Climbing to the top of Col. Bob is a challenging enough hike that you want a day where you can take advantage of the tremendous views once you get there! Last Tuesday was one of those days. We had heard from a couple of our guests that enough of the snow had melted so that the trail was now passable even though there were still a number of snow patches that we found we needed to navigate. We decided to take the Pete’s Creek Trail which is steeper, but shorter. I think one of the things we enjoy the most about this hike is the variety of ecosystems as you ascend the trail. The trail begins in a lowland forest of Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar. Then we passed onto slopes of mountain scrub with Vine Maple, Salmon Berry, and Columbine. Next we hiked through a sub alpine area with Mountain Hemlock, true fir, and Avalanche Lilies. Lastly, at the top we saw lichen, pink heather, and sedum among the rocks. Sadly, this trail has not been maintained in the last few years so there is lots of rock on the path and fallen trees to circumvent. Sometimes you feel like you’re going to be swallowed up in the salmon berries. However, the salmon berry bushes rewarded us with ample picking as we hiked along! We were the only ones there when we reached the top and we really did feel like we were on top of the world with a 360 degree view! We could see west to the coast, north to Mt. Olympus, and east to Mt. Rainier.
It takes about an hour to drive to the Pete’s Creek trail head from Lochaerie and you should allow a minimum of 6 hours for the hike with additional time spent at the top.