Mount Pilchuck State Park is a 1,893-acre day-use park that features mountainous alpine terrain with diverse scenic and recreation attractions. The main recreational attraction of the park is the three-mile trail to the summit and the old fire lookout. The trail begins at 3100 feet above sea level and winds through an old growth forest to alpine heather and large rocks at the summit of Mount Pilchuck (5324 feet above sea level). The hike is strenuous and in the summer can be very crowded. At the top is an incredible panoramic view of the Cascades, Olympics and Puget Sound. The trail is usually covered with snow until midsummer. The park's most notable feature is a fire lookout building that sits atop the mountain. The fire lookout is on the National Historic Building register and has five interpretive plaques which identify the mountains seen from the building. There also are displays about the history of the lookout.
Park hours/updates: The park is open year round with no restrictions on hours. The trailhead area and first 3/4 mile of the trail are on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) property and require a USFS trailhead parking pass.
Nature of the Area
Wildlife Mammals Birds Fish & Sea Life? Bears? Chipmunks? Coyotes? Deer or Elk? Foxes? Marmots? Marten? Squirrels? Crows or Ravens? Eagles? Grouse? Hawks? Hummingbirds? Jays
Environmental Features Physical Features Plant Life ? Douglas Fir? Hemlock
History of the Area
The word "Pilchuck" comes from the Native American name "red water," for a creek in the area. Mount Pilchuck was likely among the "long ridge of snowy mountains" as described in the journal of English explorer George Vancouver during the spring of 1792. This peak stands well apart from the main Cascade Mountain range. In 1918, the Forest Service built a fire lookout on Mount Pilchuck's summit. The Lookout was staffed until the 1960s. From 1957 to 1980, Washington State Parks administered a ski area here that was run by a concessionaire. The ski area closed in 1980 due to poor annual snow conditions. The area currently is managed in partnership with the USFS and Everett Mountaineers. The Forest Service maintains the trail and trailhead, and State Parks and the Mountaineers maintain the historic lookout building.
There is a small uncovered picnic and camping area near the trailhead.
Other ? Bird Watching? Mountain Climbing? Rock Climbing? Wildlife Viewing
Mount Pilchuck has geological significance as being a mountain of shale rock. A number of lakes and streams linked by a series of trails provide visitors alpine fishing and hiking. The higher elevation provides snowshoeing, and mountain climbing in winter months.
Access from either north or south: Take I-5 to Snohomish-Wenatchee exit 194. Drive east on Highway 2 for six miles and then north on Highway 9, following signs to Granite Falls. Continue east on the Mountain Loop Highway 11 miles to Verlot. From the Verlot Forest Service Ranger Station, travel one more mile east on the Mountain Loop Highway and turn right (south) onto Forest Service Road 42. Continue 6.9 miles to the trailhead.