A selection of hikes to cure those COVID blues
No one can lock down forever. With COVID-19 cancelling many travel plans and typical summer activities, local residents have become creative in finding safer ways to stay active and fit. Luckily, Washington state offers many hiking trails for public enjoyment, and hiking remains one of the lowest-risk activities for spreading the virus.
We asked four Sammamish residents to share their favorite hikes.
Snow Lake near Snoqualmie Pass
I like Snow Lake a lot because the lake is stunning and it is super beautiful. The trail is pretty flat for a decent section, but then you go up and it is steep for a while. Then you glance over and “Oh my god look at this amazing lake!” But you have to go down in elevation to get to the lakeshore.
The downside is that the trail is really rocky, so a little bit more challenging in that regard. You do have to navigate and watch your footing a lot more when you do Snow Lake. Good shoes are a must.
I do feel like the trail is popular enough that you could definitely do it solo and not feel like if you get mauled by a bear, no one will ever find you. The trail is very well marked.
– Nicole Smelson, 36, long-term Sammamish resident and solo hiker
Exploring the Slopes of Alpental
I love Alpental, but I do not think it is a real trail. Basically, Alpental is across from Snow Lake and you just hike up the ski area. You walk up the slope, and then you can take pictures on the chair lifts. If you have skied there, it is really cool to see it without snow.
The hike is definitely difficult at times because of loose rocks, but it just depends on how high you go up. If you just go up to the first chair then it is not that bad, but if you keep going up it becomes less of a trail, so you kind of have to go through some stuff.
This hike is not super popular because it is not a set trail, so you do not really pass other people. It is more for exploring. You can walk around, experience it without snow, be with wildlife and see cool wildflowers. Since it is not a real trail, you should probably bring a buddy.
– Alex Schoenstadt, 16, student and recreational hiker
Lake Serene in Snohomish County
It is a little bit of a drive to Gold Bar off Highway 2, so the traffic is terrible getting there and getting out. But if you are willing to do the commute, Lake Serene is probably my favorite hike in Washington. It is pretty popular, but not as bad as Poo Poo Point or Rattlesnake Ledge. A Northwest Forest Pass is required.
It is pretty difficult at 8 miles and 3,000 feet of elevation gain, which means it is the same length but steeper than Big Si, which is another pretty popular hike. The trail is not particularly treacherous. There is a fork in the trail that leads to Bridal Veil Falls, so you have to pick the route that leads to the lake. However, the falls is not that far out of the way, so I would recommend seeing both.
It is hard when you live in a place like Washington to think of a hike that really stands out. But Lake Serene stuck out in my head as having something special to offer in terms of the views.
– Ben Terry, 22, Sammamish resident of 21 years and travel hiker
Never the Same Hike
I have a few.
- One of my favorites is Colchuck Lake and that is in the beginning of the Enchantments.
- Another good lake hike is Hidden Lake Lookout in the North Cascades. That one is really pretty.
- A good hike for Mt. Rainier views is Tolmie Peak – also pretty if you can get good weather for Rainier.
- Black Peak is also a good one to do. There is no permit required to ascend. It is right off of Heather Maple Pass Loop and then tagging the peak is only a couple hours hike from the campsite. I try not to do the same hike, but I did do Black Peak twice because it was so pretty and this year we did it earlier in the season and there was snow on the ground which made it even prettier.
All of these hikes are on a designated trail, so I have never felt unsafe.
– Amy Nibert, 35, long-term Sammamish Resident and mountaineer