Grieder Lake is a great short trail that is relatively close to Seattle (1.5 hour drive). It has some great old growth forest and wonderful sections of temperate lowland Western Washington forest. If it were a "normal" year, the trail would be free of snow and dry by July, but the trail was still relatively wet and we saw snow on the upper parts of the trail.When we hiked it in July 2011, they were replacing some culverts in the road, so we couldn't drive all the way to the trailhead. That wasn't much of a problem at all. The trouble was all the deep ravines they cut across the road, adding a lot of steep up and downs to the trail.
The road goes through secondary decidous forest and gives a good view of Spada Lake and the Sultan River. It crosses some nice waterfalls and crosses over one of the tributaries that feeds into Sultan River.
The trail itself was overgrown, probably because the road was closed. But enough people hiked the trail before us, so we never had a problem. There were quite a few blowdowns on the trail - but most we could easily skirt around. The first 1.5-2 miles of the trail were switchbacks, climbing through the temperate forest. The underbrush and forest floor was thick with ferns, moss, and small plants. There were some flowers in bloom, mostly goatsbeard and false lily of the valley. There were also some queen's cup lilies sprinkle through out. The trail levels out and skirts Little Greider Lake before the trail crosses a creek via a nicely build footbridge. Little Geider Lake is fed by Big Greider Lake, which is more impressive with the mountain side butting up one side of the lake. In the early summer, the wildflowers were blooming around the wet lake side. And I could imagine the lake being equally beautiful in the early fall with the foilage of the Douglas Maples and wild blueberries changing to a vibrant red.
The birds we saw were typical of the mountains of Western Washington. We saw quite a few Black Swifts hawking high up in the sky. Four American Dippers seemed pretty at home with all the rushing creek and river water. As with most forest, many of the birds were more easily heard than seen. But the serenades of Hermit and Swainson's Thrushes, Pacific-sloped Flycatchers, Warbling Vireos, MacGillivary's Warblers are equally rewarding as seeing them.
Located: north of Sultan on highway-2