The big mountains draw the big crowds, but the smaller mountains should not be overlooked. These forgotten peaks offer the best views of the big mountains with fewer people and less effort.
Although the hike to Middle Pyramid's incredible viewpoint is short, it is steep and direct. The trail wastes no time gaining elevation as it pushes through thick meadows lush with devil's club, salmonberry and thistle. Wildflowers grow beneath towering old-growth. The scenery is very typical of Pacific Northwest forest, but it feels more intimate since the trail is not frequented by hundreds of hikers each week. Be prepared to push through tall shrubs cloaking the trail with their overhanging leaves.
Along the way you'll hike up the side of a broad, cliff-rimmed basin carved by an ancient glacier. This offers the first glimpse of the views to come. As the trail begins to follow a rocky ridge you'll notice that the vegetation changes and the trees grow shorter. At the base of Middle Pyramid's double summit block, scramble up to the left to reach the north summit. There's no official route; take the path of least resistance. From there you can see the North Pyramid just a stone's throw away.
Scramble back down to the saddle and follow a dirt track through some vegetation to the mountain's south summit. Here you'll see some metal pipes that are the only remains of a fire tower that stood until 1968. There's plenty of room to relax here and see how many mountains you can identify from this magnificent perch.
For a longer and more gently graded hike, start at the North Pyramid trail on Parrish Lake Road 2266. Hike 4.6 miles to the summit and return the way you came.