June is the month to appreciate the great outdoors. We can do this in many different environments, such as the water, although it is important to be safe. Washington not only has many lakes, but it also has mountains with a plethora of activities included. While most people only associate mountains with winter activities, there are still tons you can do this month.
There are so many different places to hike near BC that, at times, it can be overwhelming. A quick 15-minute drive away are three mountains: Cougar, Squak and Tiger.
The Coal Creek Falls are a great destination hike and can be accessed from the Red Town and Sky Country trailheads. Whittaker Wilderness Peak off State Route (SR) 900 is a circuit that is decently pitched, is very pretty despite having no lookouts and includes water along the way for furry friends. Harvey Manning trailhead has Million Dollar View right at the beginning, where you can see Mount Baker and Lake Sammamish.
One of the best lookouts to see Lake Sammamish, Mount Rainier, Seattle and more is Debbie’s View.
History lovers will enjoy the Bullitt Fireplace trail, which features the ruins of the Bullitt family cabins, where all that is left is the fireplace. The family purchased 600 acres of land there and wanted to keep it without roads, tree-cutting or anything else that would take away from nature. There are several trailheads, but the most common access is the Mountainside trailhead.
This mountain hosts the more pitched hikes. Something more challenging is Cable Line, which is not only hiking, but some scrabbling as well. I would work up to this trail if you are not an experienced hiker. One of the more famous trails in Washington is the Poo Poo Point Trail. This leads to Poo Poo Point, which has a lovely meadow and paragliding.
There are many other places to hike, like Little Si and Mount Si in North Bend, which have beautiful views. Trailhead Direct runs now through September 4 and goes to Little Si and Mount Si, with one of the stops being the east gate freeway station. For more hiking trails, visit our Hiking the PNW series, which features in-depth descriptions and pictures of trails.
This is an activity you can do in indoor gyms or outside in nature, although outdoors is a little different. For example, there is no cushiony padding to land on, just earth, and even if you can, a 5.11a indoors does not mean that same level will transfer to outdoors. If you are a first time climber, take classes. There are many climbing locations, although not exactly near Bellevue College. In past quarters, BC has offered Beginning Rock Climbing (PE 114), so keep your eyes open for it to be offered again.
Mountaineering involves many different activities, including climbing and traversing, to summit a mountain. This differs from hiking, as it is a more intense, extreme version of mountain trekking and is great for the adrenaline junkie types. Since this is such an intense sport, it is important to take the proper precautions and physical training regimen, including cardio, endurance, strength, and lots of hiking and climbing. It is also important to note that this sport is better suited as a passion than a one-off experience, as it takes time to build up to. You should take classes and hire a guide to make sure you are well-prepared and safe throughout your trip. Additionally, The Mountaineers is a community you can join and converse with about your experiences.
Biking on a mountain is very different from road cycling. It involves rough terrain and specific bike types. While Bellevue College does rent bikes, these will probably not withstand mountain biking, as they are designed for pavement.
A popular place to mountain bike is Duthie Hill, as it is second in Washington and 72nd in the world. It is rated as an intermediate location and offers many different trails ranging from difficult to easy. A way to get introduced to mountain biking is taking a bike down a wooded path to see how well you handle uneven paths and drops.
Bellevue College offers ways to get introduced to the Washington mountains, including the Northwest Fitness Exploration (PE 260) class this summer and fall, as well as Hiking and Orienteering (PE 115) this fall. Either way, you should get out into nature and enjoy Washington’s amazing mountain ranges.