April 23, 2024
best hikes in washington state

20 Best Hikes in Washington State

Here is the guide to the best hikes in Washington State. There are many hiking trails with different views to enjoy with varying difficulty levels.

So I hope that this guide will help you as a beginner to go on your first hike or, if you already have been hiking, you can discover a new hiking trail that you want to try this season or if you’re visiting from another town and if you want to spend a day in the city and a day out in nature. I hope this gives you a good hiking recommendation so you cherish the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

And please follow the principles of leaving no trace during hiking, camping, backpacking, or anything you do in the wilderness.

20 best hikes that you can do here in Washington State

1 Rattlesnake Ledge

best hikes in washington state
Photo by Shutterbug Fotos/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 1160 ft.
  • Length: 4 miles, roundtrip
  • Time to hike: 3 h 10 mins
  • Permit is not needed and Parking is free
  • Dogs allowed: Yes, but on a leash
  • Season: Year-round
  • Location: Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area (near North Bend, Washington)

It is a classic Washington hike (it’s about an hour away from Seattle). So if you are visiting from another city, I recommend this hike because you’ll see the view of Rattlesnake Lake, and you can see the view of the valley and the mountains with evergreen trees.

2 Snoqualmie Falls

easy hikes in washington state
Photo by Chris06/ from commons.wikimedia.org
  • Difficulty: East to Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 250 ft.
  • Length: 1.4 miles, Out and Back
  • Time to hike: 50 mins
  • No permit required
  • Dogs allowed: Yes, but on a leash
  • Season: Year-round
  • Location: Fisher Creek Park (near Snoqualmie, Washington)

It is also another classic Washington spot to go. It is a hike that I haven’t done. So, I am going to speak for the touristy part only. There’s a bridge that crosses over the street. Then, a paved path where you’re overlooking the waterfall. It is easy and family-friendly. But something that you should consider is that if you go on a day where there is some fog or if you go early in the morning, then there’s a chance that you might not see the waterfall. I took a picture, which was a gray blob of fog.

3 High Rock Lookout

hiking in washington state
Photo by A Guy and a Jeep/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation Gain: 1328 ft.
  • Length: 3.23 miles, Out and Back
  • Time to hike: 2 h 30 mins
  • No pass is required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: June – October
  • Location: Gifford Pinchot National Forest (near Ashford, Washington)

When you go on this super high rock, you see the beautiful view of Mount Rainier. You’ll see Mount Adams, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Hood in the distance if the weather is clear. This one is a little bit sketchy in a way. The Lookout is on a super high rock and has a steep drop. Hence, if you go with your kids or dogs, please keep an eye on them and not go too close to the edge.

4 Haybrook Lookout

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 879 ft.
  • Length: 2.5 miles, Out and Back
  • Time to hike: 1 h 30 mins
  • No pass is needed
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: Year-round
  • Location: Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest (near Index, Washington)

Haybrook Lookout is about two hours away from Seattle. It’s another fire lookout hike where if you go up and the sky is clear, you can see Mount Index (a beautiful peak).

5 Rachel Lake, Lila Lake, and Alta Mountain

best hikes in washington
Photo by Steve Cyr/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation Gain: 3350 ft.
  • Length: 11.8 miles
  • Time to hike: 9 hours
  • Northwest Forest Pass required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: April – October
  • Location: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington)

Each section works as a separate hike, but I did that all in one trip. So, I’m just counting it as one. It is a challenging hike, but you get views of these super clear lakes surrounded by mountains, and if you go to the top of Alta Mountain, you can see Mount Rainier and all the sweeping views of the area.

Recommended: Best Waterfall hikes in Oregon

6 Tuck and Robin Lakes

best hikes in washington
Tuck and Robin Lakes Trail, Snoqualmie Region – Salmon La Sac / Teanaway Washington
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation Gain: 3389 ft.
  • Length: 12.5 miles, Out and Back
  • NW Forest Pass required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: Summer and Fall
  • Location: Alpine Lakes Wilderness (near Skykomish, Washington)

You can divide this hike into two parts. But I did this in one go. So, I’m counting it as one hike. It is one of my all-time favorite hikes in Washington State. The hike was breathtaking in the fall! The fall foliage looked stunning next to the alpine lakes and big granite rocks on the mountainside. It was one of the most challenging hikes I’ve ever done, especially with backpacks on our backs. The elevation gain here is not a joke! But seeing such a beautiful view made the whole hike worth it.

