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Boulder Garden Loop

The trail is a 1.5-mile, well-maintained loop through the forests to the South of Little Si. It starts off gently but later doles out a respectable grade, a hint of what is to come if the hiker opts to pursue the Old Mount Si trail. Its name comes from the moss-adorned granite formations, some of which are several stories tall, that appear to erupt from the forest floor on either side of the trail is it winds its way back to the more direct Little Si trail. For those ascending either the Little Si or the Old Mount Si trails, the Boulder Garden Loop provides some of the more interesting interior scenery along the way.

It is important to note that the Boulder Garden Loop is the access point for the Old Mount Si trail. Approximately one mile into the trail, there is a sign "Boulder Garden Loop Trail" with white arrows pointing to the left and right; look for a trail that takes off upward and to the right--that trail will take you to the Haystack.
Driving Directions:

From Seattle drive east on I-90 to exit 32 (436th Avenue SE). Turn left (north) over the freeway and drive 0.5 mile to North Bend Way. Turn left (west), and in 0.25 mile turn right (north) on Mount Si Road. Shortly after crossing the bridge, the road banks right. Just after this curve, look for a paved parking area on the left side of the road (if you get to the intersection with 444th Avenue SE, you've gone too far).

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Recent Trip Reports

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There are 32 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Mount Si - Old Trail, Boulder Garden Loop — Apr 20, 2014 — Krishna
Day hike
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Mileage and Elevation: 8 Miles round trip, 3,400 gain Time: 8:00 a.m. Starting: Little Mt. Si ...
Mileage and Elevation: 8 Miles round trip, 3,400 gain

Time: 8:00 a.m.

Starting: Little Mt. Si Trail head Parking Lot.

From here, we will take the Boulder Loop Trail to the Old Mt. Si Trail to the top of Mt Si.
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Boulder Garden Loop — Apr 20, 2014 — Krishna
Day hike
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Started at the Little Mt. Si Trailhead Parking Lot. Took the Boulder Garden Loop to the Old Mount Si...
Started at the Little Mt. Si Trailhead Parking Lot. Took the Boulder Garden Loop to the Old Mount Si Trail.
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Boulder Garden Loop, Mount Si - Old Trail — Mar 21, 2014 — jevallwat88
Day hike
Issues: Snow on trail
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This trail was hard to find because there was a fork from the Boulder Garden Loop that went to priva...
This trail was hard to find because there was a fork from the Boulder Garden Loop that went to private property. After back tracking to find the real trail, it was just a short distance further along the loop.

It starts out steep, and stays that way. With over 3500' in elevation gain, the Old Mt Si trail is not for those short on breathe. Also, bring your MircoSpikes when hiking early in the season. We did not have them, and the trail is able to be hiked without them, it just made it more difficult.

The snow started about half way up the trail, and began to cover the trail about 2/3 of the way up the trail. It made getting to the summit a little slippery, but again, we made it up in hiking boots and one of us had a pair of nike running shoes.

It was crowded on the trail, we ran into about 6 people on the trail we took, and there were about 15 people at the summit when we arrived.

There are several great places for lunch or just for a view. Great hike.
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Little Si, Boulder Garden Loop — Mar 14, 2014 — explorerdogs
Day hike
Issues: Mudholes
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Although it rained in Edmonds all morning, the sky was surprisingly bright in North Bend. The sun s...
Although it rained in Edmonds all morning, the sky was surprisingly bright in North Bend. The sun shone through for most of the morning, making for a pleasant and beautiful climb up Little Si.
Hiking on Fridays is a wonderful luxury for this usually crowded trail. There were a few others hiking this today. The trail was in fairly good condition. There were a few muddy areas, but no blow downs or snow anywhere.
After climbing to the top of the trail and getting a view of the valley, we descended as far as the Boulder Garden junction and we headed up. This is quite, steep and a bit of a thigh/bun burner but only for a short way. The mossy rocks, greenery and solitude make the extra effort worth it.
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Boulder Garden Loop, Mount Si - Old Trail — Mar 01, 2014 — Taum Sauk
Day hike
Issues: Blowdowns | Snow on trail
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This is a continuation of a trip report for the Boulder Garden Loop/Old Mount Si trail, http://www.w...
This is a continuation of a trip report for the Boulder Garden Loop/Old Mount Si trail, http://www.wta.org/[…]/trip_report.2014-03-01.6185162594 . Each of these trails has enough to say about it that I wrote two reports.

There seems to be internet debate as to the length of the old Mount Si trail ("OT") hike (measurements are from the Little Si trailhead unless otherwise indicated). The hiking brothers (www.hikingwithmybrother.com) estimate the one-way trip at 2.75 miles. Summitpost (www.summitpost.org) calls it 3.2 miles. A nice topographic map of the area on Cascade Mountaineering (cascade-mountaineering.blogspot.com) puts it at 3.9 miles using the route we took (0.3 on the Little Si trail, 1.2 on the BGL, and 2.4 on the OT). Google Maps will happily tell you that the distance for our trip was 2.9 miles, and that it should have taken us "about" 1 hour and 22 minutes. Part of the variation may be due to which leg of the BGL that you take, a difference of 0.4 miles.

Who is correct? I can't tell you for sure, but I go with 3.9 miles (Cascade Mountaineering), the longest answer, based upon what my experience tells me is the approximate length and steepness, which would be about 1000 feet per mile on the OT. Based on topographic maps, the OT starts at 1400 feet, and one reaches the Haystack Basin at about 3800 feet, which translates into 1000 feet per mile if the OT proper is 2.4 miles long. It is harder than the new trail, but not quite as rough on the thighs and knees as Mailbox. If you make the Boulder Garden a true loop, then the round trip is 7.4 miles. The elevation change is 3420 feet based on topographic maps.

But I digress: it was a cloudy and stormy day. The wind was howling in North Bend. Freezing rain and snow shot through the air in gusts. We had joked about going home, but we had prepared with poles, microspikes (some of us) and layers of clothing. As we climbed along the OT, we encountered snow at about 2000 feet. Snow became ice at 3000 feet, and out came the microspikes. There was nothing very deep, so gaiters weren't needed. Poles were a big help.

We reached the top at 1 pm (ascent time 2:45), took in the cloudy view, and ate, while gray jays snatched our crumbs. There were a couple moments of sunshine and some peek-a-boo views of Washington and Mailbox, but that was it. We descended at 1:30 and got to the trailhead by 3:30.

Other than ice, the trail was in walkable condition. There was 1 passable blow-down along the way. We encountered a few other groups along the way, but that was just a fraction of what was on the new trail.

Yesterday, the skies were blue, but today was my chance to go, and I truly enjoyed my near-complete winter hike experience (happy to leave post-holing for the next ascent). I recommend wearing layers and boots. Bring your microspikes or other traction devices, since they really help on the upper half of the trail.
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DSCN6610_resize.jpg
Quiet giant in the Boulder Garden, by Taum Sauk, January 8, 2012
Location
Snoqualmie Pass -- North Bend Area
Washington Department of Natural Resources
Statistics
Roundtrip 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain 800 ft
Highest Point 1400 ft
Features
Wildlife
User info
Good for kids
Dogs allowed on leash
Discover Pass required
Guidebooks & Maps
Green Trails Mount Si No. 174
Bandera No. 206

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Red MarkerBoulder Garden Loop
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