Rhone and I set off for Mount Pilchuck just off the Mountain Loop Highway. Per earlier trip reports the road is bad coming into the Heather Lake TH and for about 2 miles past the gate to Pilchuck (much worse than last year) – I had an SUV with high ground clearance. I suggest driving slow and be prepared to weave as some of the potholes are deep. The snow starts past the 4000-foot level – this trip I noticed a small brass sign on the right side of the trail in an old dead tree placed by the Tawanka Camp Fire Girls Snohomish.
Once you make the North part of the trail, the snow covers the trail and is melting out fast – lots of slushy watery snow. As the trail steepens, the slushy trail is easy to follow and the snow subsides once you reach the saddle prior to the final push up. Most of the snow is on the Northside of the trail in areas with minimal sun exposure. I would recommend poles. Microspikes and gaiters are not needed as the snow is not deep. The final part of the trail through the rocks is mostly snow-free and the summer route to the lookout is easy to navigate. Some folks were slipping on the way down, but I had no issues as I had mountaineering boots on. My son had low-top hiking boots and wet feet by the end of the hike. Fantastic 360-degree views – especially of the mountains to the East. Also, the bugs are bad – use some bug spray – horse flies especially. Love this trail and it’s in great hikeable shape. Many more trail pics in my AllTrails link. Also, note there will be SR 92 closures this coming weekend from Lake Stevens to Granite Falls, so plan for some delays to and from the trailhead.