Mount Si is impossible to miss. The 4,167-foot mountain in North Bend provides an incredible backdrop for the city, and a “thigh burning” hike for anyone willing to take it on. If you’re not up for climbing the sky-high peak, there’s a much easier and just as rewarding option nearby — Little Si.
Little Si is located near the base of Mount Si. Technically considered a mountain too, Little Si stands 1,575-feet in North Bend. The trailhead is about 35 miles outside of Seattle. Drive east on I-90 until you reach Exit 32 (436th Ave. SE). Turn left off the exit and then take a left on SE North Bend Way. After .3 miles, turn right onto Mt. Si Rd., and then take a left onto 434th Ave. SE. You’ll see parking for Little Si on the left as the road straightens after the bend.
Open year-round, the Little Si hike is 4.7 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 1,300-feet. The hike starts on a fairly steep incline and includes a few switchbacks. At about .2 miles, there’s a little path to the left that leads to a nice view of the valley. It’s a small preview of what you’ll eventually see from the summit.
After climbing for the first .25 miles or so, the trail levels out. It stays that way for a while, too. Since you’re climbing a mini mountain, I was really surprised at how level most of the hike was. Along the way, you’ll hike through dense forest and you’ll also likely pass some rock climbers taking on the steep rock cliffs.
NOTE: The Little Si trail is well-maintained and easy to follow. There was only one time my dad and I got a little confused, but we quickly found our way after a short diversion. If you start the Little Si hike and feel like really challenging yourself, you can cut over to the Mount Si by following the signs to the Boulder Garden Loop (.3 and .5 miles into the hike).
Since you eventually have to reach the summit, the Little Si trail starts to climb (fairly steep) again for the last three quarters of a mile. At the top, you can enjoy incredible views of Mount Si, Mount Washington, and the Snoqualmie Valley. There are plenty of areas to just sit and enjoy the view from the top. I even saw a few people munching down on their lunch at the peak.
Listed as a “moderate” hike, I was expecting a much tougher challenge from Little Si. In my eyes, it wasn’t very difficult. I think the same can be said for others as well. I saw runners sprinting up the trail to the summit and quickly heading back down again. Several people were even making the trek to the top with their dogs.
It’s not a walk in the park, but the Little Si trail is not extremely daunting, and there’s a pretty solid payoff at the summit. My dad and I hiked to the top and were back to the parking lot in less than two hours (and that included plenty of picture time at the peak). If you’re up for some adventure, some exercise, and some nice views, Little Si is the spot for you.
Have you ever done the Little Si hike? How was your experience? We’d love to hear all about it! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to experience around the Emerald City!