Web Analytics Made Easy - Statcounter

Hiking at Gold Creek Trail

Share this Post:
Photo by Lindsey Anderson
Photo by Lindsey Anderson

Benji and I returned to Snoqualmie Pass for our latest hiking adventure. Just an hour outside the city, Gold Creek Trail (not to be confused with the ones on the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas) wasn't difficult to find, which made it particularly appealing for a directionally challenged person like myself.

We drove out of the Seattle rain, climbing above the clouds. The trailhead was busy for a sunny Sunday afternoon — the lot was full, so we had to park on the side of the road!

Once we set out on the easy, paved path around the gorgeous blue lake, it became clear to me why Gold Creek was such a popular spot for beginner hikers. The flat trail is one of the most accessible locations outside the main Seattle parks for people in wheelchairs or with mobility limitations to explore. With little to no elevation gain on the main trails, this hike can be enjoyed by people of all abilities.

While Gold Creek didn't offer Benji or me difficult terrain, it still presented us with the same splendor and beauty other more treacherous nearby trails keep hidden behind rigid peaks. The sunshine poked through gaps in yellow and orange leaves and glittered on the stunning blue water of the creek.

Photo by Lindsey Anderson  

The woods were filled with mushrooms, which several children seemed to find enjoyment in foraging.. While the mushrooms did delight me with their whimsy, I kept my distance, as now and then, we stumbled upon a circle of them. Though fairy circles are a naturally occurring phenomenon, I'd heard enough stories about their hazards as a child to keep my distance. I may not believe all the folktales surrounding fairy circles anymore, but a small reminder that women who step foot inside are known to disappear did echo inside my little solo hiker ears.

I also kept Benji far away from any mushrooms we saw, as I am not a skilled forager and did not want to risk him eating anything toxic. He spent his time instead sniffing out chipmunks and trying to catch falling leaves as they landed on the path ahead.

Just off the trail, rocky inlets led us to the water's edge. We passed through some trees and found ourselves on the bank of the creek. Looking out in all directions before me, I could see the water kiss the shore. Flat rocks, perfect for skipping, lined the inlet, daring me to see how far I could send them. Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see fish jump, though as soon as I turned my head to catch their leap, all that was left were the ripples in an otherwise still body of water.

Though the nice weather ultimately meant we weren't as secluded as I'd prefer on a hike, there was something about Gold Creek that helped us escape reality for a few minutes. Maybe it was the reflection of the clouds mirrored on the creek, the jumping of water bugs, or the peaceful trickle of mountain springs?

Looking out, the mountains above reminded us of all of fall's beauty. Like a dash of seasoning in an autumnal soup, yellow pine trees flecked the sides of green hills, which served as a beacon, guiding us along the trail. No matter which direction we wound up, those yellow and green pines still crowned the horizon.

Photo by Lindsey Anderson  

Benji enjoyed the freedom of being off-leash and took advantage of what may have been the last sunny hike we'll get this year. He darted in and out of the chilly water, attempting to catch bugs and minnows. Though this hike did not provide him with vast views of the world below, he did find solace in a bridge over the creek, from which he was able to peer out over the edge.

The path took us around the lake, through colorful wooded landscapes, and finally to a field of tall grass. The sounds of toads and crickets serenaded us throughout the walk but crescendoed as we ended our adventure.

Gold Creek was an easy hike, even for me and Benji, who admittedly are not avid hikers. While the walk didn't leave us sore or particularly challenged, it did stand as a reminder to me that nature is for everyone. Accessible trails are essential to ensure that all community members can go outside and commune with nature. Beautiful views should not be a luxury reserved for the select few who can make it up the mountain. Hiking isn't about climbing up and looking down — it's about getting outside and seeing things from a new perspective.