14 Best Hikes Near Seattle

The American Pacific Northwest is a hiker’s dream, showcasing expansive stretches of undisturbed landscape that are home to snow-capped peaks, majestic glaciers, pristine lakes, and subalpine meadows and valleys. Many of the region’s landmarks are easily accessible for day-trip excursions from Seattle, including the spectacular Mount Rainier National Park, which is home to Washington’s highest peak at 14,411 feet, and the beautiful North Cascades National Park Complex, which features three National Park units within the beautiful North Cascades mountain range. Trails are available for hikers of all ability levels, from easy overlook routes to spectacular backcountry hiking areas offering overnight campsites. Photo: Bill Perry/Fotolia


»Camp Muir

Camp Muir


Camp Muir is the highest point accessible on Mount Rainier without a climbing permit, offering spectacular views of glaciers, crevasses, rockfall, and seracs from a maximum elevation point of more than 10,000 feet. The eight-mile round-trip hiking route begins at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise and features two miles of paved trails before transitioning into rocky pathways crossing restored meadows formerly used as golf course and ski resort land. The historic encampment, which is named for natural John Muir, an influential figure in establishing Mount Rainier National Park, is visible around 9,000 feet and showcases two century-old stone structures, including a former public shelter for mountain climbers. Hikers frequently use the trail as a jumping-off point for mountain climbing, though in its own right, it provides ample opportunity for wildlife watching and panoramic views. Contact: Paradise Rd E, Ashford, WA 98304 Photo: aquamarine4/Fotolia


»Chain Lakes Loop

Chain Lakes Loop


Chain Lakes Loop offers stunning views of the North Cascades Range, including Mounts Shuksan and Baker, at a maximum elevation of 5,400 feet. The eight-mile round-trip hiking loop is accessible from three parking lots within North Cascades National Park, including the Artist Point and Austin Pass/Heather Meadows access points. It offers views of sights such as Table Mountain, Mount Herman, and Herman Saddle along its route, which meanders a well-maintained trail through a variety of wildflower-populated meadows. During the summer months, trailside blueberry picking is permitted. Several alpine lakes are also accessible for swimming include the Bagley and Chain Lakes. Contact: 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284 Photo: Lijuan Guo/Fotolia


»Dungeness Spit

Dungeness Spit


Dungeness Spit offers an 11-mile round-trip hike along the Olympic Peninsula’s northern coast, located along the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Port Angeles. The 6.8-mile sand spit is the United States’ longest naturally-occurring spit, enclosing the Dungeness Bay, and is contained within Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Hikers can explore sites at the spit’s public beach end such as the historic New Dungeness Lighthouse, which was once staffed by the United States Coast Guard and now offers a small museum exhibit and picnic area. Along the way, the spit showcases lush canopy forests and serves as a popular spot for shorebird watching. Contact: PO Box 1283, Sequim, WA 98382 Photo: cascoly2/Fotolia


»Ebey’s Landing

Ebey’s Landing


Ebey’s Landing is a 19,000-acre National Historical Reserve located on Whidbey Island overlooking the Puget Sound. The reserve protects a 19th-century rural farming district located near the seaport community of Coupeville, one of the state’s oldest extant communities, and also includes the nearby Fort Casey and Fort Ebey State Parks. Its 5.6-mile round-trip Bluff Trail embarks from both a seaside parking lot and the Prairie Overlook trailhead, offering spectacular views of nearby Mount Baker and access to shoreline bluffs and lagoons. Bird watching is popular along the trail, which traverses lush wildflower and tree-lined regions. A visitor center is offered at the Ebey’s Landing entrance, and quaint historic attractions and small-town sites are easily accessible in nearby Coupeville. Contact: 162 Cemetery Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239 Photo: by-studio/Fotolia


»Kendall Katwalk

Kendall Katwalk


Kendall Katwalk is a moderately difficult 12-mile round-trip hike located along the Pacific Crest Trail within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The hike embarks from a trailhead near Snoqualmie Pass and spans a narrow path of steep rock slopes reaching a maximum elevation gain of 2,700 feet. The trail passes expansive areas of old-growth forest and offers beautiful views of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness near Kendall Peak. Waterfalls, blueberry patches, and wildflower fields abound, including the flower-filled Kendall Gardens slope meadow. For an additional trek, visitors can continue along another mile and a half to Ridge and Gravel Lakes. Contact: Pacific Crest Trail, North Bend, WA 98045 Photo: Vladyslav/Fotolia


»Little Si

Little Si



Little Si is a 1,576-foot elevation mountain within the Cascade Range located near the Washington city of North Bend, named along with neighboring larger Mount Si for regional homestead pioneer Josiah Merritt. It is accessible via a moderately easy 4.7-mile graded trail and serves as a popular year-round hiking site, colloquially referred to with its sister peak trail as “Resolution Peaks” due to the high volume of beginner hikers following January 1st each year. The north-to-south trail begins with a sharp increase in elevation but levels out after the first quarter mile, making it a prime spot for hikers looking to get in shape for more advanced area trails. Two opportunities to cut away to the nearby Boulder Garden Loop also offer rewards for veteran hikers before reaching the mountain’s summit at an elevation gain of 1,300 feet. Contact: SE Mt Si Rd, North Bend, WA 98045 Photo: Christian/Fotolia


»Maple Pass Loop

Maple Pass Loop


Maple Pass Loop is a moderate 7.2-mile loop trail accessible from the North Cascades Highway near the city of Mazama. The trail is a casual hiker’s dream in all seasons, showcasing beautiful ridges full of wildflowers during the spring and summer months and dramatic colorful autumn leaves overlooking lakes accessible until its winter closing. The loop trail begins at either the Lake Ann or Rainy Lake Trailhead and ascends more than 2,000 feet of elevation until it reaches its highest peak at the 6,995-foot Maple Pass. At Heather Pass, the trail diverges into other North Cascades National Park passes offering access to sites such as Black Peak and Lewis and Wing Lakes. Contact: 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284 Photo: vitaliymateha/Fotolia


