By Renae James
For the Globe-Times
Summer is coming to an end but that does not mean the hiking season has to.
There are plenty of beautiful trails to explore even into October. Go early to avoid crowds and ensure a parking spot. That is especially true for weekend hikers. But your best bet is to plan your hike for a weekday if possible.
I am excited to share three more hikes that I have recently enjoyed.
•Cherry Creek Falls: This was a pleasant surprise, so close to home yet I had never heard about it before. It’s in Duvall, only a 45-minute drive. The unmarked trailhead is on the corner of Mountain View Road and N Cherry Valley Road. Look for the metal gate. Stay on the main trail for the easiest route. Cherry Creek Falls is a family friendly, 5-mile roundtrip hike with little elevation. The falls are a great place to cool off and let your kids and dogs splash about. The water is not deep so you can walk up to the falls. No pass is needed.
•Heather Lake: This trail is off the Mountain Loop Highway. Follow the Pilchuck Access Road that is 1 mile from the Verlot Ranger Station and another 1.5 miles up the access road. You will need to have the Northwest Forest Pass. Buy one at the ranger station. This hike is 5-miles roundtrip, but it does have 1,000 feet of elevation with switchbacks and some rocks and roots to maneuver. The forest is plush and the lake breathtaking. I recommend taking the extra mile to hike around the lake. The opposite side of the lake is filled with huge moss-covered boulders and marshland vegetation. There may still be some snow higher up, as well as some waterfalls cascading off of peaks.
•Little Si: The little brother to Mount Si and is much easier to hike. It’s in the North Bend area and is a 4.7-mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 1,300 feet. It starts off uphill then flattens out only to have a climb again toward the end. There are several spots with incredible views but the best is at the summit.You can see the valley and on a clear day the surrounding peaks of Mount Si and Mount Washington. A Discovery Pass is required.
Check out WTA.org or Alltrails.com for more hiking options. I hope you are feeling inspired now to Take a Hike.
Renae James writes a hiking column for this newspaper that runs periodically.