Pacific Northwest Outdoor News and Updates

A consolidated look at current hiking conditions, climbing reports, bike routes + trails, and camping information from around the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on Seattle and the Puget Sound area. See the links on the left for detailed information on Seattle bike trails, mountain bike trails, regional hikes and bike rides. New info added all the time.
Current sources:
For static information on Seattle Bike Trails and Trips, click here.

For static information on Western Washington Hiking Trails and Trips, click here.

For static information on Winter Sports in the region, click here.

Permit overload for Wonderland Trail

posted Apr 10, 2015, 8:53 PM by Luke Hizer

An upswing of interest in hiking the entire Wonderland Trail has led to an unprecedented number of permit requests. Not all of the currently received requests will be processed and obviously no new ones. From the Wilderness Camping and Hiking page:

April 1, 2015: THE PARK IS NO LONGER ACCEPTING RESERVATION REQUESTS FOR PARTIES ATTEMPTING TO HIKE THE ENTIRE WONDERLAND TRAIL, OR ANY LARGE PORTION OF IT. We have received a staggering (and record) number of wilderness reservation requests between March 15 and April 1 (2,500 and counting). We will not be able to fulfill all of the requests we have already received, much less those that arrive after March 31. SUMMERLAND and INDIAN BAR will also fill before the March 15-April 1 batch is completely processed. The option to a reservation is to attempt to get a first-come, first-served permit.

There will be about 30% of the permits available, but it's a giant pain in the ass to get them and there are no guarantees. Go this route only if you have patience and live close. 

The Seattle Times also has an article on the issue with a little more background.

Permit season for Mt St Helens climbs, small changes this year

posted Apr 5, 2015, 1:39 PM by Luke Hizer

As of April 1, 2015, permits are required for climbs above 4,800ft. This is the standard schedule for St Helens, but in years past the window from April 1 - May 15 allowed for an unlimited number of permits, and now there is a 500-climber limit. That's a lot of climbers, so I doubt it will be an issue, but it is a change this year. May 15 starts the 'high' permit season, when only 100 are available per day. By now, most weekend dates are hard to come by.  

Another change for this year: it seems that all permits are online and you need to print them yourself. No more picking them up at the Lone Fir Resort. That's a lot more convenient than having to plan your trip around pickup hours.

NEW THIS SEASON:Climbers will need to print their online permits at home and sign in at the trail head climbing registers. Recyclable plastic permit holders will be available at the climbing registers to display climbing permits.Climbing permit must be carried at all times and displayed in a visible manner by each person while climbing Mount St. Helens. PLEASE REMEMBER TO PRINT YOUR PERMIT AT HOME AND BRING IT WITH YOU TO THE CLIMBING REGISTER. There are no facilities available to print your permit at the trailhead.

Delayed opening for Forest Roads near Mt St Helens

posted Apr 2, 2015, 4:53 PM by Luke Hizer

Forest Roads 25, 26, and 99 provide access to several key areas just east of Mt St Helens. Due to the light winter, they were due to open April 1st, but the need to clear rockslides will keep them closed till mid-May. That's still a lot earlier than their normal June/July opening dates.

A summary is below, the full release is here.

1. Forest Road 25 is the main north-south route that runs to the east of the mountain.  It connects Randal to Cougar, allowing you to reach the mountain without taking I-5.  See this map from the National Park to see the route. It's currently closed between 99, mid-way, and 93, at the southern end.

2. Forest Road 26 is a rougher gravel road that runs parallel to 25 from near Randall to 99.  It's closed about 13 miles in until the mid-May opening.  It's not shown on the map linked above.

Forest Road 99 runs from 25 to the best views of the blast zone and the start of several trails. It's closed right at till the opening. It's shown on the pdf map.

Full conditions are available here.

North Cascades Highway to open for 2015 on April 3rd

posted Apr 1, 2015, 11:27 PM by Luke Hizer

The North Cascades Highway - the main route into the North Cascades National Parkwill open this Friday, one of the earliest openings in the past decade.

Mercer Bike Path close to opening

posted Mar 28, 2015, 11:05 PM by Luke Hizer   [ updated Apr 2, 2015, 12:20 AM ]

Update: I got a response to my email request, the trail will be opening May 1st!

The new bike path running along Mercer under 99, between 5th and Dexter, has been complete for a while now. It's been roped off and there are inconveniently placed light poles that may need to be moved first. Whenever it does open, it's going to be a major upgrade, and the rough surface should work great in the rain. Hopefully it will open soon.

Mt Rainier 2015 opening schedule released

posted Mar 28, 2015, 10:48 PM by Luke Hizer   [ updated Mar 28, 2015, 11:06 PM ]

Mt Rainier National Park has released the key opening dates for the 2015 season, although these dates are still subject to change. Highlights include:
  • Cayuse and Chinook Pass are scheduled for one of their earliest openings ever - April 3rd
  • The gates between Longmire and Paradise are open 24 hours as of April 13th
  • Sunrise Road is scheduled to open on June 5th
The news release also includes opening dates for key campgrounds (all but White River open on May 22nd), visitor's centers, and some updates on road construction. Bottom line: early start to the season this year!

Seattle Bike Notes

posted Feb 26, 2015, 12:24 AM by Luke Hizer

A few updates:

Enchantments Permits, ODT trail closure, latest Rainier trail conditions

posted Feb 13, 2015, 9:15 PM by Luke Hizer

A few outdoor notes for the weekend:
  • The window for the Enchantments permit lottery will open on Sunday Feb 15th and run through Tuesday, March 3rd. Unlike St Helens permits, when you apply in the window doesn't matter; all entries have an equal chance. For more information, see the recent WTA post on the topic, and see here for more information on the Enchantments.

  • The Olympic Discovery Trail facebook page reports that there has been a landslide on the trail near Port Angeles, and the Dungeness River Bridge has been significantly damaged with no timetable for fixing it. A detour is in place. This post has some additional details.

  •  The latest Mt Rainier trail conditions report has been released.

Cross-Kirkland Bike Trail opens

posted Feb 4, 2015, 7:17 PM by Luke Hizer

Another key trail has opened, this time the Cross-Kirkland Bike Trail. This roughly 6-mile trail runs largely north-south between Lake Washington and 405 north of 520. There were no comparable routes in the area so this should greatly improve the bike-riding experience in Kirkland.

See articles in the Seattle Bike Blog and Biking Bis for excellent in-depth coverage and maps of the trail.

Two new trails coming to Grand Ridge

posted Feb 2, 2015, 7:42 PM by Luke Hizer

The WTA is looking for volunteers to work on two new trails that will add a two mile loop to the existing bike and hike trail that connects High Point on I-90 to Duthie Hill in Issaquah.

High Point To Duthie Hill Via Grand Ridge Trails


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