To be completely accurate, this should really be called “39-1/2 hikes mostly in Western Washington with a handful of trips across the mountains and to a few other states and a couple different countries,” but that didn’t have the same ring to it. Partway through November I realized I was close to doing 40 unique hikes in 2014. I always love a good milestone, so I did some research to come up with some hikes I hadn’t already done this year that I could do in the winter to hit my 40. On December 26 I finally reached it.
Here are the 40 hikes.
Wallace Falls (Gold Bar) – My traditional New Year’s Day hike and a go-to rainy day hike with lots of waterfall views.
Lake Serene (Index) – The bright blue lake of summer is gorgeous in a different way in the winter – just be careful of the icy waterfalls.
Poo Poo Point (Issaquah) – Good steep winter workout hike that’s mostly in the forest so you don’t get rained on too much.
West Tiger 3 (Issaquah) – Also a workout hike that I don’t do very much anymore since discovering Poo Poo Point. (But sure glad I did it once this year to get my 40 hikes)
Uetliberg (Zurich) – Quick steep hike I try to do when I arrive in Zurich to beat jetlag. A restaurant and nice views of Lake Zurich and the Alps await at the top.
Ingalls Creek (Blewett Pass) – The trail is pretty flat and boring, but the wildflowers put on a show in late spring.
Rattlesnake Ledge (North Bend) – I hike this year around, but I like doing it after work when the days are longer. Steep and quick and crowded.
Annette Lake (Snoqualmie Pass) – I think this is one of the first I-90 alpine lake hikes to become snow-free each year, and it’s also one of the quicker and easier ones.
Iron Bear (Blewett Pass) – This isn’t a destination hike for me, but it was a good detour on the way to Leavenworth.
Forch-Kusnacht (Zurich) – A 15 minute train ride from Zurich, this hike starts in farmland, passes through a waterfall-filled forest and ends in Tina Turner’s village.
Meilen-Kusnacht (Zurich) – Passes lots of farms with million dollar views. Lucky cows.
Bandera Mountain (Snoqualmie Pass) – The views and beargrass in June are almost worth the horrendous parking situation.
Heather Lake (Mountain Loop Highway) – Good alternative if you drive all the way out there and Mt. Pilchuck is socked in.
Little Si (North Bend) – Another go-to rainy day and after work hike.
Pratt Lake (Snoqualmie Pass) – Long and boring. Next time I’ll do Granite Mountain, which shares the same trailhead.
Oyster Dome (Chuckanut Drive) – Great views of the San Juans. Hiking poles help with the steep scramble at the end.
Melakwa Lake (Snoqualmie Pass) – It’s hard to beat this lake on a sunny morning with no wind.
Lake 22 (Mountain Loop Highway) – Quick, pretty hike that can be done most of the year.
West Fork Foss River and Lakes (Skykomish) – Five sparkling alpine lakes in one hike (albeit a 14+ mile one). One of my favorite hikes of the year.
Blanca Lake (Skykomish) – I’m still waiting to see the lake show off its famous electric blue color, but it was still nice the day I visited.
Tatoosh Ridge (Mt. Rainier) – Wildflowers and biting flies galore. DEET did not help me. I’ll wear pants next time.
Canyon South Rim Trail (Yellowstone) – Gorgeous views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, but stay away from the ledge – people fall to their death with some regularity.
Jenny Lake (Grand Tetons) – I took the lazy way by hiking around the lake to Inspiration Point and taking the boat back.
Swan Lake and Heron Pond Loop (Grand Tetons) – I did this in the afternoon, but in the morning the light would be perfect for beautiful pictures at Heron Pond with the Tetons in the background.
Surprise Lake (Stevens Pass) – A long hike and drive for what it is. I’d rather go to Lake Serene.
Rachel Lake and Rampart Ridge (Snoqualmie Pass) – Just over the east side of the pass, so this can be a good option when it’s cloudy on the west side.
Colchuck Lake (Leavenworth) – I happily drive five hours round trip to do this hike multiple times a year.
Hidden Lake Lookout (Marblemount) – First lucky person to claim the lookout each day gets to sleep in a bed with views like this.
Cinque Terre Coastal Trail (Italy) – As picturesque as advertised. Eat gelato in each of the five villages.
Park Butte (Concrete) – Extreme close ups of Mt. Baker if you take the Railroad Grade detour. Come in September for enough wild berries to make a cobbler when you get home.
Sahale Arm (Marblemount) – Stunning fall colors and mountains as far as the eye can see. Also has a frequently seen resident bear.
Lake Ingalls (Blewett Pass) – A perfect sunny day, golden larches, mountain goats galore and a social marmot made this one of my favorite hikes of the year.
Cutthroat Pass (North Cascades Highway) – Hiked this the day after the first snow, but there were still good fall colors. Hike the ridge past the pass for the best views.
Yellow Aster Butte (Mt. Baker) – Fall color extravaganza, but the winds were so strong I almost got blown off the butte.
Padilla Bay (Burlington) – This is probably good if you like birds, but I was bored.
Snow and Gem Lakes (Snoqualmie Pass) – Always super crowded in the summer, it was also super crowded on a warm and sunny November day.
Lahaina Pali (Maui) – Expansive views, but no shade to speak of (unless you count this tree I guess).
Waihee Ridge (Maui) – Gives you a good view of parts of the island most people don’t see unless they take a helicopter tour. Grab a walking stick before you start climbing to help you with the muddy inclines.
Middle Fork Snoqualmie River (Upstream) (North Bend) – A long drive down a bumpy road delivered me to a boring hike – but it was #39. Just one more to go.
Mason Lake (Snoqualmie) – I’m counting this as my 40th hike of the year, but it should probably only count as half since most of the hike shares a trail with Bandera Mountain. Nevertheless, it was a pretty snow-covered hike right before a big snowstorm that likely made it unhikable until next spring.