There are plenty of reasons to hike to Garnet Mountain even if you're not looking to stay overnight at the fire lookout. This high altitude trail roams through many alpine meadows where you will enjoy spectacular views of pristine mountain peaks. The forests that carpet the hillsides are dominated by pine trees, giving the air fresh mountain scents that you and your dog will both enjoy. Mountains fold into each other as far as the eye can see and the meadows fill with wildflowers in the spring. Among the wildlife that call the area home are grizzly bears, mountain lions, Canada lynx, gray wolves, bighorn sheep, elk, moose, and many different species of birds including grouse. Though you're allowed to let your dog off leash on certain parts of the trail, it's a good idea to keep them leashed for their safety and out of respect for the local wildlife.
To start your hike, drive to the Storm Castle Peak Trailhead on Storm Castle Road. The Garnet Mountain Trail begins across the street. Parking is limited, but free. The steep single track trail is 3.5 miles each way. An alternate route is available: you can start at the Rat Lake trailhead a little further east for a four-mile hike along a double track fire road that is slightly less steep. Be sure to consult updated trail maps or a local ranger to make sure you've planned a manageable route.
However you get there, and however long you stay, you're sure to enjoy taking in the wild mountain air at Garnet Peak with your favorite four-legged companion.