t get an extra pair of gloves thinking my super-thick ski gloves should take me all the way through without much of a hitch. Oh boy, how wrong was I!

My micro-spikes kept coming off during the hike, but worse than that was the trail — slushy with the constant dribbling of rain, slow gnawing of the snow the further we went along the trail, with many patches covered in at least 5–6 inches of snow, and small rivulets running off along some rocky gravel in certain portions, where you had no other way out than to walk on the watery surface, thus soaking your shoes if you did it several times, at several places. So, with these conditions in place, I trudged along with my fellow hikers, and even reached the Big Creek Falls (Otter Falls were closed off due to snow). But my boots and gloves (+ the winter jacket) were soaked through and through, my fingers and toes frozen, and I was scared to get hypothermia. I galloped on the way back through the forest in record time, with the sole motivation to reach some dry ground and get out of my gloves/boots. Fortunately, I didn’t get any frostbite, but it was one hell of an adventure which I wish to forget. But I would definitely recommend this trail in some fairer weather conditions, mostly flat through an evergreen forest, with the Snoqualmie river gurgling instep with yours.

Little Si (3x)

4.4 miles out & back, 1187 feet elevation gain

Now Little Si is something that I’ve been wanting to do since ages. It’s a short and sweet hike, challenging at the later part of the trail, and calming along a shaded forested route mid-way. We went here this March, excited to get a quick workout on a Saturday morning and come back in time for a scrumptious lunch. The hike was as expected, serene and soul-gratifying, with some winds cascading down on us at the outcrop up-top. We found some cute doggies along the way, which kept us company with their puppy eye looks and wagging tails.

However, the electric car we were carpooling in, drained out of charge a few miles into our way back, and we were left stranded in the middle of an expressway. Ubers didn’t really function this far out of the city/town limits, so we had to rely on public transit (phew) to get home. A 3 hour total excursion turned into a 5.5 to 6 hour transit day trip. Ah dang, onto the next one!

However, maybe I really loved this short and fastidious hike, loved it enough to take another sojourn to this trail one month later with a friend. We saw some rock climbers going about their day clutching at invisible crevices in the rocks, along with some babies tucked neatly in their carriers hauled at the backs of their panting parents.

Snowshoe walk at Snoqualmie Pass

Now, this was a forest ranger-led walk along some snow covered lush forested trails in Snoqualmie for a couple of hours. We trudged along in flat snowshoes, listening to the wonders of the icy natural world around us.

Wallace Falls

5.6 miles out & back, 1300 feet elevation gain

Teneriffe Falls

5.6 miles out & back, 1600 feet elevation gain

Lake 22

6.8 miles out & back, 1473 feet elevation gain

Lynn Canyon Park — Twin Falls & 30 ft pool, Vancouver

2 miles out & back, 300 feet elevation gain

Cherry Creek falls

5.1 miles out & back, 636 feet elevation gain

Bridal Veil Falls & Lake Serene

8.2 miles out & back, 2690 feet elevation gain

Talapus and Olallie Lakes trail

6 miles out & back, 1223 feet elevation gain

Iron Horse Trail (Bike ride)

8 miles out & back

Granite Lakes trail

8.5 miles out & back, 2480 feet elevation gain

I hope you enjoy these little rambles as I write about various PNW hikes and trails I visit over the weekends. Feel free to comment below on your favourite hikes in the Washington state!