On Monday, my youngest son decided he wanted to go hiking about 4:00 in the afternoon. He came and asked me if I wanted to go. My first inclination was to look at the clock, determining that it was too late to go, especially since the hike he wanted to go on – April Bowl – was an hour away, plus hiking time, and then drive time home. But just as I was going to tell him all these thoughts, he reminded me that we hadn’t really been hiking this summer, and as it was a holiday so we weren’t working, maybe we should take advantage of that time. I couldn’t argue with that, so we asked if anyone else wanted to go, no one else did, and we headed out the door.
We usually go up Hatcher’s Pass multiple times a summer, but this summer we have been so busy that this was our first trip up the Pass. I didn’t realize how much I needed that trip! It was a beautiful drive, with plenty of time to unwind and relax, not to mention great company. I didn’t realize how much I needed to unwind!
April Bowl is one of my favorite hikes up Hatcher’s Pass. It is at the summit of the pass and there are a couple of options for hiking. The first option is to hike up to the bowl, the hike is uphill the whole way, but there are switchbacks so it’s not as difficult as going straight up, unless you’re my son, and we hiked straight up the waterfall. The trail is narrow however, so if you have balance issues, you might want to use walking sticks. This is a beautiful hike, and the bowl has 3 small lakes that you can explore (the third lake was still under snow on Monday). Sometimes my kids like to just stop there and play in the water. There is plenty of space to spread out and makes a great destination for a relaxing afternoon. The second leg of the hike, if you choose to continue, takes you up to the ridge line of the mountain peaks around the bowl. This is our favorite place to hike, the ridgelines of any mountain. The views are always spectacular in any direction, and you can see for miles! This is where my son and I decided to go. Getting to the ridgeline is uphill, there is no way around it, and there are no more switchbacks, just straight up the side. However, I like this ridgeline hike because you start almost at the top, so while it is not necessarily an easy ascent, it’s a short ascent compared to some of the ridgeline hikes we’ve done, so it doesn’t take long to get to the top. Once on top, you can follow the ridgeline just around the bowl, or it also connects into other ridgeline trails as well. Those trails end in vastly different locations however, so make sure you know where you’re going and have a vehicle at the other end.
I am so grateful for my son’s desire to hike on Monday, and for the time and spontaneity to just get up and go. The weather was perfect and the opportunity to spend one on one time with my youngest son was priceless. If you have a chance to visit Hatcher’s Pass, this is a great hike that I would recommend to most ages and hiking skill levels, at least to the bowl.