Add hiking to your itinerary when you visit Seattle because it’s one of the best things you can do in Washington state! Hike in city parks, to beautiful alpine lakes, up to waterfalls, and through rainforests.
I know it can be overwhelming to settle on one hike, so I’ve narrowed it down to a few of the best tried and true day hikes near Seattle for people of every skill level. Grab your boots and get ready to go hiking near Seattle!
Table of Contents
- 17 Best Hikes Near Seattle
- Seattle Area Hiking FAQs
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17 Best Hikes Near Seattle
Rattlesnake Ledge is one of the most popular hikes near Seattle. It’s an easy drive from the city, a decent trek for advanced beginners and novice hikers, and has great views of the Cascade Mountains and Rattlesnake Lake at the top.
Rattlesnake Ledge is an extremely well-maintained trail, making this a good introductory hike for anyone new to Washington hiking. But its popularity also means it’s almost always crowded, so don’t expect complete solitude on this hike.
👉 Make A Day Of It: It’s super easy to turn this hike into a Seattle day trip! After you complete the hike, head over to North Bend for burgers and pie at Twede’s Cafe. Explore the small town, and take a stroll over to Snoqualmie Falls if you have the energy.
Tucked on the western end of Seattle in the Magnolia neighborhood, Discovery Park is the largest city park in Seattle, making it one of the best places to get away from the city without actually leaving it.
The park boasts numerous trails that wind through forests. Follow them to the cliffs and enjoy the view there, or head down to the beach to see the historic West Point Lighthouse. The park is great for dates, jogging, and birding. You may see bald eagles, herons, or cooper’s hawks on your visit.
❗ Know Before You Go: Washington Trails Association (or WTA) is a gem of a resource for anyone going on a hike anywhere in the state. Look up recent trip reports from other hikers to see current trail conditions and closures, download a map, find additional Seattle hikes, and more. You can also learn the basics if you’re new to hiking and have questions about getting started. Absolutely check out this resource before you hit the trails!
The Fremont lookout hike is perfect for the person who wants a semi-challenging hike with an amazing payoff. This popular hike will take you along the NE side of Mount Rainier and up to an old fire lookout where you’ll have incredible views of Mount Rainier National Park. You might even spot mountain goats or black bears from the top!
👉 Pro Tip: Washington is home to three national parks which are all worth visiting. However, because of its relative proximity compared to the other two, I recommend hikes around Mt Rainier National Park over the Olympic National Park or North Cascades National Park when planning day hikes from Seattle. The latter two are a much longer drive away.
Poo Poo Point
Go ahead and giggle at the admittedly silly name, but the Poo Poo Point hike is especially worth taking on a clear day. The name is a reference to the sound of steam whistles heard from tigers in earlier years when logging was a primary activity in the area.
Poo Poo Point will take you along the west side of Tiger Mountain through a well-shaded old-growth forest with plenty of little streams and creeks to pass through. The hike ends in a large clearing with city, lake, and mountain views. Stop to picnic at the top and, if your timing is right, you just might get to watch paragliders take off.
📚 Related Reading: Interested in hiking up Poo Poo Point and paragliding down? Check out my article about Things To Do in Bellevue to learn just how you can do this!
🥾 Moderate | 7.2 miles | Google Maps | Website | 55-minute drive from Seattle | Cost: Northwest Forest Pass ($30 annual, $5/car day pass)
Snow Lake is a wonderful hike for those interested in the alpine lakes wilderness. Not far from the Snoqualmie Pass, this hike will take you through a beautiful northwest forest and along a rocky trail to a gorgeous alpine lake with mountain, tree, and open sky views.
The popular trail can get crowded, especially during summer. And while it might be tempting to do this one outside of peak season, it’s at avalanche risk during the winter so be sure to check trail conditions before setting out.
While any hike around Mount Rainier is a delight, the Summerland hike is among the best. You’ll travel through a forest, across streams, and up to an expansive alpine meadow. You have a chance of spotting chipmunks, marmots, hummingbirds, and possibly a fox or bear.
I like to end the hike with lunch in the meadow, but you can also continue up the Panhandle Gap for more mountain vistas. For intermediate hikers, Summerland is just long and varied enough to be an exciting outdoor adventure.
👉 Pro Tip: Interested in more hiking around Mt Rainier? I highly recommend checking out the Skyline Trail or Spray Park. Both are equally as breathtaking!
Make your way down to West Seattle to explore the lovely Lincoln Park. This city park is on the southwest end of the peninsula, and you have the option of staying among the trees or walking along the water where enchanting views of Vashon Island and the snow-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains will keep you company.
At low tide and you might catch a glimpse of herons fishing. This is a family-friendly hike and the park has a playground within it, as well as a wading pool and heated outdoor saltwater pool open in the summer.
Beginner hikers or families with young kids who want to transition from city park hiking will adore this short hike. This easy hike has a great payoff in the form of the gorgeous Franklin Falls.
The flow is best from April to July, and because there’s plenty of shade along the trail it’s not too miserable to do during hotter days. Washington Trails Association works hard to keep the trail maintained for even the littlest humans so you can rest assured that this will be a safe hiking trip.
👉 Spending More Time in Seattle? Don’t miss all my free Seattle travel guides.
Up for a challenge? Kendall Katwalk should deliver! This steep alpine ridge hike takes you up through old-growth forests and along a catwalk with views of Rainier and snowy valleys. At the top, there are meadows, alpine lakes, and some great spots to camp.
