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Best Hikes in Washington State

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Do you know how hard it is to choose the very BEST hikes in Washington State?? It’s extremely hard! We have so many amazing hikes all over the state to choose from, but I limited myself to my 12 all time favorites. All of these hikes are mellow or moderate, there are no extremely challenging or super long hikes on this list. All of them are less than 10 miles (except for the Hoh River Trail, which you can easily make shorter by turning around at any point). Most of these are 6 miles or less. The hikes are in order of most challenging to least challenging. Looking for less crowds on the trail? Check out my tips for finding less crowded hikes.

Bandera Mountain: Best Big View Hike near Seattle

Mt Rainier, a high snow covered mountain, in the background surrounded by a few clouds on an otherwise sunny day. Smaller mountains are in the foreground from Bandera Mountain, one of the best hikes in Washington
View of Mt Rainier from Bandera Mountain
  • Location: Bandera Mountain starts at the Ira Spring trailhead between North Bend and Snoqualmie Pass, about an hour from Seattle. This is the homeland of the Coast Salish and Snoqualmie people.
  • Best time of year: June-October
  • Length: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3200 feet
  • Passes Needed: Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass
  • Dogs: Yes, on leash
  • Crowd avoiding tip: While not as crowded as some other I-90 hikes, this hike does get crowded on summer weekend days. Most of the traffic goes to Mason Lake after the first portion of the trail (also a great hike).
  • EV charging nearby: North Bend Outlet Mall, Snoqualmie Pass
  • Best place to stop after: North Bend Bar and Grill or Pioneer Coffee in North Bend
  • Good Alternatives: Every list of best hikes in Washington needs a good view hike. This is my favorite view hike along I-90 near Seattle. If you’re looking for something a bit shorter, Rattlesnake Ledge and Poo Poo Point are good options with good views (though not as good as Bandera and both are more crowded)

Lake Ingalls: Best Alpine Lake Hike

A high mountain rises behind rocks surrounding an alpine lake on a cloudy day at Lake Ingalls, one of the best hikes in Washington
Mt Stuart and Lake Ingalls
  • Location: The Lake Ingalls trailhead is at the end of the Teanaway River Road near Cle Elum. The Teanaway area is the homeland of the Yakama people.
  • Best time of year: Late July – October; this is a fantastic fall hike (late September, early October for amazing golden larch trees). The lake is amazing all summer and fall
  • Length: 9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2500 feet
  • Passes Needed: Northwest forest pass or America the Beautiful pass
  • Dogs: NO
  • Crowd avoiding tip: It’s hard to avoid crowds here in late summer and fall on the weekends. This hike is so spectacular it’s totally worth it! If you’re highly crowd averse, make it a weekday hike.
  • EV charging nearby: Cle Elum or Ellensburg
  • Best place to stop after: Roslyn Brewing or Pioneer Coffee (Cle Elum)
  • Good alternatives: Washington has hundreds of amazing alpine lake hikes! If you ask locals for their opinion on the best hikes in Washington, many will suggest a lake. A few other favorites include Lake 22 (Mountain Loop Highway), Snow Lake (really crowded at Snoqualmie Pass) and Annette Lake (close to Snoqualmie Pass)

Maple Pass Loop: Best Fall Color and Epic North Cascades View Hike

Lake Ann and the North Cascades in fall from the Maple Pass trail
  • Location: The Maple Pass Loop trailhead is located at Rainy Pass on the North Cascades Highway. This is the homeland of the Okanagan and Methow people.
  • Best time of year: July-October, I recommend early October when the larches are out – this is one of the best fall color hikes in Washington!
  • Length: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2000 feet
  • Passes Needed: Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful pass
  • Dogs: NO
  • Crowd avoiding tip: This trailhead is really crowded on weekends at the end of September and early October on clear days. They have traffic control in the parking lot which helps a lot. People spread out along this loop trail so crowds are manageable. The extra people are absolutely worth it to enjoy this spectacular hike
  • EV charging nearby: Nothing very near by, closest is in Burlington, WA
  • Best place to stop after: Head to one of the excellent breweries in the Skagit Valley, or the Old Schoolhouse in Winthrop
  • Good alternatives: If you’re looking for a shorter and easier larch hike in the same area, try Blue Lake.

Harry’s Ridge: Best Volcanic Landscape Hike at Mt St Helens

View of Mt St Helens near the Johnston Ridge Observatory
  • Location: The Harry’s Ridge Trail starts at the Johnston Ridge Observatory in Mt St Helens National Monument. This is the homeland of the Cowlitz people.
  • Best time of year: The road to Johnston Ridge Observatory is open mid-May through October. June – October are good times for this hike, but especially amazing is July when the wildflowers are incredible and the odds of clear weather to see the volcano are good.
  • Length: Up to 8 miles, you can go any distance on this trail and get amazing views of Mt St Helens and the volcanic landscape
  • Elevation Gain: Up to 1000 feet
  • Passes Needed: There is an $8 fee you must pay inside the visitor center to get a pink bracelet. If you have an America the Beautiful pass it’s free, but you still need to show it and get the bracelet
  • Dogs: NO
  • Crowd avoiding tip: This is a place that gets busy in summer, but much less so than other places in the mountains. You can get away from nearly all the people by walking a 1/4 mile on the trail or more
  • EV charging nearby: Woodland, WA (where you turn off I-5)
  • Best place to stop after: McMenamin’s Ahles Point Cabin
  • Good alternatives: There are no alternatives to this hike for an epic Mt St Helens experience! You can make it easier by going a short distance on the trail instead of the entire way, which gives you the same incredible views.

