Amazing Hikes in Washington State

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Last updated Jul 5, 2023

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The evergreen state is a true wonderland. It houses three national parks: North Cascades, Mt. Rainier, and Olympic National Park, national forests, and many state parks. You can spend months here hiking and exploring. Unfortunately, there are only about two to three months in a year where you can access some of these amazing hikes in Washington and the best time to visit is in July and August.

This list of amazing hikes in Washington State has hikes for every fitness level from easy to strenuous. I will reference the location and driving distance from Seattle as well as the nearest town to each hike in the table below. In the end, I will also provide a 7-day itinerary on how to complete all these hikes in one week.

THINGS TO BRING

All hikes on this list are day hikes.

We like hiking in hiking shoes/boots, but they are not required for every hike on the list. Some of the easier hikes can be done in comfortable running shoes or hiking sandals.

The most desirable time of the year to do all these hikes is the July-August timeframe. The heat can be brutal during this time, so make sure you come prepared.

  • Bring extra water as most of these hikes do not have water accessible during the hike. For longer hikes hydration bladder usually works better than bottles as it distributes the weight evenly in your pack.
  • Bring easy-to-carry fruits and vegetables to stay hydrated such as apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, celery, carrots, etc.
  • Bring plenty of sunscreen
  • Use UV protective clothing, a sun hat, and a buff for your neck
  • Bugs can be plentiful so bring a bug spray

For some of the hikes, like Colchuck Lake or Lake Angeles using hiking poles is extremely helpful.

When using the facilities, toilet paper may not always be available nor water to wash your hands. What I always bring is a small package of tissue paper (travel size) and travel-size hand sanitizer.

Also, always carry an extra grocery or zip lock bag with you to store all your trash separately from everything else and Leave No Trace.



PASSES Need to Enjoy Amazing Hikes in Washington State

Instead of purchasing separate day passes at each location it is best to purchase both America the Beautiful and Discover Pass. With these two passes, you will be covered in both federal and state lands.

13 AMAZING HIKES IN WASHINGTON STATE

TrailLocationLength (round trip)Elevation GainParkingFacilitiesComments
Rattlesnake LedgeNorth Bend3.9-miles~1460-ft.YesBathrooms No WaterModerate hike, through the forest to an amazing view.
Mount SiNorth Bend8.0-mile~3150-ftYesBathrooms No WaterThe strenuous hike to the alpine lake and mountain peaks
Twin FallsNorth Bend2.9-miles~500-ft.YesBathrooms No WaterEasy hike with some stairs
Hurricane HillPort Angeles/Olympic National Park3.2-miles~700-ft.YesBathrooms WaterModerate hike on a paved trail
Lake AngelesPort Angeles/Olympic National Park7.4-miles~2400-ft.YesNo Bathrooms No WaterModerate to difficult hike to the subalpine lake
Mount Storm KingPort Angeles/Olympic National Park4.6-miles~2100-ft.YesBathrooms WaterStrenuous but short hike
Skyline LoopAshford/Mt. Rainier National Park5.6-mile~1800-ft.YesBathrooms WaterModerate hike with panoramic views of Mt. Rainier and the Cascades
Pinnacle PeakAshford/Mt. Rainier National Park2.5-miles~1050-ft.Yes, on the south side of the roadNo Bathroom No WaterShort but steep hike to the peak for the views of Mt. Rainier
Naches PeakChinook Pass/Mt. Rainier National Park3.5-miles~500-ft.Yes, park at the Tipsoo LakeBathroom No WaterThe strenuous hike to the summit where the rewarding views await
High Rock LookoutAshford3.2-miles~1365-ft.YesNo Bathroom No WaterSteep but short hike to the rock lookout
Maple Pass LoopWinthrop7.2-miles~2000-ft.YesBathroom No WaterEasy walk with views of Mt. Rainier
Blue LakeWinthrop/Steheikin4.6-mile~1000-ft.YesBathroom No WaterEasy hike to the alpine lake
Colchuck LakeLeavenworth8.3-miles~2400-ft.YesBathroom No WaterStrenuous hike to the alpine lake and mountain peaks
This table shows 13 Amazing Hikes in Washington State including location, length, elevation change, parking availability, facilities available, and difficulty level.



Rattlesnake Ledge Trail

Rattlesnake Ledge is one of the most popular trails in the region and is best to take advantage of it during the week to avoid the crowds. It starts off from Rattlesnake Lake where there is a picnic area and kayak rentals as an option before or after the hike.

Washington Hikes
Rattlesnake Ledge | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

From the parking lot head towards the lake, you will pass a few porta-potties and the information board with maps, trail information, and the history of the area. The Rattlesnake Ledge trailhead is to the right, northwest side of the lake.

At the beginning of the trail, you will be greeted with some massive boulders that disappear as you gain elevation through the forest. The hike is 1.9 miles to the lower ledge with close to 1500 ft elevation gain. The views from the ledge are breathtaking, one of the reasons this hike is so popular. On a clear day, you can see Mount Si, Mount Washington, Rattlesnake Lake & Cedar River Watershed.

