I feel like a broken record, but as the days and weekends tick by, it becomes more and more apparent with each passing day that our time here in the PNW is quickly dwindling. Ryan and I were talking about it yesterday, and we realized that if you break it down, we have about eight weeks (or less) left here in Washington. That means eight weekends of adventures if we’re lucky. We’re doing our best to cram in every single adventure and outing possible, but with work, school, Ryan beginning the process of clearing out of post, and arranging every detail, it’s getting hectic. We are making the most of it with some of our favorite people though, and that’s how we found ourselves hiking Garfield Ledges in North Bend.
Garfield Ledges Trailhead
As spring slowly blooms out here, the trails are getting busier and our hikes are getting a lot more pleasant. We’re not afraid of hiking in the rain or snow (as evidenced by hiking Franklin Falls and Barclay Lake Trail), but there’s something nice about hiking with sunny skies. We chose Garfield Ledges in North Bend for a few reasons. First, it’s a shorter trail but offers a significant climb, so you have a challenge – but one the kids can totally do. Second, AllTrails declares it a “moderately trafficked” hike, which means it’s not as popular as some of the others in the area.
Here’s the thing. I love a good popular hike. Some of the ones I’ve wanted to do the most, like Naches Peak Loop Trail, are insanely popular. But there’s something nice about discovering and carving your own little paradise, and that’s the third reason we chose to hike Garfield Ledges. Also, it’s only about an hour and 15 minutes from JBLM, which makes it the perfect choice for us.
Garfield Ledges Weather
Garfield Ledges is just outside of North Bend, WA, which plants it firmly in the Northwest Forest Region. We chose to hike on an epically sunny day, searching the weather in North Bend to ensure that we’d be all set. It was cool and breezy, but the sun was so warm, and while the hike up is in the shade, once you reach the ledges themselves, it’s warm and perfect for a picnic, which we definitely enjoyed.
Perhaps the best part of hiking Garfield Ledges is the fact that the views are insane. You can see the entirety of the Middle Fork/Snoqualmie lowlands below on a clear day, and it was beyond impressive. The trail was in great condition, too, and despite weeks of rain prior, it wasn’t too muddy for the kids to explore just off trail from time to time. And yes, Mieke hiked too, doing a whole half uphill on her own two feet before asking to climb in the Deuter. That’s how you do it, friends! Make them want to be carried!
Hiking Garfield Ledges with Kids
When we arrived at the trailhead, there were only four other cars in the parking lot, and the bathrooms and area were completely accessible. When we came back down a couple hours later, there were a few more cars in the lot, but people on the trail were considerate, and there was plenty of room at the top for people to enjoy the Garfield Ledges at their own pace. In short, this was an epic one and it was even better that we hiked Garfield Ledges with kids because we all enjoyed it! Local friends, if you’re hoping to hike this one, here’s what you should know:
Trail Length: 2 miles roundtrip
Level of Difficulty: Easy-moderate – it’s a well-maintained trail, but you will climb 800 vertical feet in a mile.
Cost: You’ll need your Northwest Forest Pass or pay $10 per day.
Dogs: Yes! Dogs are welcome on the trail with a leash.
Tips: Bring a little picnic or snacks for a picnic at the top because, trust me, you’ll want to stay a while!