GUIDE: Hiking Mt. Si


mt-si-washingtonIf you’re thinking about hiking Mt. Si, please read this article. It’s short and sweet and will keep you from making a complete fool of yourself. Say What? Is this possible?? If you have been to any high-traffic hiking spot, sadly yes – it’s true. Don’t let yourself be “that guy” – follow this guide to look like you’re a seasoned veteran…even if your not. :)

Mt. Si is hands-down an INCREDIBLE hike, no matter your skill level. Whether it takes you 2hrs or 8hrs – it doesn’t matter. You crossed the same path and saw the same view! Many people train on Mt. Si for Rainier. If you can do the entire thing in 2 hours you are ready to tackle Rainier! Because of this, you will find both seasoned mountaineers and newbies alike on the Mt. Si trail (as well as people running it!) so it’s important to be respectful of one another rather than shaming each other. It doesn’t matter your goal – everyone has the right to ENJOY!

TIP: If you have an invasive dog, keep it on a leash. Even if you know your dog is only running up to say hey, it is rude to have an invasive dog off leash. If you have a dog that likes to bark at people constantly – don’t bring it.

*** TIP: Do not bring a personal speaker and blast music on the trail.***


What you need to bring:

  • Camelback with Water
  • Something to munch on every 1 hour of exercise. (I like Energy Beans, Clif Bars, Blocks…etc) I did the entire thing in under two hours and ran the entire way down. I would encourage not trying to eat a full meal, but rather eat small snacks as you get hungry (DO NOT go more than 90 minutes of heart pounding exercise without fueling ! )
  • Beer for the top?
  • Climbing Shoes or snug fitting hiking shoes (for the last 40 feet and decent down the haystack gully)
  • Your dog
  • A positive, friendly attitude


The hike is straight forward. You can’t get lost! Yay!

You will KNOW when you get to the top…but it’s actually not the top. This is a great view here so choose to move on or stop here. The haystack scramble is rewarding but only do it if you feel confident and prepared.

If you want to do the Haystack Scramble, continue on through the trees in it’s direction (you’ll be looking slightly left at it). When you get to a fork, go right. If you’re not sure, wait a minute and someone will show you the way. Once again, it’s a busy trail. The trail here is still very clear. You will switch back left and make your way up to the base of the haystack. It’s a really obvious gully where you will see a bunch of people looking scared and not knowing how to get down properly.


BE SMART. As with any mountaineering, climbing or hiking – if you know that you are not ready for the haystack, don’t do it.

There is no perfect way up or down the haystack. Rather than climbing straight up, think about winding your way up the path of least resistance. We stayed mostly left.

Feel free to put your climbing shoes on here or wait until the last scramble to the top which is much airier and trickier. Yes, it get tougher. At the top, look left – this is the last scramble to the top and is legitimately scary. Be very careful down climbing this!

CELEBRATE. If you made it here, you made it the highest you can go and you can see everything!

Now, DOWN-CLIMB DOWN. (That means turn your little body around, face the wall and step down one at a time. This feels weird at first but is more natural and safer than crab walking.)

I can’t tell you how many people I saw trying to crab walk the entire way down the haystack, which is very difficult and off balance. DO NOT CRAB WALK DOWN THE HAYSTACK. Even worse was when I saw a person guiding a group of 15 people down the haystack in crab walk style.

Being scared is normal. It’s ok to be scared up there. Just don’t let your fear cause you to make poor decisions.


  • Do NOT crab-walk the entire way. DOWN CLIMB on all steep parts.
  • DON’T Disturb rocks, potentially kicking rocks onto people below.
  • Do not litter!

Here is a video on down climbing if you’re not sure. Thanks for reading!


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