7 Wallace Falls

trails in washington
Photo by Shutterbug Fotos/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 1300 ft.
  • Length: 5 miles, Out and Back
  • Time to hike: 2 h 57 min
  • The Discover Pass is required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: March – October
  • Location: Wallace Falls State Park (near Gold Bar, Washington)

It is easy to moderate because there are the lower, middle, and the upper falls. So, it’s up to you how far you want to go and how difficult you want to make your hike because the more you do, the more difficult it gets, and it’s a nice hike to do even if it’s going to be cloudy or rainy because you are so close to the waterfall that the fog or the rain wouldn’t ruin the view.

8 Franklin Falls

Franklin Falls
Photo by Shutterbug Fotos/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 360 ft.
  • Length: 2 miles, out and back
  • Time to hike: 1 hour
  • Northwest Forest Pass is required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: Year-round
  • Location: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington)

It is another beautiful waterfall hike. It is a small hike close to Seattle. I’d say this is also one that you could do with family, but just be careful as you move closer to the waterfall because the trail gets pretty narrow, and you’re walking across some rocks and you’re closer to the waterfall so they can be a little bit slippery as they’re wet.

9 Teneriffe Falls

Teneriffe Falls
Photo by Trailspotter/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 1620 ft.
  • Length: 5.7 miles, out and back
  • Time to hike: 3 h 20 mins
  • Discover Pass is required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: March – October
  • Location: Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area (near North Bend, Washington)

One note I have is that you should go during the spring once the snow is melting because the water flow will be faster, and the waterfall will look beautiful. The first time I did this hike in the spring, it was so beautiful. However, when I went there in the middle of July during the summer, Summer’s weak water flow barely resembled a waterfall. Therefore, for the most impressive water flow and scenery, aim to visit this hike in the spring when the snow melts.

10 Mailbox Peak

Mailbox Peak
Photo by Shutterbug Fotos/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation Gain: 4010 ft.
  • Length: 7.7 miles, loop
  • Time to hike: 7 h 12 min
  • Discover Pass is required
  • Dogs allowed: On leash but in some areas may be off-leash
  • Season: May – October
  • Location: Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area (near North Bend, Washington)

Towards the end of the trail that leads to the top of the mountain, there are some large rocks. Once you reach the peak, there is a mailbox there. Unfortunately, fog completely blocked the view when I went in the spring. However, I still enjoyed the hike.

11 Poo Poo Point

Poo Poo Point
Photo by Martin Bravenboer/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 1794 ft.
  • Length: 6.6 miles, out and back
  • Time to hike: 3 h 15 mins
  • No Permits are required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: Year-round
  • Location: West Tiger Mountain Natural Resource Conservation Area (near Issaquah, Washington)

The poo poo point is probably about 30 minutes away or less from Seattle. This one is cool because once you get to the top, that’s actually like a launching pad for the paragliders paragliding around there. You overlook Issaquah then, you can see Lake Washington in some distance.

12 Discovery Park and Lighthouse Loop

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 485 ft.
  • Length: 4.5 miles, loop
  • Time to hike: 1 h 10 mins
  • No Permit required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: Year-round
  • Location: Discovery Park (near Seattle, Washington)

It is a humongous park in Seattle. Like in Seattle, you can see the views of Puget Sound from the lighthouse. Similarly, you can see Mount Rainier if it’s clear enough from the park. Discovery Park is family-friendly. If you want to relax and take a break, it’s a great place to walk your dogs or with your friends and family.

13 Saint Edward State Park

  • Location: King County, Washington

I don’t have a specific trail in there. But, some trails go towards Lake Washington, and when I went there, I saw many families enjoying their time.

