Companion piece to neighbor and big brother Mount Si, the small rocky bluff known as Little Si is a moderately graded 3.7 mile trail located in the hike rich North Bend area. Although relatively steep inclines bookend this hike, this primarily north to south route is perfect for beginners who are looking to get back in shape. But with opportunities to cut away on the Boulder Garden Loop at 0.3 miles and 0.5 miles to merge with the more challenging Mount Si trail, it also accommodates veteran hikers. Expect crowds; the two Si peaks are sometimes colloquially referred to as "Resolution Peaks" due to the onslaught of hikers that appear after January 1st. The trail's proximity to the city and a degree of refuge from the elements often divert heavy foot traffic to this mini-mountain, keeping it busy year round.
A sharp incline awaits you as you depart the trailhead, threading you through a few winding switchbacks and well-beaten paths, but do not despair! The hike eventually levels out to reward you with some respite from the calf-burning first quarter mile. Two opportunities to get on the Boulder Garden Loop will occur at 0.3 and 0.5 miles, both of which can tack on extra mileage to the trip or transition you to the Mount Si route if you so desire, but for the Little Si summit proceed left on the main trail until you reach a section of canopied forest that straddles the bluff.
As you continue through this temperate slice of woodlands, you will pass short tangential rock climbing paths, a prominent scree slope and a boulder field to the west before swooping around the slope at the 1.3 mile mark to make your final push toward the summit. Work your way up the last steep three quarters of a mile and you will reach your destination. While Little Si’s nub-like qualities suggest an underwhelming view awaits, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a peak that supplies phenomenal portraits of the valley and the surrounding peaks-Mount Si and Mount Washington can easily be viewed on a clear day-from your standing elevation of 1,550 feet.
WTA Pro Tip: Very early on at 0.2 miles, make sure to duck off the trail to the southwest for a small ridge that provides a quick peek into the valley, a low elevation preview of what you can expect from the summit. If you’re short on time or are not quite in the shape you thought you were when you started in the parking lot, it can function as a nice compromise for a picnic spot to watch the sunset on the valley. Also, once you feel you have mastered the Little Si trail, seek out other North Bend staples such as Rattlesnake Ridge, Mount Si and Mailbox Peak (all located within a five mile drive of the Little Si trailhead). Each provides varying levels of difficulty, trail diversity and magnificent views for prospective hikers.