By: Amy Hattemer
First of all, while you are in town these are two websites/apps that will be your best friends:
Mountain Project: https://www.mountainproject.com/
Washington Trails Association: http://www.wta.org/
- You can get the most recent intel from climbers/hikers who were just on the walls and trails you are looking at. Plug in what and where you are looking to adventure, and the potential will unravel in front of you.
For the climber:
- In town climbing: SBP might as well be the climbing gym from Pawnee, rival town Eagleton, with its dreamboat status. Not only is it 3 floors of walls and challenges, it also hosts yoga classes on the regular, a kick-ass lounge, restaurant, café, and bar in the basement, and … a sauna!
If you can make it out of the city while you are here:
- Exit 32 and Exit 38: A quick 45 minute drive out of town will take you to North Bend for beautiful climbing walls and vistas, with the highway bending below you. You can combine hiking and climbing throughout North Bend, or find some walls right off of the road. Consult your websites as guides, but also know that directions in Washington read like a Fred Beckey fever dream. Nothing is laid out for you and you need to find your way to the trails and walls that call to you.
- With more time, you can drive 2.5 hours east, over the Cascades to the desert, and make your way to the epic Frenchman Coulee for climbing columns like you have never seen. Bring plenty of water. Leave early for a one day trip, or take your camping gear and stay a while.
For the hiker:
- Mount Si is a quick drive from Seattle (also in North Bend), and it is the training ground for many hikers attempting Mount Rainier. It will be crowded on the weekend, as it is so close to Seattle, but much emptier during the week. You gain about 1000 feet each mile you climb up!
- With more time: head to the Mountain Loop Highway and the North Cascades (weather and road conditions permitting).
- The Goat Lake hike is a gem. The entire 10.4 mile hike takes you through gorgeous terrain and the pay-off is a stunning lake surrounded by snow covered mountains.
- If you want to head to an island while you are in town, Whidbey Island has beautiful and easy hikes on the southwest side of the island as well as at the north end at Deception Pass State Park.
- Make sure you check the parking pass requirements before you head out. You can buy a day epass online if needed: Parking Pass Info
- Making a trip to the Mountaineers in Magnuson Park is worth it. They have indoor and outdoor climbing walls (bring your own gear), but they also have a legendary outdoor bookstore that is worth perusing. Check out if they have any events while you are in town:https://www.mountaineers.org
- Whatever you do while in town, take in the beauty around you, be kind and respectful, and leave no trace.
- Be excellent to each other!