There really aren’t any words to describe the views at the summit of Mt Dickerman, but you’ll earn every mesmerizing moment of them. This hike rises 3900 feet in 4.6 miles, which while only moderately steep, it will wear you down on a hot day in July or August. No worries though as you’ll have plenty of company as throngs of Seattlites will make the large parking lot feel more like that of a grocery store on the day before Thanksgiving. This is more true now that it shares parking with the Perry Creek trail that was moved over a year prior to the writing of this. For this reason, if you want seclusion on this hike, you’ll have to do either the following:
1) Hike early in the season – May or June, when you will likely encounter snow from the flat area around 4350 ft all the way to the summit at 5723 ft. Despite its southern aspect (mouse-over definition), some years, such as late August, 2011 (mouse-over-photos), there was a still a snow field covering the meadow at 5200 feet, shortly before the final half-mile to the summit.
2) Go up for sunrise or sunset.
3) Winter ascent.
Option 2 is my personal favorite way to do this hike. Yes, you’ll no doubt encounter people even when going up or heading down in the dark, but it would be a crying shame to miss the wild-flowers, which blaze the trail beginning at 3 miles and 4300 feet, and virtually cover the aforementioned meadow at 5200 feet and 4 miles (mouse-over pictures). That early morning/evening light glancing off those supple petals will have your camera turning itself on.
The first 3 miles of the hike are pleasant as it uses moderately steep switchbacks, ascending second growth forest to a short flat stretch, with the occasional old growth that even the loggers couldn’t bring themselves to cut down (mouse-over pictures). So, if you are new to hiking or not in the greatest of physical shape, and want to stop there, the hike will not be a total failure.
From Seattle: I5 N to exit 194, Rte 2 E over the slough. In 2 miles, veer left at the sign for Rte 204. Go up long gradual hill for 2.5 miles to the second set of lights at the Jct of Rte 9. Go left (north) 1.7 miles to the 3rd set of lights and sign pointing toward the Mtn Loop Hwy (Rte 92). You can only go east or to the right. Follow the road 8.5 miles to Granite Falls. Go straight through town until you are forced to go either left or right. Take a left and head 27 miles to the Dickerman parking area on the left hand side.