Best Hiking Trails Near Seattle

Best Hiking Trails Near Seattle

Washington state is a hiker’s paradise with countless hiking trail’s that are filled with giant mossy trees, emerald lakes and snow-capped peaks. Most people who live in Washington live within an hour of forest recreation area’s and even city folks living in Seattle can be downtown one minute and at the top of a craggly mountain peak in only a few hours.

If you are visiting the Evergreen State you really must take a hike whether it be short or long to experience what this state is all about.

Fortunately, there are a number of great hiking trails near Seattle so if you are visiting the Emerald City and your schedule allows, try to plan a day to hit one of the trails mentioned below.

You will have a much deeper experience and better appreciation of this state when you walk among the pine tree’s and smell the fresh mountain air rather than just driving by or taking a tour.

 

HIKING IN SEATTLE

If you don’t have time or access to a vehicle, there are a few hikes in the city of Seattle and surrounding suburbs which can be reached by public bus.

In Seattle city itself, there are a number of walking trails you can do in parks that are easy to moderate. These include walking along the waterfront on the Elliot Bay Trail at Olympic Sculpture Park which is especially pretty at sunset, even in the winter months.

You could also walk along the waterfront in West Seattle from Seacrest Park to Alki Beach and then over to Alki Point Lighthouse. This is an easy flat walk with views of the Puget Sound and if you’re lucky you may even spot resident Orca’s or whales.



 

Best Hiking Trails Near Seattle

There are a number of great hiking trails just outside of Seattle which can be found quite easily by hopping onto the I-90 and heading east. Most of the trails we have listed below are within an hour’s drive. If you happen to be visiting on the weekend be sure to leave early as Seattle folks love to get outdoors and you could end up spending more time in traffic then on the trail.

Below we have listed six of the best hiking trails near Seattle along with easy to follow directions on getting there.

 

Tips for hiking in Seattle

Before getting to the hiking trail recommendations we would like to mention a few quick tips before you hit the trail.

  • If you happen to be visiting between the months of October and June, be sure to take a rain jacket with you. The Pacific Northwest is known for it’s long wet winters and you don’t want to spend hours in cold, wet clothing. Trust me on this one!

  • The same goes for your foot wear. Hiking in running shoes is much more comfortable (in my opinion) but again if you are hiking in the rain your joggers are going to leave you with damp socks and feet. Bring your hiking boots or at least a second pair of joggers for when you get back to the car.

Hiking in Seattle Essentials

  1. Waterproof boots

  2. Fleece sweater for layering

  3. Rain jacket to stay dry

  4. Insulated jacket for really cold weather

 

Top 6 Hiking Trails Easy To Reach From Seattle —>


 

Mount Si

Hiking Mt Si is very popular with Seattle locals and you can expect the trail to be very busy. This is an 8 mile round-trip hike with 3,150 feet elevation gain. The switchbacks that will lead you to the top begin almost immediately and it is a steep trail, however as it is only 4 miles to the top it is doable even for beginner hikers as long as you are determined to make it. This trail has rewarding views of Mt Rainier, Seattle and the Olympic Mountains.

Best hiking trails near Seattle

To get there: take the I-90 to exit 32 and turn left onto 436th avenue SE. Follow 436th to the end and take a left. You will eventually come to Mt Si road where you will need to turn right. Follow for two miles and the trail head will be on the left. It should take about 45 minutes from Seattle to get there.

 

Little Si

Little Si is the little brother of neighboring Mount Si and is obviously a much shorter trail at 3.6 miles round-trip. This hiking trail has only 1,300 feet elevation gain and is mostly easy to moderate with a steep incline near the end of the trail. The trail will lead you through the forest to views of Mount Si and even Mount Washington on a clear day.

Best hiking trails near Seattle

To get there: take the I-90 to exit 32 and turn left onto 436th avenue SE. Follow 436th to the end and take a left. You will eventually come to Mt Si road where you will need to turn right. Follow for two miles and the trail head will be on the left. It should take about 45 minutes from Seattle to get there.

 

Rattlesnake Ledge

This is another popular hiking trail in the Bend area that will lead you to some spectacular views of Chester Morse Lake and other mountains such as Mount Si and Mount Washington. The trail is only 4 miles round-trip but even though it is quite short, it is very steep the entire way up and might take about two hours to reach the top if you are not an experienced hiker. The lake at the bottom of the trail is stunning so be sure to check it out before beginning the trail!

Best hiking trails near Seattle

To get there: take the I-90 east to exit 32 for 436th avenue SE. Turn right onto 436th avenue SE which is also known as Cedar Falls Road. Drive for about four miles until you reach the Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area where you will find the trail head.

 

Franklin Falls

If you are looking for an easy hike or a hike to do with children that will still take you somewhere with stunning scenery then you should head out to Franklin Falls. This hiking trail that leads to a spectacular waterfall is only 2 miles round-trip and is only 400 feet in elevation gain. The trail is beautiful in summer but even more so in winter when the falls are frozen.

Best hiking trails near Seattle

To get there: take the I-90 east to exit 47 (Denny Creek Road). At the end of the exit ramp turn left to cross over the freeway then take a right onto Forest Road 58. This road crosses back under the freeway where you will then need to turn left. Drive for about three miles until you reach Denny Creek Campground where you will find a paved parking lot and the trail head to Franklin Falls. It is roughly a one hour drive from downtown Seattle.

 

Middle Fork Snoqualmie Trail

The Middle Fork Snoqualmie trail winds its way along Middle Fork Snoqualmie River and features jagged mountain peaks behind the forest. The trail weaves in and out of the forest and sometimes meanders along the river. The trail is 12 miles round-trip however you can choose to turn back whenever you like.

Best hiking trails near Seattle

To get there: take the I-90 east to exit 34 (Edgewick Road) then turn left onto 468th avenue and follow it to the junction at Middle Fork Road where you will turn right. Continue up Middle Fork Road for twelve miles to the Middle Fork trail head parking area. You will need to cross the large metal footbridge to get on the trail.

 

Wallace Falls

The Wallace Falls hiking trail can be found an hour’s drive north of Seattle close to the small town of Gold Bar. The area boasts typical Pacific-Northwest lush forest’s dripping in mosses. Unlike some of the other hike’s mentioned on this page, this particular trail provides beautiful scenery the whole way up as the trail winds it’s way up beside Wallace Falls. The trail itself is 5.6 miles round-trip to the very top however the best views can be seen from the Middle Falls where you can choose to turn back if you do not feel like tackling the steep switchbacks that start from here.

Best hiking trails near Seattle

To get there: from Seattle get on the I-5 and head north to State Route 520 and head east until you reach the 405 north-bound. Then take WA-522 east and take the exit for US-2 east. Stay on this road until you reach the town of Gold Bar and take a left on 1st street and then a right at May Creek road. Continue onto Ley road until you reach the Wallace Falls parking lot.

 
 


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Have you got any suggestions for this list? We would love to hear them in the comments below!