Mt Si and its smaller neighbor, Little Si are super busy and crowded. Despite the popularity of these trails, it is possible to find trails in this trail system that are not as crowded! Many people don’t realize that there are several trails that connect to the Mt Si and Little Si trails that provide a lovely hike with less people from these popular trailheads in North Bend. Read on to see how to hike the enchanting Boulder Garden Loop from the Little Si trailhead, a peaceful and challenging but shorter hike through a classic Western Washington forest with some seriously impressive moss covered boulders.
The Boulder Garden Loop is 2.5 miles round trip with 800 feet of elevation gain. You can make this longer and add more elevation gain by adding the Little Si summit before or after. If you’re really looking for a challenge and don’t mind a rough and steep trail, you can also add on the Old Trail to the summit of Mt Si.
Cell phone coverage: A combination of good and ok.
Restrooms: There are two pit toilets in the parking lot at the trailhead.
Accessibility and Mobility: This trail is steep at times, but overall it is well maintained. There are sections of rock and steps in places on this trail.
Where is the Boulder Garden Loop?
The Boulder Garden Loop starts at the Little Si Trailhead in North Bend. From I-90, take Exit 32 and go left at the end of the ramp if coming from Seattle. Go right at the end of the ramp if coming from Snoqualmie Pass or Ellensburg.
When the road ends at North Bend Way, turn left and then turn right on Mt Si Road. You’ll see the Little Si Trailhead on the left. You can park here or in the overflow lot.
This is a great hike for someone who wants to take the bus to a trailhead, or otherwise find a quieter trail in an otherwise very busy area.
It’s also perfect for people who enjoy the magic of the Pacific Northwest’s forests. There are no views here (although you can add a trip up Little Si for a view).
When is the best time of year to hike the Boulder Garden Loop?
This is a wonderful year round hike. It has shade for hot days and evergreen trees and moss covered boulders to cheer up rainy and cold days!
Start at the very busy Little Si Trailhead. Don’t worry, you’ll soon leave the crowd behind! You’ll start climbing through a rocky section and in about a third of a mile come to a junction with the Boulder Garden Loop. Turn right here to start the loop.
Here you leave the crowds behind and continue to climb through the forest and a series of switchbacks for almost a mile until you reach a junction with the Old Mt Si Trail. This is a very hard, steep and rough alternative to the summit of Mt Si. To continue the Boulder Garden Loop, keep going straight (slightly to the left).
Now among giant moss covered boulders in addition to the lush green forest, continue on through this fairyland on a short flat section before heading down to meet up with the Little Si trail again in about half a mile.
When you rejoin the Little Si trail, turn left to return to your car in about half a mile.
You can also choose to add the summit of Little Si to your hike, which will add about 2.5 miles and about 1000 additional feet of elevation gain. To continue to the summit of Little Si, go right at this junction.
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years. I've been a tour guide in both Alaska and Washington and I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best low key adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!
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