Tronsen Ridge: Best short hike east of the Cascades

Tronsen Ridge has to be the shortest of my most favorite hikes! It’s hard to believe that this medium-hard trail features some of the most breathtaking views east of the Cascades–just a mile into the hike!

At about the end of the first mile on the Tronsen Ridge-Mount Lillian trail, head left at the fork, to the nearest viewpoint. Here you will find an amazing pananorama stretching ahead into eastern Washington. To the far left you will see the Cascades, behind an impressively large outcropping of sandstone. Further up the trail you’ll see many more unique rock formations, not to mention a view of Mount Stuart, the tallest of the Cascade mountains.

Burnt in the Table Mountain Fire of 2012, the Mount Lillian area is anything but bare—dead, surviving, and recovering trees furnish the landscape. Indian Paintbrush and other native flowers are popping up from the ground. (Very unique flower photo opportunities here!) The biological circle of life continues.

I love this hike because you can choose how far you want to go, while not missing out on an amazing view. I estimate we did only about 3 miles total (1.5 miles both ways)! The trail is somewhat rough, due to erosion from dirt bike usage, mountain biking, and horseback riding. While these are nice options for tackling the trail, please be aware that engines are prohibited between October 15 and June 15 each year.

The trailhead is about 2 hours east of Seattle on I-90. Consult the Washington Trails Association website for complete driving directions. Be sure to check the weather and the state of the trail before you plan your hike.


Wandering Washington? Check out a few of my favorite spots:

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