If you’re doing a day hike, be sure to bring plenty of water because there’s very little shade along the trail. Both day hikers and backpackers should beware of bugs by the lakes in the summer – they can be a pain!
👉 My Favorite Gear: I like to fight off annoying mosquitoes and other insects with Ranger Ready Repellent. This spray lasts for up to 8 hours, so you’ll be protected throughout your entire hike.
Seward Park is yet another city park that will make you forget that you’re in a busy city. Located southeast of downtown, the park has a 2.5-mile walking loop with slightly harder trails through non-paved, forest-y terrain. Heed the warnings for poison oak in certain places and you’ll have a pleasant, enjoyable hike.
This is a great park for running, biking, dog-walking, and nature spotting. Step outside the tree canopy and walk alongside Lake Washington and go for a swim during warmer weather.
Nestled at the foot of Mount Pilchuck, the hike to Lake 22 will take you on a steady climb through alpine wetlands, old-growth forests, and rainforests. The trail is extremely wet which means you’ll catch sight of plenty of ferns, mossy trees, and little waterfalls along the way, but you’ll want to prepare for any muddy paths by bringing the right gear.
👉 My Favorite Gear: If you’re hiking in the Pacific Northwest, you’re going to run into some wet and muddy trails. I highly recommend these Salomon Quest hiking boots. They’ll keep your feet warm and dry in all sorts of weather.
Mount Si & Little Si
Most Seattleites know of Mount Si as one of the most popular hikes near Seattle. It’s close to the city, good for intermediate and experienced hikers, and great for anyone looking for a workout. The trail is well-maintained, but because it’s so steep I recommend poles for anyone who wants to spare their knees.
Little Si is like Mount Si’s younger sibling. This hike is not quite as intense, but you’ll still get a decent workout as you wander through a forest, past a bouldering field, and then make a steep climb to the top. Take a peek at Mount Si if it’s a clear day when you reach the top (and maybe plan to hike that one next time!).
👉 Pro Tip: Mount Si and Little Si are both serviced by Trailhead Direct, a bus service that will take you from Seattle to the trailhead so you don’t have to worry about driving. The service typically operates from early June to late September, and you can use the online maps to plan your trip.
You’ll be rewarded for your hard work on this hike with this fantastic view
Expect an intense hike if you choose the Mailbox Peak trail. This one is for more conditioned hikers and while the climb, particularly the last half mile, is brutal, the panoramic views at the top make it worth it.
On a clear day, you’ll see Middle Fork Valley, and snow-capped Mount Rainier. And if the fog decides to obscure your view? Well, at least you’ll have made it to the mailbox at the top where you just might find goodies left behind by another hiker.
Gold Creek Pond
Gold Creek Pond is an accessible, well-maintained loop trail not far from the Snoqualmie Pass. The trail is paved all along the loop, making it great for people in wheelchairs, people pushing strollers, and younger kids.
You’ll end up down by the water where there are numerous picnic areas and spots to relax among views of the lovely alpine lake. This is a stunning area for photos so be sure to soak it in and capture as many pictures as you can.
Lake Serene & Bridal Veil Falls
Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls are two remarkable hikes that you can do separately or in conjunction with one another. You’ll certainly be challenged, and you might run into crowds along these popular trails but they’re worth it.
If you do both, check out the Falls first. You’ll climb lots of steps and be rewarded with a waterfall that you can stand by as you let the spray cool you down from an exhausting first half of your trip. Afterward, follow the trail back to the breathtaking Lake Serene. Both trails can get wet and slippery so be sure to watch your step.
Wallace Falls State Park
Wallace Falls State Park is like a choose your own adventure sort of hike. Follow the Woody Trail to see the phenomenal Wallace Falls.
You have a choice for three different viewings of the falls, each a bit harder of a hike than the next. Those with kids and beginner hikers can take a pleasant hike to the lower falls. If you continue further to the middle falls, you’ll find arguably the best of all the views. Continue to the upper falls if you want to extend your hike and see the falls from yet another vantage point.
👉 Read Next: 51 Best Things to Do in Seattle (By a Local)
Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
The mountains are not your sole option for hikes near Seattle. Travel an hour north and take the Mukilteo ferry to Whidbey Island, one of the best places to visit in Washington state.
The Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve hike takes you through open fields and along the bluffs with breathtaking views of the Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and the Cascade Mountains. You might even see sea lions playing in the water or eagles soaring overhead. This is a great scenic hike to take year-round. Just know that the trail can get narrow and you’ll probably want to bring a jacket with you – you’re completely exposed to the elements.
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Seattle Area Hiking FAQs
Is there good hiking near Seattle?
There is lots of good hiking near Seattle, Washington. There are many options for every level of hiker within an hour of Seattle.
How many hiking trails are in Seattle?
There are approximately 73 hiking trails within the Seattle city limits.
How close is Seattle to the mountains?
Seattle is close to many different mountains. Tiger Mountain and Cougar Mountain are about 30 minutes from Seattle. Mount Si is 45 minutes away. Mt Rainier is about 2 hours away from Seattle.
👉 Read Next: The Best Activities to Explore in Washington State
This is just a shortlist of great hikes in the Seattle area. When visiting the Pacific Northwest, hiking is a must, so don’t be afraid to get on the trails!
What are some of your favorite hikes in the area? Scroll down and leave a comment! And be sure to check out our other hiking guides:
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