Naches Peak Loop: Best Wildflower and View Hike at Mt Rainier

Wildflowers on the Naches Peak loop trail
  • Location: The Naches Peak Loop trail starts at Chinook Pass in Mt Rainier National Park. This is the ancestral homeland of the Yakama people.
  • Best time of year: Late July – Late September or early October; amazing wildflowers are late July and early August, fall color in September; possibly snow starting late September
  • Length: 4 mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet
  • Passes Needed: Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass
  • Dogs: NO, however dogs are allowed on the portion of the trail that goes on the Pacific Crest trail that is not in the park. Dogs are not allowed on the loop
  • Crowd avoiding tip: While not as crowded as Paradise in Mt Rainier, this is still a crowded trailhead. You can experience less crowds by doing the hike in the evening, especially during wildflower season.
  • EV charging nearby: Puyallup or Yakima (65 miles so not that close)
  • Best place to stop after: Naches Tavern in Greenwater or Pie Goddess in Enumclaw!
  • Good alternatives: There really is no alternative to this amazing hike! It’s not too difficult or long, has amazing views of Mt Rainier and surrounding mountains and lakes and has amazing wildflowers.

Ebey’s Landing Loop: Best Island and Salish Sea View Hike

a hiker on a trail along a bluff next to an expanse of blue water on the Ebey's Landing trail, one of the best hikes in Washington
Views from the Ebey’s Landing Loop trail
  • Location: Ebey’s Landing is on Whidbey Island, near the town of Coupeville. Whidbey Island is the homeland of the Skagit and Snohomish people.
  • Best time of year: This is an excellent year round hike. I particularly enjoy it in the winter and spring
  • Length: 5.5 mile loop (you can also walk out on the bluff and back instead of the loop going down to the beach)
  • Elevation Gain: 300 feet
  • Passes Needed: Washington State Discover Pass (lower trailhead near beach) or Northwest Forest Pass/America the Beautiful pass for the upper trailhead near the farm
  • Dogs: Yes, leashed
  • Crowd avoiding tip: Parking is easier at the upper trailhead, visiting in the off season (winter, early spring) reduces the crowd
  • EV charging nearby: Everett or Burlington
  • Best place to stop after: Lots of great options on the island! Whidbey Coffee (multiple locations on the island) or Front Street Grill for Penn Cove mussels!
  • Good alternatives: Nearby Deception Pass State park has similar Salish Sea views, and if you’re looking for a bit longer journey, try Mt Finlayson on San Juan Island for amazing island and water views.

Hurricane Hill: Best Olympic National Park 360 View Hike

Distant snow covered mountains across a valley at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park
Olympic Mountain views surround you on Hurricane Ridge
  • Location: Hurricane Hill is located at Hurricane Ridge on the north side of Olympic National Park, near Port Angeles. This is the homeland of the Klallam people.
  • Best time of year: Hurricane Hill can be done in the winter as a snowshoe, but it’s twice as long and in places exposed to avalanches (check with rangers before heading out when there’s snow). For a snow free summer hike, make it June-September.
  • Length: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 650 feet
  • Passes Needed: Olympic National Park entrance fee or America the Beautiful pass
  • Dogs: NO
  • Crowd avoiding tip: Hurricane Ridge gets busy on summer weekends. Try a winter snowshoe outing, a weekday in summer, or heading up very early in the day or in the late afternoon.
  • EV charging nearby: Port Angeles
  • Best place to stop after: Barhop Brewing and Pizza or Jasmine Bistro (Thai food), both in Port Angeles
  • Good alternatives: Another good option at Hurricane Hill is Sunrise Ridge (same parking location to start)

Twin Falls: Best Hike for Kids

A wide and high waterfall cascades over a vertical rock face. There are trees and green shrubs around it
Spectacular Twin Falls
  • Location: Twin Falls is located in North Bend. This is the ancestral land of the Snoqualmie people and other Coast Salish tribes.
  • Best time of year: I love this hike in winter, when the falls are roaring and it’s less crowded. It’s a great hike in summer too, when kids can play in the river along the way. There’s no bad time for this hike!
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 500 feet
  • Passes Needed: Washington State Discover Pass
  • Dogs: yes, leashed
  • Crowd avoiding tip: Go in winter (or fall or spring) when the falls are roaring
  • EV charging nearby: North Bend Outlet mall
  • Best place to stop after: Pioneer Coffee or North Bend Bar and Grill
  • Good alternatives: Wallace Falls is another kid friendly waterfall hike relatively close to Seattle (more convenient if coming from the North end)

