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Little Si Hike – A Short But Amazing Trail Near Seattle

little si hike

Hiking Lenght: 4.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 1200 feet

Hiking Time: < 2:30 hours

I’ve visited places all over the United States and know that it has so many incredible places to hike. However, some of my favorite hiking trails in the country are located near Seattle.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to hike around North Bend, Washington, on the Little Si Trail. This accessible summit lies just to the west of Mount Si, a mountain close to Seattle.

Each year more than 100,000 people visit this spot, which is just a 35-minute drive from the city, to make the moderate hike.

Some of them continue to the longer, more difficult Mount Si trail, which is also accessible from here, but if you’re primarily looking for a good morning or afternoon hike with great views, Little Si makes an excellent option.  

Keep reading to learn more about why I love this trail and why you should add it to your list of hikes to complete if you are ever in Washington State.

Little Si Trailhead (Starting Point)

little si trailhead
Courtesy of Steve Cyr @ Flickr

The starting point for this hike is at the Little Si trailhead, which is also the location of the Old Mount Si trail in the Snoqualmie Region in North Bend.

It is west of the current more extensive Mount Si trails. Access the Little Si parking for the trailhead and the overflow parking via Mount Si Road.

Super wet and muddy, definitely pack backup shoes for the ride home. Crisp and cool at the top.

Carey S, Pro Hiker

How to Get to the Trailhead

little si trail map
Little Si Trail Map. Courtesy of

To get to the Little Si trailhead by car, take I-90 East approaching North Bend. From there, take the exit for 436th Ave SE.

Turn left off the exit and head about 0.5 miles down 436 Ave SE until you reach North Bend Way. Turn left onto North Bend Way and travel about 0.3 miles.

Take a right onto Mount Si Road. You will see the main parking lot about 0.4 miles down the road on your left. 

If that lot is full, an overflow lot is available just west of the main parking lot. If you park in the overflow parking, a short trail will lead you to the main parking area, where you can start at the trailhead.

Because both parking lots can be packed during prime times (such as weekends), the Trailhead Direct bus has a route to this location from the Seattle area.

Other Trails Nearby:

Little Si Trail Description

little si trail
Little Si Trail View – Courtesy of Washington DNR @ Flickr

Some hikers consider the Little Si mount in Washington state a moderate hike, but we find it an easy one.

It is an up-and-back hike with a total distance of about 4.5 miles.

Most hikers can complete the round trip in about one hour and a half to 2 hours. During the hike, you will ascend to about 1,200 feet in elevation.

Very busy on this sunny Saturday! The trail itself was very easy to follow. People of all skill level were able to do it. It was a bit muddle and slippery so make sure to wear sturdy boots. Also had to wait a bit for a parking spot even at 1pm. Over it was a beautiful and great hike! Definitely would recommend!!

Krista Lambeau, Pro Hiker

The Little Si Hike does not require any specific experience or equipment and is an ideal location for both families with children and leisure hikers.

However, experienced hikers often climb it as well, especially when the larger Mount Si is under snow. It’s also a dog-friendly hike, so your furry friend will also enjoy the experience and exercise. 

As you first start down the trail, you will find that it has some calf-burning steepness and switchbacks, but after about 5 or 10 minutes (approximately a quarter-mile), it levels out, giving hikers a bit of a break. 

At this point, if you want to extend your hike a bit more, look for and take the Boulder Garden Loop, which is accessible at the 0.3 and 0.5-mile points.

Hiking little si
Little Si Hiking Trail – Courtesy of Mike Murry @ Flickr

Choosing this option will add 2.5 miles and 900 feet of elevation gain to your trip. If that’s not for you, simply keep left on the main trail to proceed up directly to the Little Si summit.

Keep in mind that if you wish to connect to the more extensive Mount Si trail, you must enter the Boulder Garden Loop. 

As you make your way toward the summit, distinct wooden signage will guide you exactly where you need to go.

You will hike through a scenic forest with many large and beautiful trees and moss-covered surroundings everywhere you look.

On a hot day, this forest cover gives you good protection from the sun, and it can protect you from other Mount Si weather elements as well, such as rain, which is quite pleasing.

As you make your way up, you will also see areas of rocks and boulders for rock climbing on Little Si. It can be exciting to pause and watch the climbers up close for a few minutes. 

little si hike washington
Courtesy of Washington DNR @ Flickr

When you reach the last part of the hike (about ¾ of a mile from the top), you will again have a moderate incline to make, which continues until you reach the summit.

Once there, you can relax for a minute and take in the view. There are no 360-degree views at the summit, but you will experience a nice view of the valley and can see Mount Washington.

You simply retrace your steps back down to return to the parking lot. Also, no steep inclines on the way back, so it is an easy hike back to your car.

After you’ve successfully completed the hike, you can check the local spot called Little Si restaurant in North Bend for some fun, food, and cocktails.

After completing the Little Si Hike, take a look over our list of finest hiking trails in the proximity of Seattle and pick your next hiking experience.

Hiking Little Si Tips

little si hike near seattle
Courtesy of mkbrandt @ Flickr

If you’re planning to hike Little Si during the busiest times, such as on the weekends, you may want to plan to start your day as early as possible.

Both the main parking lot and the overflow parking lot can fill up quite quickly, and you may have trouble finding a spot.

Also, note that you will need to have a Discover Pass to park in either of the parking lots.

You cannot purchase this pass at the parking lot but must purchase and print it or pick it up at a local store like the North Bend Ace Hardware.

Finally, if you’re hiking early in the morning or late in the evening, wear a headlamp as the trail’s giant trees can make it rather dark.

Best Time to Hike

hiking little si trail
Courtesy of Laurel F @ Flickr

Little Si is a great trail to hike all year long because the forest covering the trail protects it from many of the elements making the Mount Si weather decent.

Of course, the busiest time of year is the summer, so if you’re looking to hike when it is a bit less crowded, try a hike in the winter months.

And, a last piece of advice, wear hiking boots with good grip as the trail is very muddy and slippery most of the year. I personally use flat feet hiking shoes as I need more arch support, but make sure you wear what fits you better.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take Little Si to Hike?

You can expect the 4.5-mile hike up to the summit of Little Si will take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. If you add the Boulder Garden Loop, you will probably add another 30 minutes or so to your hike.

How Hard Is Mount Si Hike?

The Little Si Hike is considered a moderate-level hike that is good for hikers of all levels, including beginners. The longer Mount Si Hike is more challenging and not recommended for beginners. However, one does not have to be an expert-level hiker to complete it.

Do You Need a Pass to Hike Mount Si?

You do not specifically need a pass to hike on the Mount Si trails. However, you do need a Washington State Discover pass to park at either parking lot. You can easily purchase this pass online or at several retailers (including REI or the North Bend Ace Hardware). 

What Is the Elevation of Little Si?

The elevation of Little Mount Si is 1,576 feet, making it not a very steep peak compared to others. By contrast, the Mount Si peak is 4,167 feet.

Is Mount Si a Volcano?

Mount Si is not an active volcano, but it is a remnant of an ancient oceanic plate volcano. For this reason, the rock deposits on the mountain are highly-metamorphosed.