The Mountain Loop Highway corridor offers an abundance of recreational opportunities year-round. Through spring, summer and fall, the network of Forest Service roads branching off the highway lead hikers to many exquisite trails with stunning views. However, come winter, the roads themselves become the trails. Snowshoers looking for a bit of solitude and mountain views will appreciate a trek along Mallardy Ridge.
Starting from the Stillaguamish River Valley bottom, follow a series of snow-covered forest roads to the crest of Mallardy Ridge sitting below the northeast face of Bald Mountain. Begin by following Mallardy Ridge Road (Forest Road 4030) southward through a mossy cedar forest as the road makes a long and steady ascent toward the ridge. Avoid any spur roads, remaining instead on the main roadway for 1.5 miles. Here a junction is reached. Follow seldom-traveled Forest Road 4032 to the right, continuing in a generally westward direction, until reaching a sharp hairpin turn in the road.
Over the next mile, as the road makes it way in a southerly direction again, traverse some ups and downs before crossing Mallardy Creek. From here, the road begins ascending the ridge. Continue steadily climbing for 2.5 miles. At the 5-mile mark, the crest of the ridge is reached, marking the turnaround point of this route. Enjoy lunch while enjoying the views. To the southwest, nearby Bald Mountain dominates the skyline, while Liberty Mountain, Little Chief Peak, and Three Fingers are visible to the north.