52 Hikes (is a) Challenge

There is this thing called the 52 Hike Challenge that basically challenges you to hike once a week.  I don’t like to set recreation goals because I have enough of those at work, and recreation is supposed to be fun.  However, for the past three years, when I got near the end of the year I found myself scrambling to meet a goal I never set when I realized I was nearing a milestone.  In 2014 it was 40 unique hikes/52 total hikes, last year it was 52 unique hikes and this year it was 52 NEW hikes.  This year was I finally ticked #52 off the list on December 18.  This year I also did 84 unique hikes and 96 total hikes for 753 miles and 195,500 feet in elevation gain (which almost made me want to find another 4,500 feet in the last 5 days of the year…).  I did have to take nearly four months off work to accomplish these stats, however.

Here are the hikes, with new hikes marked with an *.  All hikes are in Washington unless otherwise noted.

Kendall Peak Lakes* – I never found the turnoff to the lakes, but I had a very peaceful New Year’s morning snowshoe until I got near the bottom and found half of Seattle there.


Big Four Ice Caves* – Another peaceful snowshoe until the snowmobiles showed up.


Little Si – An old standby I used to do a lot more than I do now.

Gold Creek Pond* – Not normally a peaceful snowshoe, but it was on this day because I got up super early to do it before a 10am Seahawks playoff game.


Mt. Erie & Sugarloaf* – There are so many different numbered trails in this trail system that it wasn’t wise to do it without a map like I did, but I ended up finding my destinations anyway.


Hex Mountain* – A really pretty snowshoe outside Salmon La Sac that pairs well with Village Pizza in Roslyn afterwards.


Heather Lake – I think most of this trail is pretty ugly, but I love the lake, and the upper part of the trail was really pretty covered in snow.


Mazama Ridge* – A friend and I headed to Mt. Rainier with an iffy forecast for Super Bowl Sunday, but we were treated to a bluebird day and minimal crowds.


Poo Poo Point – After work sunset hike – which means 4:45 in early February.


Lake 22 – Lots of downed trees and water on the trail for this one after some winter storms.


Oyster Dome via Chuckanut – I love winter sunset hikes.  Bonus – first time seeing a drone on a hike.


Baldy Mountain* – Bad weather on the Westside drove me to central Washington for steep climbs and sun.  I also saw a dead porcupine, a first for me.


Rattlesnake Dance Ridge* – Short and very steep!


Eagle Creek (Oregon)* – I think this is like the Mt. Si of Portland – relatively close to the city and really crowded.  Fortunately I did it on a weekday.  The day after I hiked it, I saw a 48 Hours about a woman who fell/was pushed to her death from one of the many sheer drop offs along the trail.


Umtanum Creek Ridge – Crazy steep in parts – bring hiking poles or plan to do some crawling.


Cowiche Canyon* – Includes a trail to a winery!


Rattlesnake Ledge – A much-maligned local hike, but I like it – there aren’t too many crowds on a weekday evening.

West Tiger 3 – Not as maligned as Rattlesnake, but I like Rattlesnake better.

Oyster Dome/Lily Lake via Samish* – Easier than the Chuckanut approach, but not ideal to watch the sunset from Oyster Dome since the road closes an hour after sunset.  But the sunset view from the Samish Overlook parking lot is pretty good.


Columbia Hills State Park – Crawford Oaks & Dalles Mountain* – Amazing spring wildflower hike that is so far from Seattle I recommend staying in the Dalles the night before.  I think you can hike up from Crawford Oaks to Dalles Mountain, although I didn’t do it this way.


Fall Creek Falls* – Short hike that ends with an awesome waterfall – and a good way to stretch your legs on the long drive back to civilization from the hike above.


Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area* – Yes, this is what it’s really called, and it’s a pretty expansive trail system.  It would have helped if I picked up a map somewhere along the way.


Wallace Falls – Perfect hike for a rainy day or, in this case, a morning when I didn’t feel like driving halfway across the state to hike.


Dog Mountain* – Another contender for the Mt. Si of Portland, known for its wildflowers and views of the gorge.


