People flock to beaches, mountain hiking trails during weekend heat wave

May 15, 2023, 6:44 AM | Updated: 6:58 am

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

(Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

As temperatures inch up into the mid-80s, beaches and hiking trails across western Washington are growing crowded.

Saturday afternoon, hundreds were seen splashing and floating along the Angle Lake shoreline. Puget Sound Fire rescue teams rushed to the popular SeaTac park around 11:30 a.m. in response to a possible drowning. 911 callers reported a person struggling in the water, but when firefighters arrived they found the supposed drowning victim near the dock. The individual was okay, but seemed to have a close call.

Most beaches throughout the region will remain without lifeguards, until at least Memorial Day weekend. Several cities in western Washington and across the country are facing a lifeguard shortage. The shortage could lead to some beaches being closed this summer.

Despite the heat up, many bodies of water are still chilly. Angle Lake registered at 68 degrees Saturday afternoon. Other popular swimming spots like Lake Washington (60 degrees) and Lake Tapps (58 degrees) have yet to catch up.

Mt. Rainier National Park is expecting a surge of visitors this Mother’s Day weekend. Ranger Terry Wildy wants eager travelers to manage their expectations — it’s still early season.

“If you come into the park and you want to go up to Paradise, this is not the weekend you’re going to be able to take a picture of mom in front of wildflower meadows,” said Wildy. “You can take a picture of mom at Paradise in front of 10 feet of snow.”

Unless you’ve got snowshoes, Wildy suggests the trails in the Longmire area not far from the park entrance in Ashford.

“Most people aren’t going to hike long distances on snow,” said Wildy. “Its going to start melting, its going to get a little slushy and if you’re not ready for that I would say save your hikes for lowland trails.”

King County’s Trailhead Direct shuttle service can transport you to snow-free trails in the North Bend area. Instead of driving out to the trailhead yourself, you can hop aboard a Trailhead Direct bus in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. That bus will take you to and from three trailheads: Mt. Si, Little Si and Teneriffe Falls. ORCA card carrying hikers 19 and older can take advantage of the shuttle for $2.75.

Leonardo Toma used the service to get to and from Mt. Si Saturday afternoon. Toma recently moved from Brazil and doesn’t have a car. He started capitalizing on the service last year and only sings its praises.

“Its very, very helpful, very useful especially for us who don’t drive,” said Leonardo. “The headache of parking, we don’t have that.”

The Trailhead Direct route will operate daily until the first week of September.

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People flock to beaches, mountain hiking trails during weekend heat wave