Distance From Seattle: 35-mile drive, approximately 40 minutes.

Mount Si Trail

Another extremely popular hike in North Bend. However, more strenuous than Rattlesnake Ledge Trail. Gaining over 3000-ft in a little under 4.0-miles is no joke on a sizzling summer day. Switchbacks and climbing begin as soon as you leave the trailhead.

Best Hikes in Washington
Mount Si | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

Once at the summit and feel like you still got some energy left you can climb the Haystack, Mount Si’s true summit.

On a clear day, the views are endless and of course, Mt. Rainier is the one that dominates.

Distance From Seattle: 35-mile drive, approximately 40 minutes.



Twin Falls Trail

This is a great trail to combine with Mount Si if you have any more hiking left in you or Rattlesnake Ledge Trial as it is right down the road (I-90) from them.

It is an easy 2.6-mile out-and-back hike to upper and lower falls along the Snoqualmie River. It is a nice walk through the forested area, the trail is well maintained with some stairs.

Best Washington Hikes
Twin Falls | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

Distance From Seattle: 35-mile drive, approximately 40 minutes.

Hurricane Hill Trail

Located in the Olympic National Park past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. It is an easy 3.2-mile out-and-back hike on the paved trail with amazing views of the Olympic National Park. At times very thick clouds can roll in making it ridiculously hard to see where you are going or the hikers coming your way.

Best Hikes in Washington
Hurricane Hill | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

From the Hurricane Ridge Center, there are many other hikes to explore or even drive on what is considered Washington’s Most Dangerous Road to Observation Point.

It is not unusual to spot bears, deer, marmots, and at times cougars in this area.

Distance From Seattle: 105-mile drive, approximately 3.5 hrs.



Lake Angeles Trail

A steep hike through the forest to the beautiful Lake Angeles. The forest provides well-needed shade while climbing to the hidden lake. Once at the lake it is a great spot to take a break, eat a snack or your lunch, and then either turn back around or continue to the Klahhane Ridge. Klahhane Ridge is another 3-miles, and 1800 feet climb.

The hike is steep and tiring, for some even harder than Storm King, but the view of the lake is well worth the effort. It can also be combined with Hurricane Hill Trail, as the trailheads are close to each other.

Distance From Seattle: 90-mile drive, approximately 3.0 hrs.

Mount Storm King

Mount Storm King is a short but exhausting hike to the summit where you get a spectacular view of Lake Crescent. It starts off as an easy stroll through the forest, but it changes quickly to a steep climb. As you are walking through the forest there really are not too many spots to stop and take a break nor any significant views until almost at the summit.

Right before the rope section is where the views open up and the maintained trail ends. And if the idea of pulling yourself up by the rope does not excite you this is a good spot to turn around.

From here to Mount Storm King the trail is rough and slippery. The trail becomes very steep with minimal traction. The ropes have been left on the trail to help hikes with this ascend and descent (which is more difficult than ascent).

Once at the summit, the view is breathtaking. Enjoy it!

Best Hikes in Washington
Mount Storm King | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

You can also add Marymere Falls to this hike, starting at the same trailhead as Storm King and adding about 1.4 miles to the total hike.

Distance From Seattle: 105-mile drive, approximately 3.0 hrs.



Skyline Loop

Skyline Loop starts in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park. The trailhead is located close to the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise where parking, bathrooms, and water are available. The first 2-mile climb is to Panorama Point, on a clear day from here you can see as far as the peak of Mt. Hood in Oregon. Past Panorama Point uses High Skyline Trail to connect to Skyline Trail until the junction to Paradise Glacier Trail that takes you to Paradise Valley. There is a slight climb to the Myrtle Falls and then finally back to Paradise. It is a very popular hike or at least parts of it, and it is best to give it a try during a week and avoid weekends.

Best Hikes in Washington
Skyline Loop | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

Distance From Seattle: 107-mile drive, approximately 2.5 hrs.

Pinnacle Peak

Short but steep climb to the peak with stunning views of Mt. Rainier in peace and quiet. Not as popular as Skyline Loop and at times you may find yourself all by yourself. And the view of Mount Rainier is just breathtaking.

Best Hikes in Washington
View from Pinnacle Peak | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

Parking is on Stevens Canyon Road, the same parking area as Reflection Lake. Trailhead is located on the south side of the road.

Perfect place to take a lunch break and enjoy spectacular views. To the north is a dramatic close-up view of Mt. Rainier and to the south on a clear day Mount Adamas and Mount St. Helens.

Distance From Seattle: 107-mile drive, approximately 2.5 hrs.

Naches Peak

This easy loop is one of the most popular hikes in the Mt. Rainier National Park. It starts out along Pacific Crest Trail at Chinook Pass and leads south until it intersects the Naches Loop Trail. For the best views of Mt. Rainier, it is best to do this hike in a clockwise direction.

Best Hikes in Mt. Rainier
Naches Peak | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

This hike can be combined with Skyline Loop, Pinnacle Peak, or High Rock Lookout.

Distance From Seattle: 90-mile drive, approximately 2.0 hrs.



