Seattle, Washington is known in America for its easy access to nature and the outdoors, with many great hiking trails less than an hour away from the city.
See our list of the best hikes near Seattle.
Epic Hiking Trails Near Seattle
Seattle is known for its proximity to the great outdoors, with some of Washington’s best hiking trails less than an hour away from Seattle.
Experience the beautiful forests, raging rivers and snow-capped mountains just outside the city. From the beautiful sea-side experience of Ebey’s Landing to the alpine beauty of Snow Lake.
Here is a list of the best hiking trails close to the city of Seattle.
Rattlesnake Ledge Hike
The Rattlesnake Ledge hike is short, sweet and a mere 40-minute drive east of Seattle. The trail is a 4-mile roundtrip and begins on the shores of Lake Rattlesnake, which is also a great place to relax, swim and fish before or after your hike.
Although the trail has a steady incline, it is certainly not difficult. The easiness of the hike does mean, however, that the trail can often become crowded, especially on weekends and sunny, summer days. But not to worry, the incredible panoramic forested views of mountains and lakes makes dealing with other hikers worth it.
The 1,160 ft climb ends at a rock called Rattlesnake Ledge, which offers a spectacular viewing platform pointed east into the Southern Cascades. The well-maintained trail takes you past mossy boulders and exposed cliffs. Another perk is there are no parking fees or passes to worry about!
Mount Si Trek
The hike up Mount Si is arguably the classic Seattle-area hike, mostly due to the mountain’s appearance in the opening credits of the original ‘Twin Peaks,’ and hosts more than 100 000 hikers each year. But don’t let its popularity fool you, the hike up Mount Si isn’t easy.
The trail is an 8-mile roundtrip and has an elevation gain of 3150ft and is a serious hike for serious hikers.
Most hikers stop at the base of the bald ‘haystack’ summit, while only the brave hike to the very top. Once at the top, you will be treated to the best mountain views in the Puget Sound region and a sweeping view of the Snoqualmie Valley. Mount Si is less than 45 minutes from downtown Seattle, however, you will need to purchase a Discover Pass.
3. Ebey’s Landing Hike
Ebey’s Landing, perched on the western shore of Whidbey Island, is Washington’s favourite coastal hike and offers lovely views of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.
The 5.6-mile roundtrip passes along the golden bluffs that tower above the surf of the Puget Sound, with excellent opportunities for wildlife watching, so keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles, seals and sea lions with the occasional orca pod during the summer.
Toward the end of the bluff, the trail intersects the original and restored homestead from 1850 before zigzagging down the side of the cliff to the beautiful stony beach.
This mellow and easy hike offers some of the best hiking of the Puget Sound. Experience the windswept meadows and historic farmland on the picturesque Whidbey Island.
This trail is a little further out of the way from Seattle and requires you to take a short ferry ride to the island. Ebey’s landing is ideal for early morning and sunset hikes, although it can be hiked at any time.
One thing to consider though, is that you will nee to purchase a Discovery Pass.
4. Hike to the Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain
First things first, we need to acknowledge the hilarity of the name Poo Poo Point, the point was named after the sound of the steam whistles of old logging trains.
The hike to Poo Poo Point via the Chirico Trail, is yet another urban hiking gem. The 7.2-mile roundtrip hike begins in a big field just south of Issaquah, from there you will pass the carving of a winged lion and head up more than 1500ft of Tiger Mountain.
Those that manage to make it up the steep slopes will be rewarded with views of Lake Washington and the surrounding foothills at Poo Poo Point. This is also a location for a great launching ground for paragliders.
The Chirico Trail is short, however, that means you will be covering a 1500ft elevation in a short distance. You can also take the High School Trail, which is less steep than the Chirico Trail, but it is a longer trail.
The hike is of moderate difficulty and offers spectacular views in all directions on a good day.
5. Mailbox Peak Trek
Mailbox Peak was named due to the presence of a mailbox at its summit, which is maintained by volunteers. The mailbox, which is covered in stickers, is a place where hikers leave goodies for the next hikers, so feel free to leave an item and take an item.
This is a challenging hike for experienced hikers. There are two trails to choose from; the infamous Old Trail and the newer New Trail.
The Old Trail is shorter than the New Trail, it is a 5.2-mile roundtrip, but is more challenging than the New Trail. The New Trail is longer, but safer than the Old Trail as is a 9.4-mil roundtrip.
The New Trail begins at a popular trailhead, Northbend, and after crossing several creeks you will begin the difficult upwards climb through a series of switchbacks. You will gain about 850ft per mile hiked, but don’t worry, the mountain panoramas make the strenuous climb worth it. This trail is safer than the Old Trail and is more frequently used.
Once again, you will have to purchase a Discovery Pass.
6. Snow Lake Hike
Hikers of all levels can agree that Snow Lake is one of the best hikes near Seattle.
Snow Lake is one of only a handful of easy-to-access Cascade Mountain alpine lakes. This draws hikers from around the world.
The 7.2-mile roundtrip begins at the Alpental Ski area parking lot and meanders though a forest for about a mile, before the trail opens up with views of the jagged Chair Peak in the distance. The gorgeous hike continues down to the lake with steep mountain walls and waterfalls around.
This moderately challenging hike is only an hour drive from Seattle. We suggest you embark on the hike early on a weekday if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
Another huge plus, is that the lake is usually one of the last places to be free from snow, which makes it ideal for a hot summer’s day hike. Unfortunately, the trail is closed in winter, due to the risk of avalanches.
Don’t forget to purchase your Northwest Forest Pass in order to enjoy this incredible hike.
Hiking Near Seattle FAQ
What are the best months to hike in Seattle?
The best months to hike in Seattle are typically from June to October. During these months, the weather is generally mild and the trails are less likely to be covered in snow or ice, making them safer and more accessible for hikers.
In June and July, the weather is usually pleasant with mild temperatures and low precipitation, making it a great time to hike. The trails are also often surrounded by wildflowers and other vegetation in bloom.
August and September are also great months for hiking in Seattle, as the weather remains mild and the crowds begin to thin out after the peak summer season. In September, the fall foliage begins to turn, providing hikers with even more stunning scenery.
However, it's important to note that weather conditions in Seattle can be unpredictable, and hikers should always check the weather forecast and trail conditions before heading out. Additionally, some higher elevation hikes may still have snow on the ground in early June or late October, so be sure to plan accordingly.
What is the closest mountain hike to Seattle?
One of the closest mountain hikes to Seattle is the Mount Si trail, located in North Bend, about 30 miles east of the city. The Mount Si trail is a popular day hike, with a roundtrip distance of 8 miles and an elevation gain of 3,150 feet. The trail is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the surrounding Cascade Mountains and the Snoqualmie Valley. Other nearby hikes include Rattlesnake Ledge, Little Si, and Tiger Mountain.
Is Portland or Seattle better for hiking?
Both Portland and Seattle are great cities for hiking, with numerous trails and natural areas nearby. Which city is better for hiking depends on your personal preferences and what you're looking for in a hiking destination.
Portland is known for its proximity to the Columbia River Gorge, which offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the Pacific Northwest. The Gorge is home to numerous waterfall hikes, including the popular Multnomah Falls. Portland is also close to the Oregon Coast, which has a rugged and scenic coastline with numerous trails and parks to explore.
Seattle, on the other hand, is surrounded by the Cascade Mountains, which offer numerous hiking opportunities, including some of the most challenging and iconic hikes in the region, such as Mount Si, Mount Rainier, and the Enchantments. Seattle is also close to the Olympic Peninsula, which has stunning coastal hikes and old-growth rainforest trails.
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