Our 25 Favorite Washington Hikes

Washington hikes | PNW hikes | Washington State hiking | PNW trails | Washington trails | Hikes near Seattle | Washington State travel | Washington state things to do #hiking #washingtonstate #pnw

As those who follow us on Instagram may know, we LOVE to hike! We try to hike every single weekend, rain or snow or shine, and are currently doing the 52 Hike Challenge (at the time of posting this blog we have done 27 hikes and 142 miles in 2018!). Hiking is our way of de-stressing after a long week, spending quality time together, and enjoying all of the beauty that the PNW has to offer.In honor of the first day of summer today (are y’all as excited as we are?!) we thought we would share our 25 favorite hikes in Washington. While there are way more than 25 epic Washington hikes (our hiking to-do list is so long!), these are all trails we’ve personally hiked and loved. They tend to be pretty popular trails and get busy (get there early!), but for those of you visiting the Seattle area, just getting into hiking, or looking for new ideas, we hope this helps you out!

Warning:​ this blog is lengthy! If you’re short on reading time, we’re including our full list at the beginning for you to check out. We’ve linked to the Washington Trails Association for each hike, which we highly recommend reading before any hike to see recent trip reports. For more details on the hikes, such as mileage (all numbers are round trip), elevation, passes you need, and insight from our experiences, keep on reading!

Have a favorite hike in WA? Let us know in the comments! Happy hiking! 🙂

PS: Although the summers are milder in the PNW, don’t forget to pack tons of water and snacks for your journey. Need some snack ideas? Check out our favorite hiking snacks here.



Snoqualmie Region

Rattlesnake Ledge

  • Miles: 4.0
  • Elevation Gain: 1160 ft.
  • Pass: None

This is a classic WA hike! It’s always crazy busy, but its closeness to the city, easier distance and elevation, and incredible views make it a solid choice any time of the year. If we are ever short on time and want a quick hike, we go to Rattlesnake.

Poo Poo Point

  • Miles: 3.8
  • Elevation Gain: 1760 ft.
  • Pass: None

Is it just us or is it impossible not to laugh at the name?! There are a couple ways to get to the top of Poo Poo Point (this is the shorter route). Try to go on a clear day to see the paragliders take off from the top! You will also get to enjoy views of Mount Rainier and Issaquah/Bellevue from the multiple viewpoints.

Ira Spring + Mason Lake

  • Miles: 6.5
  • Elevation Gain: 2420 ft.
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

We enjoyed this hike so much more than we expected! On the way to the top you get great views of the Snoqualmie and North Bend areas (and maybe Mount Rainier if you’re lucky!) before heading to Mason Lake a beautiful, small alpine lake.

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Mount Si

  • Miles: 8.0
  • Elevation Gain: 3150 ft.
  • Pass: Discover Pass

Ooof this one is a doozy! Mount Si is known as one of the tougher day hikes near Seattle (want something a little easier? Try Little Si!), but despite its difficulty, it’s still incredibly popular. We went on a foggy spring day, so we unfortunately didn’t get to experience any views, but it’s towards the top of our summer hike to-do list!

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Mailbox Peak

  • Miles: 7.4
  • Elevation Gain: 4000 ft.
  • Pass: Discover Pass

This hike is intense! It’s by far the hardest hike on our list, but definitely the most rewarding. We suggest taking the old trail up to Mailbox Peak, which is way harder than the new trail (but way more fun!) with a killer 4,000 ft gain in 2.7 miles. After you catch your breath and relax at the top, take the new trail down for 4.7 miles. ​

Franklin Falls + Melakwa Lake

  • Miles: 10.5
  • Elevation Gain: 2500 ft.
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

These two hikes are great on their own, but make for a fun, long adventure when combined. Visit the popular Franklin Falls first before heading to Melakwa Lake. On your way to Melakwa Lake you’ll cross a stream (be careful and don’t cross if it’s flooded!) and pass a beautiful waterfall before arriving to the upper and lower lakes. The two lakes make for a great picnic spot!

