Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

71 Days of Sun


Scenario: It’s the weekend. You have the day off. The sun is out. What do you do?

On average, Seattle has less than 100 days of sunshine per year. Now that it’s spring, and the sun is starting to beam, it’s time to start soaking up as much of it as possible—especially since Seattle is expected to have just 71 days of sun.

So round up your friends, fill up the gas tank, crank up the tunes and hit the road.

Here are some outdoor activities to kick start the days of sunshine ahead.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Mount Vernon | Difficulty: Easy

Although everyone and their puppies probably have an Instagram picture of this as the backdrop, there is a reason why it’s so popular and well worth an hour drive north (assuming there is zero traffic). Colorful fields of tulips are scattered around Skagit Valley.

Tip: There are also the lesser appreciated, but equally beautiful daffodil fields.

Gold Creek Pond

Snoqualmie Pass | Difficulty: Easy

Don’t be fooled by the word ‘pond.’ This is a well-paved, easy peasy ‘hike’ where the payoff is enjoyed near the start of the trail—snow-capped mountains in the distance reflect in the large body of icy blue water that ombres into a deep blue. The trail circles the perimeter of the pond and is a gentle stroll with somewhat of an incline. Pack something to eat because the tables and chairs near the beginning, as well as the benches mid-way through the one mile trek, would be the perfect spot to enjoy the view.

Tip: It’s wheelchair accessible.

Lake Chelan

Chelan County | Difficulty: Easy

Before you get excited, this is labeled ‘Easy’ because it doesn’t require scaling up a mountain. But let’s talk about the nearly six hour drive it takes to get to Lake Chelan. Save this one for a long weekend and/or give yourself time to plan a more hefty trip. Consider camping or rounding up a bunch of your friends to pitch in to stay at a resort. But is it worth it? Absolutely. While it may be a pain to get there, your stress and worries will leave you once you come face-to-face with the country’s third deepest lake. The blue-green water is clear enough to see the bottom of the lake that spans over 50 miles long.

Tip: Make a playlist for a drive and double check that you packed swimgear.

Little Si

North Bend | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Even if you’re a hiking novice, don’t be intimidated by the 4.7-mile roundtrip. Most of the hike threads through the woodlands rocky, well-worn paths. Once you get through the clearing, the ledges all have picturesque portraits of the valley and surrounding mountain below. If this view doesn’t awaken even a small love of the outdoors, I’m not sure what will.

Tip: Get a glimpse of the valley below at the beginning when the trail leads to a small ledge.

Mount Si

Northbend | Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Meet Little Si’s big brother. Tackle this 8-mile roundtrip if you’re up for the challenge. It is more intense, but the view from the top is breathtaking.

Tip: Remember to bring some snacks and water.

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie | Difficulty: Easy

Attracting more than 1.5 million visitors a year, this is another popular spot. There is a park and observation deck, and did you know this is the waterfall shown in the opening credits of the TV series, Twin Peaks? Total photo op moment.

Tip: Free parking and free viewing area open from dawn to dusk.

Rattlesnake Ridge

North Bend | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Come early. This is a popular hike, so expect to find others making the uphill climb alongside you. There are different trails to take, but Rattlesnake Ledge—at 1.9 miles—is the shortest. And yet there is still a breathtaking view of the evergreen trees and lake down below. When the weather gets warmer, it would also be a good idea to take a dip in the lake.

Tip: No pass or permit is required.

Lake of Angels

Olympics | Difficulty: Hard

Located in the Valley of Heaven (I’m not making this up), it is said that Lake of Angels first requires a passage through hell. This 8-mile roundtrip is not for the faint of heart, especially because of its steep inclines and ledges. But the payoff will be one of the most beautiful views of alpine lakes in the Olympics, stock full of meandering meadows bursting with wildflowers.

Tip: Recommended for more seasoned hikers. Call ahead to check when the trail opens.

Mount Rainier National Park

Cascade Range | Difficulty: Varies

Behold: A Pacific Northwest icon, visible from our Seattle U campus, and definitely a must. There are five developed areas with multiple opportunities for hiking, frolicking through fields of wildflowers, and other activities. There is a lot of ground to cover, so it would be best to do some research and figure out which parts you want to see.

Tip: Be strategic and pull up a map online to determine your route.

Mima Mounds

Olympia | Difficulty: Easy

This is a weird one. Google this or search its hashtag on Instagram. The bumpy mounds are a geological wonder that even scientists can’t figure out. There’s an easy, well-paved trail that’s less than three miles round trip. You might want to wait a little longer before making the trek down. Wait for spring to do its magic (give or take a month or two) because that’s when there will be wildflowers all around. Seriously, Google it.

Tip: Wait. Don’t go just yet.

*Keep in mind that most hikes require a day pass for cars. For more information on which type of pass is required, go to>em>

Bianca may be reached at [email protected]

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