14 Big Four Ice Caves

Big Four Ice Caves
Photo by William Jones/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 305 ft.
  • Length: 2.4 miles, out and back
  • Time to hike: 1 h 10 mins
  • One day Northwest Forest Pass
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: May – October
  • Location: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (near Granite Falls, Washington)

It is a relatively easy hike with not much elevation gain. It leads you to the base of a mountain, where snow accumulates throughout the year, forming a fascinating ice cave. Something that you should be careful of is not to go into the ice cave because you never know when the ice in the snow will fall, so it is pretty dangerous. Moreover, there is a memorial of someone who had passed away from the ice cave. Hence, just be careful.

15 Lake Serene

best hikes in washington
Photo by Faith Wilson/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation Gain: 1920 ft.
  • Length: 7.2 miles, roundtrip
  • Time to hike: 5 hours
  • Northwest Forest Pass required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: May – September
  • Location: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

It is at the base of the Mount Index. I can’t wait to revisit once the snow melts and reveals the beautiful lake again. When I went recently, the lake was frozen solid. But something pretty cool from when I went was still snow on Mount Index. The snow was starting to melt. So, sometimes, you will hear a crashing sound, and it would be this mini avalanche of snow just falling between the cracks of the mountain.

16 Second Beach

hiking in washington
Photo by Vlada Karpovich/ Pexels
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 278 ft.
  • Length: 2.1 miles, out and back
  • Time to hike: 1 hour
  • Olympic National Park charges a fee to enter
  • Dogs allowed: not allowed
  • Season: June – September
  • Location: Olympic National Park (near La Push, Washington)

Located in Olympic National Park, 17 Second Beach is a small and easy hike in Washington State. You get to go to the coast and see the ocean. Then, you also see the haystacks (rock formations in the water).

17 Hoh River Trail to Five Mile Island

Hoh River Trail
Photo by daveynin/ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 367 ft.
  • Length: 10.1 miles, out and back
  • Time to hike: 3 h 15 mins
  • Olympic National Park charges a fee to enter
  • Dogs allowed: not allowed
  • Season: April – October
  • Location: Olympic National Park (near Forks, Washington)

It’s in the Olympic National Park. You go through the whole rainforest. I would recommend going here because going through the rainforest is crazy. This long green trail is beautiful. You can try simply hiking to a point, like a five-mile island, take a break there to enjoy the view of the river, and then hike back.

18 Chelan Butte Trail

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation Gain: 2600 ft.
  • Length: 704 miles, out and back
  • Time to hike: 5 h
  • No pass required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: March – October
  • Location: Chelan, Washington

It was a good one I did in the spring of last year. However, there were a lot of hikes still covered in snow. Being the most popular trail, it was clear of snow during my visit. Once I reached the top, there was snow, which was not too bad to manage. Something to know is that this trail is not in the mountains where there are a lot of trees, so you get a lot of sun exposure. If you go when it’s warmer, you must have enough water and sun protection.

19 Maple Pass Loop

best hikes in washington
Photo by Jennifer C./ Flickr
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Elevation Gain: 2162 ft.
  • Length: 6.5 miles, loop
  • Time to hike: 4 h 15 min
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: June – October
  • Location: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

This trail is a beautiful trail up near the North Cascades National Park. It’s an amazing one where you can see the larches, you get the mountain views, Mountain Lakes, it’s such a good trail overall.

20 Skyline Lake Snowshoe

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 1060 ft.
  • Length: 2.5 miles, out and back
  • Time to hike: 2 hours
  • No pass required
  • Dogs allowed: Must be on a leash
  • Season: January – October
  • Location: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (Stevens Pass, Leavenworth)

It is right by Stevens Pass (about two hours away from Seattle). It is a snowshoeing trail that I’ve done a couple of times. The difficulty, I’d say, is moderate in the beginning. However, the elevation gain can be pretty tough, but the views are so worth it, especially if it’s clear enough you can see the Stevens Pass ski resort and then just all of the peaks nearby.

If you have already been hiking in Washington State, I hope you might have found a new hike to explore. If you have any other trail suggestions or tips for hiking in Washington, please leave them in the comments below.

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