Snow Lake

  • Miles: 7.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1800 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

This was the second hike we ever did in Washington and we loved it! We got there super early on a sunny summer morning (it gets very busy!) and enjoyed some peace and quiet at the lake before the crowds rolled in. Snow Lake is super picturesque and makes you feel like you stepped into a postcard. We can’t wait to backpack to Gem Lake (just past Snow Lake) later this summer.

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Annette Lake

  • Miles: 7.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1800 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

We did this hike on a sunny fall day, just as the snow was beginning to thickly coat the trail. It was a beautiful hike, with some views along the way, but the real reward is the gorgeous lake at the end.

Mount Washington

  • Miles: 8.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3250 ft
  • Pass: Discover Pass

We hiked Mount Washington on a sunny late spring day and were rewarded with insane views of Mount Rainier, as well as views of the Cascades, North Bend, Mount Si, and even Rattlesnake Lake. The trail is pretty challenging and rocky, but we really enjoyed the workout. It’s also a little less busy than some of the other options. Warning: The trail can be a bit hard to find at the beginning. After you take the main trail from the parking lot, you’ll reach a clearing with a sign that shows a couple trail options. Someone was kind enough to write Mount Washington below the sign and direct you towards the right. A minute or two after going towards the right, you’ll see an opening on your left where the Mount WA trail begins (someone etched into a tree “Mount WA” to help confirm you’re going the right way).

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Mount Rainier

Naches Peak Loop

  • Miles: 3.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 600 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

Despite gasping every single time we see Mount Rainier, we have only ever done one hike in the area (that’s definitely changing this summer!). The Naches Peak Loop is a great family friendly hike with insane views of Mount Rainier on a clear day, as well as surrounding mountains. We recommend doing the loop clockwise for the best Rainier views!

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Stevens Pass

Wallace Falls

  • Miles: 5.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1300 ft
  • Pass: Discover Pass

This is a great waterfall hike that is perfect for a rainy PNW day. The falls are beautiful and the trail is very well maintained. Don’t forget to go to all three viewpoints! This is also a good hike during the winter, as it tends to not get super icy or snowy and the falls are even cooler when frozen!
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Heybrook Lookout

  • Miles: 2.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 850 ft
  • Pass: None

Heybrook Lookout is the perfect hike if you’re short on time or just want something a little easier. The tower at the end of the trail is super fun to walk up and has gorgeous views of the mountains, including Mount Index (if you look closely you can see Bridal Veil Falls), Mount Persis, and Mount Baring.

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North Cascades

Heather-Maple Pass Loop

  • Miles: 7.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2000 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

Heather-Maple Pass Loop is definitely in the top 3 hikes we’ve done in Washington! We hiked this trail in the fall during the larches season (highly recommend!), but Mother Nature decided to give us snow instead. We were totally unprepared for the snowy conditions (as was everyone else on the trail), but had a blast sliding around and admiring the beautiful contrast of yellow larches against the snow. We will definitely be doing this trail again this fall, but we will be more prepared for the everchanging weather in the mountains this time.


Mountain Loop Highway

Heather Lake

  • Miles: 4.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1034 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

We loved this hike! We hiked it when the lake was still covered in snow and frozen (so magical!) and we can only imagine that it’s just as magical in the summer. The views are very similar to Lake 22, but with a little bit shorter distance and elevation gain.

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Goat Lake

  • Miles: 10.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1400 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

Goat Lake is one of the longer hikes on this list, but the smaller elevation gain makes it feel a lot easier. There are two ways to access the lake, the upper and lower trail, and we recommend going to the lake on the lower trail and then taking the upper trail on the way back. There are also some campsites if you’d like to backpack to the lake and stay the night. When we did this hike it was during all of the wildfires, so it was very smoky, but we can’t wait to go back and see this large lake on a clear day!

Lake 22

  • Miles: 5.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1350 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

This hike gets crazy busy, but there’s a reason for that! Not only is it gorgeous, but it’s relatively short and easy to access. The parking lot can be a nightmare, so plan to arrive very early or on a weekday to easily snag a spot.