Hoh River: Best Old Growth Rainforest Hike

Trees are covered with moss and the forest floor is covered in moss and ferns on the Hoh river trail in the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National park
Deep green blankets the Hoh Rainforest
  • Location: The Hoh River trail is in the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park near the town of Forks. This is the homeland of the Hoh and Quileute people.
  • Best time of year: All year! Be ready for serious rain and possible washouts in winter (the park service keeps the road conditions information updated regularly). Rain is likely all year.
  • Length: Up to 10 miles (or even farther, or much shorter! Even a walk on the trail for half a mile reveals stunning old growth rainforest)
  • Elevation Gain: 300 feet
  • Passes Needed: Olympic National Park entrance fee or America the Beautiful pass
  • Dogs: NO
  • Crowd avoiding tip: It’s most crowded in July and August (any day of the week), avoid crowds by visiting the rest of the year. Even during the busiest times you’ll get away from crowds by walking on the trail for a mile
  • EV charging nearby: Port Angeles and Olympia (88 miles minimum)
  • Best place to stop after: River’s Edge Restaurant in La Push
  • Good alternatives: The Hoh river trail is a minimum four hour drive from Seattle (usually more like five) from Seattle. If you’re looking for something closer, try the Marymere Falls trail near Lake Crescent or the trails by the Quinalt Lodge which both have impressive old growth forest.

Cowiche Canyon: Best Desert Canyon Hike (with a winery!)

Bright yellow wildflowers along the Cowiche canyon trail, one of the best hikes in washington
Wildflowers bloom in April and May in Cowiche Canyon
  • Location: The Cowiche Canyon hike is near Yakima in Central Washington. This is the homeland of the Yakama people.
  • Best time of year: My favorite time of year to do this hike is in the spring (April and May when wildflowers are blooming) or Fall (October) when the fall colors are out. You can do this hike anytime of year!
  • Length: Up to 4 miles (plus a mile if you go up to the winery)
  • Elevation Gain: none or a couple hundred feet up to the winery!
  • Passes Needed: None!
  • Dogs: Yes, leashed
  • Crowd avoiding tip: No crowds here!
  • EV charging nearby: Yakima
  • Best place to stop after: Los Hernandez Tamales (especially in spring for the asparagus pepper jack tamales!)
  • Alternative hikes: Umtanum Canyon between Ellensburg and Yakima on Canyon Road is good alternative with similar scenery in the same area (but no winery!)

Sol Duc Falls: Best Waterfall Hike

A waterfall with three channels plunges over the rocks at the end of the Sol Duc falls trail, one of the best hikes in washington
Sol Duc Falls is a spectacular waterfall in Olympic National Park
  • Location: Sol Duc Falls is located in the Sol Duc Valley near Sol Duc Hot Springs in Olympic National Park. This is the homeland of the Hoh and Quileute people.
  • Best time of year: The road to the trailhead is open late March through late October. I like it best in spring and fall and cool rainy days!
  • Length: 1.6 miles (short trail) or 6 miles from the campground
  • Elevation Gain: 200 feet (short trail) or 500 feet from the campground
  • Passes Needed: Olympic National Park entrance fee or America the Beautiful pass
  • Dogs: NO
  • Crowd avoiding tip: This area isn’t crowded!
  • EV charging nearby: Port Angeles
  • Best place to stop after: Sol Duc Hot springs pools! What could be better than a soak after a hike?
  • Good alternatives: There’s no real comparison to this hike, for the gorgeous waterfall, the beautiful forest and the hot springs! If you’re looking for another good waterfall, Twin Falls (above) and Cherry Creek Falls.

Second Beach: Best Tidepools and Beach

Sea stacks, tiny islands of rock with trees are off the Washington coast in Olympic National Park.
Tidepools and sea stacks are key features of the Olympic Coast
  • Location: The Second Beach trailhead is near the town of La Push in Olympic National Park. This is Quileute land.
  • Best time of year: All year!
  • Length: 4 miles (plus extra beach strolling)
  • Elevation Gain: 300 feet
  • Passes Needed: None!
  • Dogs: NO
  • Crowd avoiding tip: This parking lot gets crowded in summer, but there’s a large overflow parking area. Skipping mid summer reduces crowds.
  • EV charging nearby: Port Angeles (70 miles)
  • Best place to stop after: River’s Edge Restaurant in La Push
  • Good alternatives: This is my favorite beach in Olympic National Park and has amazing tidepools. Rialto Beach and Ruby Beach also have excellent tidepools, as does Shi Shi Beach.

That’s the list….for now! I’m always exploring new places and as I discover new trails I’ll keep adding to the best hikes in Washington!

A high mountain rises above a pond on the Lake Ingalls trail. Text reads: The best hikes in washington state
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Jennie Flaming
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years. I've been a tour guide in both Alaska and Washington and I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best low key adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!
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