The Little Mountain Park Loop is a downright gorgeous run that's great for individuals and groups. In just a few miles, this route explores several easier trails, and a few more challenging ones, while traveling to some of the area's most beautiful forests and summit views.
From the Entrance Trailhead, locate the nearby crosswalk and follow it to La-Z-Boy
for a mellow descent surrounded by lush ferns and mossy trees before turning to climb past the intersection with Cairn
continues winding through tall trees and even larger stumps.
Just before the road, turn left on Over The Top
to quickly connect with Upper Surfer's Way
at a "T" intersection. Head right to descend to the road and then follow it around the bend to the mid-mountain parking area.
Look for the Ridge Trail
just after the start of Bonnie and Clyde's
. This comfortable singletrack immediately starts to ascend into a cheerful forest with scattered clumps of holly. About a quarter of the way up, runners will pass a single maple tree with over ten trunks growing from the base. Get ready, because the trail's steepest section is next, including a small chute scattered with rocks.
Afterward, the grade remains steady as the trail winds up through a shaded forest. Avoid the assortment of spur trails by always sticking with the clearest path. As runners keep going, the occasional rock face, boulder, and plenty of undemanding rocks and roots keep things interesting until the trail levels out at a low sandstone shelf and nearby viewpoint. The top of the trail exits the woods past a chain-link-fenced radio installation to end at the southeast corner of the summit clearing.
Take some time to enjoy the views over the Skagit Valley, Puget Sound, and various islands before making your way through the parking area to the lower end of the North Viewpoint Trail
. This gravel road circles around to a viewpoint that's well worth another stop.
Keep moving counter-clockwise past the entrance of Sidewinder
to reach the small opening of Ginny's Trail
. Runners will quickly find themselves picking their way down the ridgeline over moderately steep terrain. The dense salal and occasional tight trees combine with a smattering of roots and rock slabs to give the trail a nice, undeveloped feel.
Roughly a third of the way down, Ginny's Trail
merges over a corner of Sidewinder
before heading back into the trees directly across from a Sidewinder
sign. The rest of the trail alternates between smooth ribbons of singletrack and small unruly patches of roots. There's also a few sections of casual exposure before the trail reaches Bonnie and Clyde's
After a couple of switchbacks, the narrow bench turns to cut across a steep, fern-covered slope. The descending soon comes to an end as Bonnie and Clyde's
switches to a rolling climb through pleasant surroundings comprised of trees, salal, ferns, and an occasional rock slab that create a particularly pretty scene in this section of the park. Ahead, a number of trails intersect at a slight rise. To the left, marked by a caution sign, is the very steep Fred's Trail
and to the right is the West Loop
and Julieann Trail
Turn right and get ready for a short-and-steep descent on the West Loop
. Once you've passed an awkward patch of roots, things get easier. Take a moment to enjoy the views of the nearby ravine before skirting its edge as the trail travels southwest to a small turn nestled in a clearing. Near the end, the West Loop
circles the base of a giant Douglas fir (perhaps the largest in the park) before it arrives at the intersection with Up Quick
and the Darvill Trail
Continue on Up Quick
for the smallest of leisurely sections that ends at the intersection with Taylor's Trail
. The rest of Up Quick
lives up to its name, as the singletrack takes a muscle-burning trajectory up the fall line. The top half incorporates a few switchbacks, but the going is still plenty steep until you reach the end of Bonnie and Clyde's
as it continues back to the mid-mountain parking area. This is easily the most taxing section of the run.
Follow the road down to the kiosk and porta-potty and take Rooty
for a nice traversing cool-down that finishes by winding down the hill's contours to end back at the Entrance Trailhead.
This run was compiled based on suggestions from the Mount Vernon Parks Foundation. To find out more about the park and their efforts to support it, click here
The entire park is blanketed by a wonderful second-growth forest with Douglas firs, maples, and alders making appearances throughout. Look for various birds as you run, including several varieties of woodpeckers.