Goat Lake – A longish hike that isn’t too difficult, has interesting scenery along the way and has a nice payoff at the lake.


Colchuck Lake – I used to like this hike more before it become everyone’s go to Eastern WA hike, but the lake and the surrounding mountains are still breathtaking even when its crowded.


Navaho Peak – Hate the climb from the pass to the peak, love the views.


West Tiger Cable Line* – This is a rite of passage for Seattle hikers that is primarily used as a training hike and one I’m in no rush to repeat!


Annette Lake – Relatively close, short and easy hike to an alpine lake.


Skyline Divide* – Great views of Mt. Baker and Shuksan from the top.


Bean Creek Basin and Earl Peak* – The climb to the peak and views are similar to Navaho Peak, but I like this one better because the overall hike is shorter and has more to see along the way.


Harry’s Ridge* – My first time to Mt. St. Helens since 2001 did not disappoint.  So many signs of life in the blast zone.


South Colderwater Ridge* – This trail has cool rusted out remnants of logging equipment that was in use when St. Helens erupted in May 1980.


Windy Ridge to Loowit Falls* – I could have in theory hiked to the falls from the one of the St. Helens trails I took the week before, but driving to the mountain from a different direction provided much different scenery.


Mason Lake – Another relatively close, short and easy hike to an alpine lake.


Cub, Fern and Odessa Lakes (Rocky Mountain NP)* – This hike was plan C for the day after the first one seemed too ambitious at elevation and minimal sleep and the second one would have required a very long wait for a shuttle to the trailhead.


Lake Ingalls – I’ve never not seen goats on this hike, but I saw about 50 this time – a record for me.

Surprise and Glacier Lakes* – I did this on a dreary morning so didn’t get the full effect of the beauty of these lakes.


Sahale Arm – The forecast didn’t pan out as planned, but things cleared up on the way down so I got to see the jaw dropping views for half my hike.  Plus I got to see a bear dart up the slope after running across the trail.


Green Mountain – Second day in the row the forecast didn’t pan out as planned but cleared up on the way down.  The marmots didn’t seem to mind.


Gothic Basin* – Not an easy hike, but it was worth the effort.


Sourdough Mountain* – This is touted as one of the best hikes in Washington, but I didn’t think so on a cloudy-ish day.  It’s really steep right off the bat.


Lake Ann* – This is not the Teanaway version, but rather the Mt. Baker version that has in-your-face views of Mt. Shuksan.


Tom, Dick & Harry Mountain (Oregon)* – Five volcano view from the top.


Jefferson Park (Oregon)* – Pretty lakes and flowers in the shadow of Mt. Jefferson.


Crater Lake (Oregon)* – I did several short hikes during a whirlwind day trip – lots of great scenery and hikes of varying degrees of difficulty.


Smith Rock – Monkey Face/Misery Ridge (Oregon)* – Who wouldn’t want to do hikes with these names?  Poles are recommended because there are steep and slippery parts.


Tumalo Mountain (Oregon)* – Decent sunset hike.


Green Lakes (Oregon)* – A nice and not too difficult hike that gets really busy on the weekends – the Mt. Si of Bend?


The Enchantments* – Last year I went half way and turned around.  This year I hiked through the whole thing.  There is no easy way to get there, but it’s worth it if you can.


Heather-Maple Pass Loop/Lewis Lake* – I’m not sure we figured out the most efficient way to get across the boulder fields leading to the lake, but the lake sure was pretty once we got there.


Johnston Canyon (Banff NP)* – Too crowded!


Larch Valley (Banff NP)* – I would love to see this when the larches are turning…but I can’t imagine the crowds.


Emerald Lake (Yoho NP)* – Plan B when crowds/traffic made Plan A impossible.


Plain of Six Glaciers (Banff NP)* – My favorite part of this hike was learning that young girls who lived at the teahouse kept a pet marmot named Charlotte for eight years.  As they say, don’t try this at home.


Mt. Edith Cavell (Jasper NP)* – Speaking of marmots, this trail had some good ones.


