I think I’m still in a little bit of denial when it comes to the fact that our days hiking and exploring the beautiful PNW are rapidly coming to a close. While JBLM hasn’t been my favorite duty station, the opportunities for adventure here are seemingly endless, and I will miss the epic mountain vistas that we’ve seen together as a family. But we’re not there yet! We still have time to explore, and we wrapped our third hike of 2021 this past weekend, spending Saturday hiking Winter Block Trail in North Bend, WA.
Hiking Winter Block Trail
Our goal with hiking this year is slightly different than our goal last year. We spent much of 2020 focusing on just getting out there, building that muscle memory, and taking things slow and steady. I offered my tips for getting started hiking last week, and after our initial debacle hiking Lake Serene, we took it much slower, and we stuck with easy trails across the board. We maxed our distances at about 3.5-4 miles, and we really tried to make the elevation gain minimal. This year, our goal is to mix easy and moderate-rated trails. When easy, we’ll aim for between 4.5 and 6 miles. When moderate, we’ll aim for between 2 and 3.5. Hiking Winter Block Trail was just the ticket.
I’d honestly never heard of Winter Block before finding it on AllTrails, and I think it’s primarily because it’s the same trail as Dirty Harry’s Peak Trail (DHPT), which is a massively popular hike in North Bend. Winter Block meets its halfway point about 3/4 of the way to Dirty Harry’s turnaround point, and honestly, I’m glad we stopped there for the kids. This trail has some pretty significant switchbacks, and the elevation gain was definitely steady enough for us to feel the proverbial burn.
In true Washington-in-January fashion, it was drizzly and overcast, but the weather cooperated for the most part. It was about 45 degrees at the trailhead, but the temperature rapidly dropped as we climbed, and when we reached the Winter Block lookout, the temp had dropped to 34 degrees, and the wind chill was epic. The views were 100% worth the wind gusts and drizzles though, and we could see the mountains all around us, as well as i-90 winding into the distance, which was definitely a sight to behold, as well.
The boys did amazing on this hike – Spencer in particular. We’ve really noticed a difference in him these past few hikes as he grows more sure-footed and comfortable in his ability to hike – and scramble – as necessary. While this was a shorter hike, it definitely challenged us, and I highly recommend it to anyone in the area! Now, we just need warmer days so we can do all of DHPT without all the mud!
Tips for Hiking Winter Block Trail
Trail Length: 2.6 miles out and back if you count from the parking area, rather than the trailhead.
Level of Difficulty: This hike is rated moderate for its short but steep elevation gain of 997 feet in just 1.3 miles.
Cost: You will need your Discover Pass for this trail.
Dogs: Yes! Dogs are allowed on this trail, so long as they are on leash! It is a busy trail though, so take that into account when hiking with your pup.
Tips: Make sure you have waterproof boots and/or boot gaiters in the winter because it is very muddy and wet in some areas of the trail.