Located near North Bend and along the I-90 corridor, Granite Mountain has become one of my favorite local conditioning hikes. The trail's 3800 ft elevation gain in just over 4 miles makes it a great training hike for higher peaks such as Mt Baker, Mt Adams, or Mt Rainier.
The views along the way as well as at the top are simply amazing. I love hiking up to the lookout in the Fall as the contrast between the autumn foliage and the fresh snow looks stunning. In Winter, it is extremely prone to avalanches hence only recommended for very experienced avalanche terrain adventurers.
Sadly, last year, one of those avalanches claimed the life of a local conservationist and philanthropist, Doug Walker. Doug was "a leading civic and conservation activist who helped usher in a new era of charitable giving and commitment to access to outdoor recreation". “To say Doug was an ‘experienced hiker’ understates and mischaracterizes who he was,” said Martha Kongsgaard, chairman of the leadership council of the Puget Sound Partnership. “He was a climber’s climber. He lived to share the joy of the high alpine with anyone, from his climbing partner, daughter Kina, to the unsuspecting junior development director of the boards he served on, to the inner-city youth who were, thanks to Doug’s persistent efforts, able to experience the great gifts of the wilderness his beloved ‘wild nearby’ had to offer.”
My gratitude to people like Doug is beyond words...
"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.