Mount Zion

The trail is very well maintained and easy to follow.

The trail is very well maintained and easy to follow.

We hiked Mount Zion yesterday and really had a great time! Here’s my review.

We arrived at the trailhead about 12:45pm and there were a dozen cars in the lot. There’s a pit toilet and plenty of parking. The route to the trail head is not well marked, but the directions you can find at WTA.org are good (see link below). It will take you about 30 min on the fire roads to get to the trail head.

The hike is 1.8 miles to the top (so 3.6 total) and 1,300 feet elevation gain to the summit (which is at about 4,300 ft). My boys are now 5 and 8. I was worried about it being too much of a challenge because of all the web talk about it being very steep. I’m not sure why I even thought about it because we have done plenty of steeper and longer hikes. But, being new to Washington, it seems like everything is bigger and more fearsome here than usual – chicken predators included. Anyway, we finally decided we were going to do it while hubby was out of town (no one else to convince!). We had a great time, and the boys were at the summit in one hour flat, including 5 minutes to take silly face pictures along the way. Yes, the trail is pretty steep at times, on average it is a 17% grade. But we saw two other 5  yr olds on the trail, both of whom had done the hike on their own. It is doable. In the winter it would be slippery, though, due to the grade. There is plenty of shade and no real treachery (aside from the usual concerns of relatively steep drop-offs to one side of the trail now and then. You could slip 20 or 30 feet through scattered brush if you took a leap without looking. You’d survive, but wouldn’t be happy.

We enjoyed lunch at the summit – plenty of room and no treachery there. Some shady spots. If you decide to go past the flat area to explore the “ledges” you’ll read about online (which are said to have beautiful views of the Strait), be forewarned that I think there is far too much treachery for young kids. This is especially true if you don’t have one parent per child as a spotter. The rocky footing is uneven, some of the trail is on a narrow path with steep drop-offs to either side, and you’ve got to go about 0.5 mi to get to the views. There doesn’t appear to be a great place to plunk a kid or child carrier while you dig out food once you get there. And the ledges themselves appear to be on slanty rocks. So Google around for images and see what you think. You can get to some images through trip reports at WTA as well.

All in all a great hike for the 5+ crowd and good exercise for parents if you load your pack up with rocks or something 🙂 We met several really nice families on the trail (hey Jenn!). If you do this one and like it, check out Mt. Walker as well. It’s longer but on par with this one as far as steepness, great views, the option for out-of-town family to drive up and meet you on the summit, and the approach doesn’t involve a fire road.

Summary:

Treachery: very low, the usual, suitable for all ages with appropriate observation for the most untrustworthy ones 🙂

Exertion: good bang for your buck, but doable!

Lunch spot: yes!

Sun exposure: very low

Trail head: WTA info and directions

 

 

Summit views a bit obscured by trees but we could still enjoy a view of Mt. Baker and a bit of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.

Summit views a bit obscured by trees but we could still enjoy a view of Mt. Baker and a bit of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.

The valley is very pretty!

The valley is very pretty!

Ice cream from Peninsula Foods on 101, about 1.5 miles south of Lords Lake Loop Road.

Ice cream from Peninsula Foods on 101, about 1.5 miles south of Lords Lake Loop Road.

2 Responses to "Mount Zion"

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