granite mountain lookout ('5629)

The hike of Washington’s Granite Mountain Lookout forced me to confront this site’s line between a hike and a climb. After a few minutes of debate with myself, I settled on a hike having a trail. I’ll reserve a climb designation for a mountain summit accessed only through navigation. Save a few exceptions, this seems a good general rule.

The hike of Granite mountain may be difficult. But, it’s still a day hike with some incredible views.

view south from granite mountain final scramble section up granite mountain

The first mile and a half or so of this hike stands covered in woods with the highway echoing in the background.After about two miles the highway fades away and the views begin to open up. As with many of its nearby neighbors like Mailbox it has the south-facing views so common with I90 hikes.

The first views along the Granite Mountain hike are some valleys and snow-capped peaks. Soon these open up to a nice 180-degree view of Washington’s South Cascades. Rainier stands tall above all the others and becomes the main attraction of the day.

The sun was a discouragement as we climbed since the south-facing hill had little if any protection from it. Despite wearing SPF 50+ sunscreen, I still managed to burn the back of my neck.

rainier from granite mountain summit waterboy on the summit of granite mountain

The hike of Granite Mountain is excellent and the views well worth the effort. I did not find it to be all that difficult. Even after hearing that it’s one of the harder day hikes in Washington. But I am sure that is due to the fact that I have already climbed Mount Shasta and Mount St Helens this year. That combined with my training regiment must have helped. As a training climb Granite mountain lookout was a good choice.

I can’t escape the fact that if I wasn’t training for other climbs I would most likely avoid this one. But, that seems to be my standard feeling toward I-90. The hiking is always crowded and many of the people I encounter have zero trail etiquette.