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How to tell all those trees apart

Posted by Andrew Engelson at Aug 12, 2007 05:00 PM |
As a hiker in Washington, I've seen a lot of trees. And sometimes, I have no problems identifying them. I grew up next to a little second-growth forest near Bremerton, and so I know my Douglas firs, western hemlocks, and red alder.

Trees on Yellow Aster Butte TrailBut some trees of the high country are a bit trickier. I'm a bit at a loss trying to tell a grand fir from a silver fir or a noble fir from a subalpine fir. That's why we created a handy color trail guide to trees in the August 2007 issue of Washington Trails. You'll also find it online here. This is the kind of project your membership helps support, so if you're not already a member or your membership has lapsed, be sure to sign up here.

Pull it the guide out and stuff it in your pack, and try and identify all those great northwest trees.

One note: the image on the cover of the August was misidentified as a Sitka spruce. It's likely a western hemlock. Thanks to our eagle-eyed readers for pointing that out!

This weekend I was on the Yellow Aster Butte Trail in the North Cascades and I'm pretty sure I made a positive I.D. on some silver firs. It was a foggy, drizzly day, and rather than being distracted by the superb views from this trail, I focused on what was close at hand: trees, wildflowers and some incredible geology in the upper basin. Lots of mountain hemlock, too.

Have tips on how to identify trees on the trail? Sign up for a blog account and post a comment!

Photo of mountain hemlock (or is that subalpine fir?) on the Yellow Aster Butte Trail by Andrew Engelson.
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