Pilchuck Tree Farm─Quiet wood roads from Meadows to Ridge

Follow a quiet woods road across a broad meadow.

Follow a quiet woods road across a broad meadow.

Quick Facts:

Location: Northern Snohomish County, near Stanwood

Land Agency: Pacific Denkmann Company Pilchuck Tree Farm

Roundtrip: 3.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 400 feet

Contact: Pilchuck Recreation Association: www.pilchuckra.org

Notes: All trail users MUST sign a liability release and have it on file to use these trails. Download here and mail (with $2 donation) to Pilchuck Recreation Association. Dogs must be leashed; this is private land — all rules strictly enforced.

Access: From Everett, head north on I-5 to Exit 215; then head east on 300th Street NE for 1.0 mile. Turn left onto English Grade Road and continue for 1.2 miles turning right onto 316th Street. After .8 mile turn left onto gravel 12th Ave and reach trailhead in .4 mile. Do not block horse unloading areas.

Straddling the Skagit-Snohomish County line between I-5 and SR 9 is a wild wooded expanse long known by area equestrians and mountain bikers. But you won’t find this land on maps, or in guidebooks. It’s part of the Pilchuck Tree Farm; a privately owned working forest managed by the Pacific Denkmann Company.

The owners have graciously allowed public access on their lands, but all who visit must adhere to their rules lest public access be revoked. Among the posted rules (and listed on the Pilchuck Recreation Association website) is that all dogs must be leashed, and many of the trails to protect from erosion are closed from November 1st to April 30th. Then why is this hike being suggested for December? Because the forest’s well-maintained woods roads are open all year for hiking and they make for wonderful winter wandering.

This loop encompasses the Pilchuck Meadow and part of the high ridge that traverses the property making for a great introductory hike of the Pilchuck Tree Farm. Start by hiking north on the gated road towards the Pilchuck Glass School, a facility started in 1971 by renowned glass artists, Dale Chihuly, Anne Gould Hauberg, and John H. Hauberg.

Follow this road north climbing beneath of canopy of mature cedars. Pass by an old berry patch, now replaced with solid conifers. At .4 mile, come to a junction. Take the road right traversing across a beautiful meadow. Enjoy views south of Mount Pilchuck, Mount Rainier, and other prominent peaks.

At meadow’s edge come to another junction. You’ll be returning on the left, so continue straight into beautiful second growth forest. After about a mile pass a nice wetland pool which comes alive come springtime.

At 1.2 miles, come to a five-way junction. Turn left and steely climb following a road along a ridge crest. Window views can be had of rolling peaks east. At 1.6 miles, turn left onto an old skid road, passing an old cut and eventually coming back to the lovely meadow you traversed earlier. Then turn left walking along meadow’s edge returning to a familiar junction. Head right to return to your vehicle. How was your introduction to this lovely working forest?

For information on lodging and other attractions near the Pilchuck Tree Farm,

visit www.snohomish.org

For more information on nearby great winter hiking destinations, consult my brand new Urban Trails Bellingham book 


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