Mt. Si - Haystack

Perhaps the most popular trail in Washington, this route takes hikers up to Mt. Si's highest point.
Total Distance: 8.0 miles
Total Ascent: 3500ft
Highest Point: 4160ft
Difficulty: Hard
Our Hiking Time: 4h 15m
Required Permit: Discover Pass
To get there, you can take one of two exits off I-90. The traditional way is Exit 31, and heading into town past the outlet malls for about a mile until you hit North Bend Way and take a right. Alternatively, you can skip the crowds and take Exit 32 at 436th Ave. Again, you’ll head to the left into town and again hit the same North Bend Way, which you’ll take a left on. Either way you’re quickly going to come upon Mt. Si Road. Take Mt. Si Road for about two miles, first passing over the Middle Fork Snoqualmie, and then passing the parking lot, until reaching the well-signed Mount Si lot on the left. View Google Directions >>
Mount Si is incredibly popular, with a monstrous parking lot marginally able to service the 100,000 annual visitors to the trailhead. Because it's relatively easy to get to, many hikers use this the rigorous 4-mile ascent to the base of the Haystack in their endurance training for larger peaks.

The trail is almost entirely an uphill slog, broken up by two plateaus that act as rest areas. As you follow the switchbacks up first through scattered alder stands which then give way to second generation cedar and Douglas fir, you’ll first reach what Harvey Manning referred to as the “cliff viewpoint” with benches provided. Pushing past this, at the rough halfway point, you’ll reach the appropriately named Snag Flats, where dedicated trail volunteers built a boardwalk in 1994 to highlight one of the very few survivors of the 1910 Mount Si Fire: a 350 year old Douglas fir.

The trail itself is well-worn from all those feet, and fairly wide, if a bit rocky at times. We passed two trail loop options, the Talus Loop and Canyon Loop, which could offer some variety for the jaded Si climber. The scramble to the Haystack is very steep and requires a good grip on the rocks to hoist yourself up. Your struggle to the top is rewarded with a 360-degree panorama with visibility for dozens of miles – we could easily pick out Mt. Washington, Teneriffe, Rattlesnake, and Rainier to the south and east. To the west loomed the Olympics, as well as downtown Seattle, Bellevue and, as you swiveled north, Everett and Mt. Baker.


Mount Si is named for a local settler Josiah "Uncle Si" Merritt, though it had a name before then: Kelbts. The mountain features prominently in the Snoqualmie myth around the origin of fire. Fox and Blue Jay follow a cedar rope into the sky, where they trick Moon, known as Snoqualm, and steal the Sun from him. Fox returns from above bringing trees for the Cascades and placing the Sun in the sky. Enraged, Moon chases them down the rope only to have the rope break and tumble to the ground becoming Mount Si. It is said Snoqualm’s face can still be seen in the rocks of Si.
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