Valley of Five Lakes (Jasper NP)* – This was a hidden gem just outside of Jasper – a short easy hike past five pretty lakes.


Park Butte and Scott Paul Loop* – Park Butte never disappoints with incredible views of Mt. Baker (except for on a cloudy day, I guess), but with the flowers pretty much done, I didn’t think Scott Paul was that great.  But this hike did yield a quart of huckleberries that made a fantastic cobbler.


West Fork Foss River Lakes to Angeline* – This was my first (and only!) overnight backpacking trip ever, so I had the time to extend my hike to Angeline and get six lakes in rather than five.


Thunder Knob* – The primary benefit of this short hike is to stretch your legs on drive across Highway 20, but the views are much better right off the road from the Diablo Lake lookout a little further east.


Blue Lake – This is another Highway 20 leg-stretcher, but it’s a fantastic hike that I would do more often if it wasn’t a six hour round trip drive for such a short hike.


Hidden Lake Lookout – It had been a couple years since I had done this, so I managed to forget how harrowing the road is.  Beautiful views from the lookout, though.


Tuck and Robin Lakes – The Robin Lakes area deserves a lot more exploring than I’ve been able to devote to it on a long day hike.


Salema Secret Beaches (Portugal)* – It’s always an adventure when you’re doing a hike based on a poorly translated description from a tourism website.


Yellow Aster Butte – A classic fall color hike I did on the first day of fall.  Added bonus – enough berries for another cobbler!


Skyline Loop* – A classic Mt. Rainier hike, but I like some others better.  Cool views of mountains peaking above the fog though, and also a marmot-palooza.


Bench & Snow Lakes – Nice short and scenic hike to two lakes in MRNP.


Cutthroat and Granite Pass – Wonderful and not too difficult hike for larches, fall colors, mountain views and seeing PCT thru hikers near the end of their long trek.


Grasshopper Pass* – Another wonderful and not too difficult hike for larches, fall colors, mountain views and seeing PCT thru hikers even closer to the end of their long trek.  VERY long drive from Seattle though.


Mt. Mc Causland & Lake Valhalla via Smithbrook* – First hike of the year with fresh frozen berries trailside.


Snow & Gem Lakes – Third Snow Lake of the year.


Twin Falls – Good short hike after a good long rain.


Granite Mountain – I didn’t get around to doing this during beargrass season like I wanted to, but I did get to see some snow.


Tronsen Ridge* – I was more impressed with the drive to the trailhead than the hike itself.


Umtanum Creek Canyon – Drove to eastern Washington to chase the sun, but turns out it was sunny on the westside instead.


Lime Kiln Trail* – Decent and easy rainy day hike.


Kendall Katwalk – I did my little turn on the Katwalk.


Mt. Dickerman* – Ended up doing this on a perfect day – it reached the high 60s in early November!


Melakwa Lake – I focused on the smaller details since the lake just isn’t as pretty on a grey day.


Crystal Lakes*– A snow hike to a couple pretty lakes the weekend before Chinook Pass closed for the season.


Lake Serene – Once I saw photos of other “opt outside” day hikes, I sort of kicked myself for doing this one, but it’s tough to argue it’s not pretty beautiful.


Mount Pilchuck – No views this day, but the hike up was pretty in the snow and the frozen lookout was a worthy destination.


Amabilis Mountain* – This was my 52nd new hike this year.  My friend and I must have missed a turnoff somewhere, because after 6 miles of this 9.5 roundtrip hike, the summit was nowhere in sight. On the way back down, it became clear most people also didn’t know where they were going.


Franklin Falls – So glad I visited this the day before the Seattle Times featured it on the front page.


And for you Washington hiking geeks who are still reading, here are the hikes I did twice (or more) this year:  Kendall Peak Lakes, Little Si, Gold Creek Pond, Lake Ingalls (3x – I like goats!), some Mazama Ridge, some Skyline Loop, Sahale Arm, Oyster Dome, Enchantments (out and back the 2nd time), Blue Lake, Rattlesnake Ledge and Annette Lake.




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