Location: Sultan Basin
Land Agency: Snohomish County Public Utility District
Roundtrip: 4.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 850 feet
Green Trails Map: Mountain Loop Highway 111SX
Access: From Everett follow US 2 east to Sultan. At a traffic light just past Milepost 23 turn left onto Sultan Basin Road. Follow for 13.2 miles (pavement ends at 10.4 miles) to an information kiosk. Stop and sign-in acknowledging that you understand the rules and regulations for visiting the Sultan Basin which is Everett’s public water supply. Then bear left at a Y-intersection and continue 1.6 miles to parking area and trailhead.
Contact: Skykomish Ranger District: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Notes: Register (no fee) at kiosk at watershed entrance; dogs permitted on leash
Good to Know: Kid-friendly, dog-friendly,
Opened in 2015, this new trail takes you deep into the Sultan River Canyon where towering old growth trees and steep slopes shade a remote section of the Sultan River. The hike starts on a gated dirt road near the entrance of the parking area. Walk this road through pleasant forest gradually climbing about 250 feet.
After one mile, come to the beginning of the actual trail which is clearly signed. Now begin your descent into the deep dark canyon. Via a good grade the way switchbacks downward into the rugged canyon. The steep slopes here prevented past loggers from harvesting the canyon’s towering old trees. You’ll pass some impressive ancient giants. You’ll pass some nice small seasonal cascades too.
At 2.2 miles reach the canyon’s lush bottom and the rippling Sultan River. During the summer months, sunlight reaches the canyon floor allowing you to prop on a riverside rock and enjoy a sunny spot along the river. Watch for dippers flitting in the cool waters. After enjoying this quiet and remote spot prepare for your return journey where a 600 foot climb out of the canyon waits for you.
For information on lodging and other attractions near the Sultan Basin visit: www.snohomish.org.
For detailed information on this and other area hikes along US 2, consult my Day Hiking Central Cascades, which contains 125 hikes complete with maps and lots of other important information.