Let’s take a moment to appreciate how difficult it is to narrow down the major hiking trails in the Evergreen State.
This is the northwest region. One of the ten tallest volcanoes in North America is located in Washington, which also features a rainforest, ocean, desert, and mountains. There is still plenty of natural beauty and we have the hikes to prove it.
The last word on trekking in the northwest United States? With any hike, you simply can’t go wrong. Every hike is great to a different degree, as long as you do your research, recognize your limits, and come prepared.
Our wild places are extraordinary (no pun intended) and protecting them is something we are very proud of. Respectful behavior includes leaving no trace, following designated paths, and following all signs and instructions.
Now that you have this list as a starting point for your explorations, go appreciate the immense wonder that is nature. Check out these top 12 hikes in Washington.
Only 35 minutes from Seattle, which is a good reason to go.
Rattlesnake Ledge is simply one of many real hikes that can be completed in less than an hour from Seattle and take less than half a day to travel. It is also one of the most popular walks in the region and a fantastic alternative for people with limited time. In winter, during the week or early in the morning there are usually fewer crowds.
Prepare to enjoy spectacular views of Mount Si, Mount Washington, Rattlesnake Lake, and Chester Morse Lake after reaching the summit ledge as you go back and forth along the trail. Children and dogs on leashes are welcome, but keep them away from the exposed cliff edges.
Check out Middle Ledge and Upper Ledge a little further up if you reach Rattlesnake Ledge and aren’t ready to descend.
The environment of Ape Caves, which was created by lava from nearby Mount St. Helens approximately 2,000 years ago, is delicate. Before making the necessary reservation for this hike, be sure to inform yourself about the strict laws in place to safeguard it. Although reservations can be made any time between May and October, the cave’s temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit makes it the perfect place to spend a hot summer day.
Although the distance and elevation gain classify this trip as “easy”, it is important to note that the terrain is quite rugged and wet, with some sections requiring climbing over piles of rocks and dodging head hits on the roof of Cave.
You’ll love the outside path that returns to the beginning once you climb the ladder out of the cave at the end. Exploring the Lower Cave will add another mile and a half to this trip.
Don’t forget to bring extra batteries and your headlamp!
It’s amazing to see firsthand the renaissance that has blossomed in areas that were recently destroyed by lava and ash, even though Mount St. Helens is not the tallest volcano in the state (we’ll get to that next). It is known for its 1980 eruption and is the most active volcano in the contiguous United States. Additionally, as it is a National Volcanic Monument, dogs are not allowed on the walk.
You can see Mount St. Helens for most of the hike up Harry’s Ridge, so if 8.2 miles starts to seem like a stretch, you can always turn around. If you don’t go all the way, you’ll miss views of Spirit Lake and Mount Adams along with the adjacent volcano, whose dome still occasionally smokes today.
Skyline Trail Circuit
Why you should opt for the stunning views of Mount Rainier, the crowning glory of the Cascade Range.
Since national park passes are expensive, it’s great that Skyline Trail Loop is located within one of Washington state’s three national parks (sorry, no puppies here).
Nothing will compare to being up close and personal with the impressive Mount Rainier, which has waterfalls, a bridge, wildlife, and views of at least two mountains in the distance (Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams). How close can you get? Well, this trail splits into a different route that leads to the top of the highest mountain in the Cascade Range.
Expect it to be crowded because this is the most popular hike in Mount Rainier National Park, and for good reason. As an added bonus, you can use this trail for snowshoeing in the winter.
Why you should go A wild place in the mountains that seems straight out of a fairy tale.
When we think about The Charms, the saying “nothing worth having is easy” comes to mind. From May 15 until Halloween, camping is only permitted with a permit, which is obtained through a lottery. If they don’t win the lottery, they can try a day hike by taking part of the trail, hiking the 36-mile loop in a single day, or hiking the 18-mile point-to-point route while pulling two cars. , one at each end.
What obstacles do you need to overcome to experience this paradise? A mile-long climb that gains almost 2,000 feet in elevation, scrambling over rocks and scree, and occasionally challenging trails are a few examples.
What benefits can you expect? Crystal-clear turquoise lakes with names like Inspiration Lake and Perfection Lake will enchant you in the Upper, Middle and Lower Enchantments. Wild goats graze among ancient trees in front of impressive peaks.
Since words cannot adequately describe it, all hikers agree that the challenging but exhausting route was worth it.
Pro tip: After this hard effort, visit the nearby fun Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth to relax.
Go in search of magnificent waterfalls.
Visit these nine magnificent waterfalls with your entire family, including your favorite pets. This well-maintained track is popular for a reason, so start early or be prepared for the crowds.
The trail is lined with gorgeous, thick flora, perfect bridges, and covered picnic tables halfway along the trail.
The Middle Falls are considered to have the best perspective of the Lower, Middle and Upper Falls, so those who don’t want to hike to the Upper Falls can rest easy knowing they have already experienced the highlights of the expedition.
The best Portland to Seattle road trip itinerary is available here.
Why you should go: To see 360-degree views of the desert in eastern Washington.
There are stunning views in virtually every direction from this 600-acre hill that extends to Banks Lake and rises 800 feet above the water’s surface. The Colville National Forest and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest are visible from these overlooks, in addition to the canyons that the Great Missoula Floods during the Ice Age cut into the area. Depending on the time of year, the trail’s wildflowers will add to the wonder.
Although the rest of the trail is generally flat, the initial climb up the scree requires caution. The hike is a six-mile loop around the top of the hill, but there is a trail through the middle of the plateau that can be used to shorten the distance.
The nearby Grand Coulee Dam, one of the largest concrete structures in the world at more than four times the length of the Hoover Dam, is recommended for anyone interested in engineering marvels.
The Hole in the Wall and Rialto Beach
Why you should go: Beautiful photo opportunity and a beachfront walk.
This beach hike in Olympic National Park is great for kids, but you’ll have to leave your four-legged companions at home. Watch out for animals like whales and otters in the ocean as you stroll along the beach, as well as the tide pools at your feet! Cross Ellen Creek halfway to Hole-in-the-Wall, either across it or over a log.
The always photogenic Hole-in-the-Wall can be explored below the arch at low tide, but the views over the arch are equally impressive at high tide. To make informed plans, check the tide tables in advance.
Pro tip: Vampire fans will like to visit the adjacent city of Forks, while road trip enthusiasts will enjoy the famously scenic Highway 101 that brings them here.
Hoh River Trail
Discover North America’s only temperate rainforest.
This trail is the best area to look for magic if you are looking for it. Discover one of Washington’s most distinctive ecosystems under the shadow of the Olympic Mountains, where there are a million different shades of green.
The Hoh River Trail is a part of Olympic National Park, as is Rialto Beach, so animals are not allowed. Although April to October is the ideal time to do this hike, it is also accessible and considerably less popular in winter.
Although the trail is 17.4 miles long in total, there are numerous rest stops