What: Mount Pilchuck State Park is a 1,893-acre day-use park known for its alpine terrain and its historic mountaintop lookout. The primary draw to this park is the 3-mile trail that climbs 2,224 feet to Pilchuck’s 5,324-foot summit. From the lookout, a 360-degree view includes the Cascades, the Olympics and Puget Sound.
When: Access to the park is typically open by May, but the trail to the summit is usually covered by snow until the middle of summer.
Where: East of Granite Falls in Snohomish County.
Getting there: Take Exit 194 on Interstate 5 and drive east on state Route 2, then north on state Route 9 to Granite Falls. Go east on Mountain Loop Highway 11 through Verlot to Forest Service Road 42. Continue 6.9 miles to the trailhead.
History: The U.S. Forest Service built the fire lookout on top of Mount Pilchuck in 1918. The lookout was staffed for more than 40 years. Washington State Parks ran a ski area here from 1957-60. The Forest Service still maintains the park’s trail and trailhead and the Everett Mountaineers to maintain the lookout.
Cost: A $5 per day or $30 per year Northwest Forest Pass is required for each vehicle because the trailhead is on Forest Service land.
Of note: Access to state parks will be free on Sept. 29, National Public Lands Day. In addition to its scenic hike, the park also lures rock climbers and bird-watchers.