»Moraine Trail

Moraine Trail


Moraine Trail offers a respite from the tourist crowds at Mount Rainer National Park, located within its southwestern region. The 2.2-mile round-trip hike is accessible via the Skyline and Deadhorse Creek Trails, which embark from the Paradise trailhead, and offers an excursion down into the Nisqually River Valley. The trail experiences approximately 400 feet in up and down elevation change throughout its mostly pleasant route, which takes hikers to the edge of the moraine for spectacular views of the Nisqually Glacier several hundred feet beneath the summit. Route maps are available at both the Longmire Wilderness Information Center and the Paradise Visitor Center. Contact: 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304 Photo: carmencorbin/Fotolia


»Mt. Pilchuck

Mt. Pilchuck


Mt. Pilchuck is located within North Cascades National Park and ascends a height of 5,327 feet, offering 360-degree views of nearby Mounts Baker and Rainier and the Olympic Mountain Range. The moderately easy hike spans 5.4 miles round-trip through a high-elevation trailhead that is heavily trafficked during the peak summer season. It is accessible from the Mountain Loop Highway and offers a historic 1921 fire lookout shelter at its peak that is a very popular picnic spot in fair weather. Visitors should note that despite the trail’s popularity, elements of the path may become perilous in winter or in poor weather conditions. For an alternative, nearby Heather Lake Trail provides similar views from a lower elevation. Contact: 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284 Photo: Ralphele/Fotolia


»Rattlesnake Ledge

Rattlesnake Ledge


Rattlesnake Ledge is located near Snoqualmie and offers spectacular views of nearby Rattlesnake Lake and regional landmarks such as Mounts Si and Washington. The 4.0-mile round-trip trail is maintained as part of the Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area and embarks from a parking lot trailhead with restroom facilities and an information kiosk offering trail maps. The ledge is located 1.9 miles into the hike and features sheer cliffs overlooking the Cedar River watershed at an elevation of more than 2,000 feet. For hikers looking to extend the route, trail branches are available toward East Peak, Snoqualmie Park, and Middle and Upper Ledges. Hikers with dogs on leash should exercise caution, as cliff edges may be sudden and steep. Contact: 17905 Cedar Falls Road SE, North Bend, WA 98045 Photo: Maksym/Fotolia

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»Summerland

Summerland


Summerland is a trail within Mount Rainier National Park’s Sunrise area that offers a 12-mile round-trip hike through an old-growth forest region. The trail joins with the Wonderland Trail at a quarter mile into its route, which is heavily trafficked by backpackers. Wildflowers such as queen’s cups, coral roots, and sidebells pyrola populate the forest, which eventually clears to showcase Fryingpan Creek and the cliffs of the Cowlitz Chimneys. The trail gains nearly 3,000 feet in elevation before reaching wildflower meadows and an area with picnic shelters and a designated campsite area available by reservation. Another mile and a half hike provides access to the Panhandle Gap moraine. Contact: 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304 Photo: photolifepnw/Fotolia

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»The Enchantments Traverse

The Enchantments Traverse


The Enchantments Traverse is located within the Central Cascades’ Leavenworth Area and showcases an alpine wonderland of spectacular granite glacier carvings and pristine blue lakes. The region is accessible via an 18-mile moderately strenuous hike that gains an elevation of more than 4,500 feet along the way. The first seven miles of the route begin at the Stuart Lake Trailhead and traverse past Colchuck Lake and Glacier to Aasgard or Colchuck Passes, reaching an elevation of 7,800 feet. The further portion of the trail is best accessed using an overnight camping permit available via lottery between May and October, though advanced hikers may be able to complete the route in a single day. Lakes within the region include the lichen-covered Tranquil and Isolation Lakes and the dramatic Inspiration Lake, which showcases granite cliffs on three sides. Contact: Wenatchee River Ranger District, 600 Sherbourne, Leavenworth, WA 98826 Photo: Tomasz Zajda/Fotolia

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»The Skyline Trail

The Skyline Trail


The Skyline Trail is one of Mount Rainier National Park’s most popular hiking destination, offering a chance to experience panoramic views of the majestic mountain landmark. The trail is located within the popular Paradise hiking district, which is home to the historic 1916 Paradise Inn, one of the great National Park lodges of the American West. Its 5.5-mile round-trip route reaches heights of more than 6,800 feet and showcases dramatic waterfalls, glaciers, and subalpine meadows throughout its route, which are accessible up close via several side trails. The trail is accessible via a trailhead from the Jackson Visitor Center, which offers route maps and information. Contact: 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304 Photo: Tristan/Fotolia

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»Wonderland Trail

Wonderland Trail


Wonderland Trail is one of Mount Rainier National Park’s most popular backpacking trails, located within its southeast region near Steven’s Canyon. The eight-mile round-trip trail begins at a trailhead at Steven’s Creek and offers chances to see Martha and Sylvia Falls along its route, which reaches a peak elevation of 3,750 feet. The trail traverses a fir and cedar forest region before reaching the Maple Creek camp and crossing bridges to waterfall access points. Sylvia Falls features a 43-foot drop, while Martha Falls, named for the daughter-in-law of park luminary James Longmire, showcases a final drop of more than 120 feet. Visitors should note that photography at Sylvia Falls is difficult due to shadows and branches from the access viewpoint. Contact: 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304 Photo: YariK/Fotolia

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14 Best Hikes Near Seattle