Leavenworth

Colchuck Lake

  • Miles: 8.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2280 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

This is by far one of our favorite hikes in Washington! The clear bright blue water and the jagged peaks make for one of the most stunning backdrops for a picnic. This hike is located at the beginning of the Enchantments and does not require one of the coveted Enchantments permits for a day hike, making it a hot spot in the summer. As always, arrive early to grab a parking spot and make sure to bring a floaty so you can take a little swim around the crystal clear lake.
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Eightmile Lake

  • Miles: 6.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1300 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

This hike is located very close to Colchuck Lake and from our experience, was less crowded. Part of the hike is through a burnt forest with no cover, so make sure to bring sunscreen for those hot summer days! This lake is pretty large and has lots of rocks to sit on for a picnic (watch out for the marmots–we had one run right by us as we ate! Eeek!) and also has some camping spots if you’re able to snag a permit.

 

Icicle Ridge

  • Miles: 6.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1800 ft
  • Pass: None

This is a great hike if you’re hanging out in Leavenworth and don’t want to stray far from town. The hike overlooks Leavenworth and the mountains, giving it a mix of “city” and nature views. When we did this hike the summit was full of super deep snow, so we didn’t full it make it to the top, but we will definitely be back!

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Columbia River Gorge

Dog Mountain

  • Miles: 6.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2800 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass + you need to buy a $1.50 permit per person to access this trail (they do have people checking for these)

A bit far from Seattle, but totally worth the drive for the views of Oregon and the Columbia River Gorge. There are a couple ways to make it to the top of this hike, the difficult route or the more difficult route. We took the more difficult route to the top and the less difficult route to the bottom. Regardless of which way you go, your legs will be burning!

 

Falls Creek Falls

  • Miles: 3.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 600 ft
  • Pass: None

This is our favorite waterfall hike we’ve done in Washington! The tiered waterfall is gorgeous, powerful, and much larger than we expected. Our jaws dropped when we approached the falls after walking along the river in the forest. The road to the trailhead is rough, but the hike to the falls is well maintained and easy.

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Olympic Peninsula

Mount Storm King

  • Miles: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2065 ft
  • Pass: None

We have an interesting relationship with this hike. The views at the top are stunning, but getting to the top is a bit sketchy at times. There are narrow sections with drop offs where you have to use ropes to assist you. We went on an iffy day weather wise, with snow at the top and crazy wind, which made it scarier than during the summer. It took us two tries in the same day to summit the mountain, but when we finally did we felt SO accomplished. Despite the fears we (ok, just Kathryn) had getting to the top, it’s without a doubt one of the most rewarding hikes we have done in Washington.

 

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Lena Lake

  • Miles: 7.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1300 ft
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

We hiked this trail in January and lucked out with a mostly snow free (although very wet) trail. Although it was foggy at the lake, the view was still gorgeous and we will definitely be back! There is a nice big rock overlooking the lake that makes for a great picnic spot.

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Cape Flattery

  • Miles: 1.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 200 ft
  • Pass: Makah Recreation Pass, which can be purchased at the Makah Tribal Museum or Washburn’s grocery.

This is one of the best effort to view ratio hikes in Washington. Just 0.75 miles one way leads you to a viewpoint of the northwestern-most point of the Contiguous US. Super cool! And the view of the rock structures in the water and the coastline is absolutely amazing. It’s a little bit of a trek to get to, but totally worth it!

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Hoh River Trail

  • Miles: 10.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 300 ft
  • Pass: National Park Pass

The great thing about the Hoh River Trail, besides the awesome rainforest, is that you can make this hike as short or as long as you’d like. As soon as you enter the trail you’re in the middle of the rainforest, so you don’t have to travel miles and miles for views. In addition to the rainforest, you also get to hike along a beautiful river, with many spots to get closer to the water. We hiked this trail on our first backpacking trip and loved it! We went to the Olympus Guard Station (9 miles in) and then camped at Five Mile Island.

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Washington hikes | PNW hikes | Washington State hiking | PNW trails | Washington trails | Hikes near Seattle | Washington State travel | Washington state things to do #hiking #washingtonstate #pnw

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No Comments

  1. Suzanne on June 25, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Great information as always….so thorough! Love reading your blog!

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