The Geophysical Trails are accessible year round, but are primarily used for Nordic skiing in winter (no hiking/snowshoeing on the groomed trails). The trailhead is a SnoPark, so you'll need a Sno-Park permit to park in the winter. For the rest of the year, it's open to non-motorized multi-use.
The trails here are all very wide mowed swaths for their primary use as winter Nordic. It's not difficult terrain, and there aren't amazing views, but it's an interesting spot because of the system's proximity to the USGS Geological Observatory. USGS only has fourteen Observatories, and this is the only one in Washington.
The Perspiration Trail takes hikers right along the property boundary, where you can see some of the buildings and special equipment, but it's all marked no public access beyond the fenceline, so the trail is as close to a tour as one can have.
Bring your USGS topo for the Bead Lake quad, as it would be especially embarrassing to get lost this close to a USGS observatory! But really, it would be hard to get lost here. There are maps at every trail junction (minus a couple that are damaged), along with trail signs pointing the way back to the trailhead. It is possible to do several loops, one that includes all the perimeter trails (Cougar, Flatlander, Rough Ridge, Perspiration, Ponderosa, and Chipmunk) yields 3.3 miles and only 210 feet of elevation gain.
- 6.6 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 210 feet
- Highest Point
- 2,630 feet
Hiking Geophysical Trails
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 48.2538, -117.1320 Open in Google Maps