High Rock Lookout

This is one of Washington’s most stunning lookouts. On a clear day, the summit provides outstanding views all around. To the northeast are Mt. Rainier and Cora Lake to the southeast are Mount Adams and St. Helens.

Best Hikes in Washington
High Rock Lookout | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

This is a short but steep hike following Sawtooth Ridge. There are high drop-offs so make sure you have stable footing and if bringing pets keep them on a leash. Along the way, you will come across some wooden benches offering a convenient place to rest. There are no facilities or water at the trailhead, so come prepared.

At the summit lookout building is fastened to the rock, it was built in 1929 and is no longer staffed due to lack of lightning protection.

Distance From Seattle: 100-mile drive, approximately 2.5 hrs.

Maple Pass Loop

A dream hike for any hiker. Whether you like wildflowers, hiking through forests, alpine lakes, or snowcapped mountain peaks this hike has it all. This trail is not a part of the national park but offers some of the best views of North Cascades.

You can do this trail clockwise or counterclockwise, some people have very strong opinions about this. Going clockwise gives you the benefit of getting the steep part out of the way at the beginning of the hike, while counterclockwise has more dramatic views of North Cascades National Park. Either way, you will be in awe the entire hike.

Maple Pass Loop Hike
Maple Pass Loop | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

Distance From Seattle: 153-mile drive, approximately 3.0 hrs.

Blue Lake Trail

This is an exceedingly popular short trail located right on North Cascades Highway (State Highway 20) with a limited parking area. If possible, it is best to do this hike on a weekday.

Since it is a relatively easy hike it is perfect for all ages and ability levels and would be great to add on after the Maple Pass Loop.

The trail ends at the crystal-clear Blue Lake surrounded by towering mountains. You can walk around the lake for more jaw-dropping views.

Best Hikes in Washington
Blue Lake | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

Distance From Seattle: 153-mile drive, approximately 3.0 hrs. and 10 minutes.



Colchuck Lake Trail

This is a beautiful hike to Alpine Lake and the beginning of The Enchantments Trail. The combination of dirt, rocks, and tree roots is what most of the trail is like.

Most of the hike is a gradual and bearable climb. The last 1.5 miles of the hike get rockier and during this time of the year, while snow is still melting, a little wet and muddy but manageable on a sunny day.

Alpine Lake Washington
Colchuck Lake | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

When at the peak enjoy the stunning views of the lake and peaks around you. We found a rock close to the lake that we climbed on and took a break enjoying the view.

And don’t forget to look for mountain goats!

Alpine Wilderness
Mountain Goat at Colchuck Lake | Amazing Hikes in Washington State

Distance From Seattle: 129-mile drive, approximately 3.0 hrs.



HOW TO DO ALL THE amazing HIKES IN 7 DAYs

One should never rush from a hike to a hike, hikes are meant to be slow, relaxing, and enjoyable. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the luxury of too many days off and have to rush. Below is a way to see all the hikes we recommend.

If you have less than 7 days definitely make sure that you make time for Olympic National Park and Colchuck Lake.

If you have more time add the hikes to Hoh Rainforest and Rialto Beach in the Olympic National Park and Lake Chelan in the Northern Cascade National Park.

DAY 1:

Arrive in Seattle early in the day and drive out of the Olympic National Park to Mount Storm King. You can catch a beautiful sunset at the summit.

Spend the night in Port Angeles.

DAY 2:

Start the day with the hike to Lake Angeles. Take your time and enjoy the view of the lake. Once you are done with this hike continue driving on the Hurricane Ridge Rd to the Hurrican Ridge Visitor Center. From here you can hike to Hurricane Hill for some more stunning views of Olympic National Park.

Drive out to Ashford for some fun in Mt. Rainier the next day.

DAY 3:

Start the day with a hike to High Rock Lookout and breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier and the surrounding area. The next stop is the Skyline Loop inside of the National Park in combination with Pinnacle Peak.

Spend a night in Ashford.

DAY 4:

The first hike of the day is Naches Peak Loop in Chinook Pass and then head to North Bend for the afternoon hike to the Rattlesnake Ledge.

If you have enough daylight left you can hike the Twin Falls today or leave it for tomorrow in combination with Mount Si Trail.

Spend the night in North Bend

DAY 5:

Hike Mount Si Trail and take your time to enjoy the views from the summit.

After Mount Si, you can either do Twin Falls if you have not done it the day before or head directly to Leavenworth.

Spend the night in the Bavarian town of Leavenworth.

DAY 6:

Start an early day with the hike to Colchuk Lake.

After the hike grab lunch in town and head to Winthrop for the final day of hiking.

Spend the night in Winthrop.

DAY 7:

Hike the Blue Lake and Maple Pass Loop. The perfect two hikes to complete this seven-day trip with.

Other helpful posts…
2 Week in Washington and Oregon – For Hikers and Wine Lovers
Ultimate Hike to Colchuck Lake
3 Unique Wineries in Columbia Valley
10-Day Oregon Itinerary
12 Epic Hikes in Utah

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