Located in Washington State, Mount Si, known indigenously as q̓əlbc̓, is a prominent peak in the Cascade Range. Mount Si is in the Western part of the Cascade Mountains, near the town of North Bend. The nearest city is Seattle, which is 30 miles (48 km) to the east. Mount Si is a popular outdoor recreation destination and hiking spot, drawing visitors from the Seattle metropolitan area and beyond. Continue reading to discover just how tall Mount Si really is!
How Tall is Mount Si?
Mount Si is 4,167 feet (1,270 m) above sea level. It is a distinctive, double-peaked mountain. The main summit is Mount Si and the lower, sub-peak is Little Si. Mount Si is significantly shorter compared to the highest peaks in Washington state. The highest peak in Washington is Tacoma, also known as Mount Rainier. At an elevation of 14,411 feet (4,392 meters) above sea level, Tacoma is the highest peak in the Cascade Range. It is also a breathtaking backdrop while hiking Mount Si. And while Mount Si isn’t the tallest peak in Washington state, it is still taller than the highest point in the entire state of Kansas! So how does Mount Si compare with other mountain peaks?
|Denali, also called Mount McKinley, Alaska:||20,310 ft (6,190 m)|
|Tahoma, also called Mount Rainer, Washington State:||14,411 feet (4,392 m)|
|Pahto, also called Mount Adams, Washington State:||12,281 feet (3,743 m)|
|Koma Kulshan, also called Mount Baker, Washington State:||10,781 feet (3,286 m)|
|Goode Mountain, Washington State:||9,199 feet (2,803 m)|
|Lawetlat’la or Louwala-Clough, also called Mount Saint Helens, Washington State:||8,363 feet (2,549 m)|
|Mount Sinai, Egypt:||7,497 feet (2,285 m)|
|Tunkasila Sakpe Paha, or Mount Rushmore, South Dakota:||5,725 (1,744 m)|
|q̓əlbc̓, also called Mount Si, Washington State:||4,167 feet (1,270 m)|
|Mount Sunflower, Kansas (Highest point in the state):||4.035 feet ( 1,229 m)|
|daʔšədabš, or Rattlesnake Ridge, Washington State:||3,481 feet (1,061 m)|
Where is Mount Si?
Mount Si is located near North Bend, Washington. North Bend is in King County at the western base of Mount Si. It is approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Seattle. This makes it a convenient gateway for Seattleites who wish to visit the mountain. North Bend serves as a popular starting point for hikers heading to Mount Si. The town provides access to the trailhead and amenities such as parking, accommodations, and restaurants. The town of Snoqualmie is also nearby and often used as a reference point for those visiting Mount Si. Snoqualmie is located just to the northwest of North Bend.
Twin Peaks, a supernatural television series, filmed around North Bend. One of the most iconic local features from the series is Snoqualmie Falls. The falls were prominently visible in the opening credits of the show and served as a backdrop for several scenes. The exterior of the Double R Diner, a central location in the series, was filmed at a real restaurant in North Bend called Twede’s Cafe.
Discover Just How Tall Mount Si Really Is: Hiking
Mount Si is located within the Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area, which protects the natural environment and provides recreational opportunities, including hiking. Hiking Mount Si is a challenging and exhilarating experience. The trail begins at the base of the mountain. Hikers ascend through a dense forest of towering evergreen trees. The path gradually ascends, [3,000 feet (914 m) over 3.5 miles (5.6 km)] demanding both physical endurance and mental determination.
The trail features numerous switchbacks and rocky sections. Along the way, occasional glimpses of the surrounding landscape through breaks in the trees, giving you a taste of the breathtaking views awaiting you at the summit. As you gain elevation, the forest gives way to open ridges, revealing panoramic vistas of the Cascade Range. On clear days, the rugged profiles of neighboring peaks like Tahoma (Mount Rainier) and Koma Kulshan (Mount Baker), are visible.
Continuing your hike, you’ll encounter a challenging rocky slope known as the Haystack. The Haystack marks the final push to the summit. It requires scrambling. Scrambling is a middle ground between hiking and climbing. Only those with previous scramble experience should attempt to tackle the Haystack.
The Snoqualmie people are a Native American tribe indigenous to the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, particularly in the Washington State area. Their history, language, and culture are deeply intertwined with the land, including Mount Si, which they called q̓əlbc̓. Snoqualmie means strong people of status. A Snoqualmie legend centers on Mount Si. It is called Playing a Trick on The Moon. In the end, the moon, Snoqualm, falls from the sky and transforms into q̓əlbc̓, what we call Mount Si today.
What’s in a Name?
The Snoqualmie people called the mountain q̓əlbc̓. Today the mountain is called Mount Si, named after Josiah Merritt, a settler who lived in the Snoqualmie Valley during the late 19th century. Si Merritt was a well-known figure in the region. He operated a bakery in the town of Snoqualmie. The mountain’s name acknowledges his contributions to the local community. However, in recent years the trend has been to use the original indigenous names for mountains. This is part of a broader movement to promote cultural sensitivity and respect for indigenous peoples and their heritage.
The summit of Mount Si features rugged terrain, rocky outcrops, and alpine vegetation. While wildlife resides on various parts of the mountain, including its lower slopes and surrounding areas, it’s less common to find wildlife at the summit due to the harsh and exposed conditions. However, some wildlife species that you may see on and around Mount Si include various bird species, like hawks and eagles, as well as smaller birds like juncos and chickadees. Black-tailed deer are common in the forests and lower slopes of the Cascades and near the base of Mount Si. Various small mammals, such as squirrels and chipmunks, live in the forested areas.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Nadia Yong/Shutterstock.com
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