20 Amazing Seattle Hikes to Explore

When you ask locals in Seattle what they’re up to on the weekend, chances are good they’ll say hiking. We love to get out and hike, whether the trails go through rivers, mountains, or forests. If you have never been on any Seattle hikes, you might be wondering which trail to hit first. 

This list of Seattle hikes includes ones within the city, while many of them are just a short distance from Seattle. Read on and choose one to go hiking in Seattle!

Tips for Seattle Hikes

Here are a few tips to make your hikes near Seattle easier.

  • Check the weather first – It’s always smart to check what the weather will be like the night before you leave. If you’re hiking in the winter, make sure you have enough warm clothing and layers. When you’re hiking in the summer, you will want a water bottle and sun protection like a hat.
  • Check which pass you need – This list has the pass requirements for the following hikes near Seattle to help you. Most of the hikes in Washington require either a Northwest Forest Pass or Discover Pass. You can buy one for the day, but if you do more than 3 hikes in a year you might as well have the yearly pass. You’ll just hang this up in your car before you go hiking. 
discover pass hiking in seattle

20 Seattle Hikes to Explore

Here are a variety of hikes to check out no matter what your fitness level is.

1. Interlaken Park

Distance: 1.6 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 200 feet

Pass Required: None

Interlaken Park is one of Seattle’s smaller, forested parks that is located in Capitol Hill. This Seattle hike has a moderately elevated hill trail that runs for only 1.6 miles.

However, there are other side trails to make a hike more interesting – such as the steep trail that adds an extra half mile by going behind the Boren monument and heading 230 feet uphill to the lookout at Louisa Boren Park.

The floral beauty that abounds in Interlaken Park is one of the things that makes it one of the best hikes in Seattle. Regular visitors to this Seattle hiking trail know that in winter, Indian Plums and Snowdrops come into bloom. 

In spring, red currants bloom everywhere you look. During summer and fall, Bleeding Heart, Skunk Cabbage, Trillium, and Fringecup take turns to bloom.

2. Mount Si

hiking in seattle mt si

Distance: 8 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 3100 feet

Pass Required: Discover Pass

Mount Si is the most popular and one of the best hikes near Seattle (less than 45 minutes from it) and is visited by more than 100,000 hikers every year who seek breathtaking views of natural beauty while undergoing a more challenging hike. 

Mount Si’s trail goes round 8 miles and elevates 3,100 feet in the first half of the journey. This elevation is appreciated by intermediate hikers looking to strengthen their legs. Experienced hikers may also use it to practice for more strenuous trails.

Besides being one of the more popular Seattle hiking trails, Mount Si is also a state conservation area. The massive, ancient trees that reside there are a beauty to behold while hiking. As you proceed through the trail and come out of the forestry, you are treated to expansive views of Seattle, the Cascades, and the Olympic Mountains.

3. Mount Pilchuck

Distance: 5.4 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 2300 feet

Pass Required: Northwest Forest Pass

Mount Pilchuck is one of the more strenuous hikes near Seattle, though that is not made immediately apparent by the horde of visitors that pass through it every year in search of its great sweeping views and the historic lookout at its summit.

This 2.7-mile, 2,300-foot rising trail is short but intense, and hikers who are able to make it from the stream and forestry at the beginning all the way to the top are rewarded with a 360-degree view of Mount Baker, Mount Rainer and the Olympic Mounts from the historic fire lookout which was built in 1921.

4. Little Si

Distance: 4.7 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1300 feet

Pass Required: Northwest Forest Pass

Little Si keeps its big brother Mount Si company and is also regarded as one of the best hikes near Seattle. Its 4.7-mile trail is moderately graded and possesses a few sharp inclines. This trail is ideal for beginner hikers looking to strengthen their climbing legs. However, more advanced hikers looking to get back into hiking shape will also enjoy it.

The view from the top of Little Si is magnificent. Those who love Seattle hikes will be treated to gorgeous views of the valley below. You can also see peaks of the surrounding Mounts Si and Washington. 

For those that cannot make it to the top, there is a small ridge 0.2 miles and southeast of the trail that provides a low elevation preamble of the view from the top

5. Carkeek Park

carkeek park hike

Distance: 3.5 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 800 feet

Pass Required: None

Carkeek Park can be found on the Northwestern end of Seattle. This is a very popular spot for hikers who have kids or dogs and want an easy place to hike in Seattle. 

The main hiking trail that loops around the park is 3.5 miles long and runs all the way through Piper’s Creek. There are other side trails in the park for further exploration. 

Less than a quarter-mile through the trail, you will be presented with trailheads that lead north and south past Viewlands Elementary School before cutting back down to Piper’s Creek. 

There is also a side trail that leads you to Puget Sound and a bridge that crosses over the railway to give access to the beach. This is a great activity to do with kids in Seattle.

6. Rattlesnake Ledge

Distance: 4 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1160 feet

Pass Required: None

Although often busy, the Rattlesnake Ledge trail offers some of the best hiking near Seattle. This trail has well-designed switchbacks for a good challenge. You’ll also get excellent views of Mount Si, Mount Washington, the Cedar River watershed, Chester Morse Lake, and Rattlesnake Lake.

For those who have been to the summit before and are looking for a longer hike, there are switchbacks that trail out to East Peak 2.4 miles away, or to Snoqualmie Park 8.3 miles away.

7. Poo-Poo Point

poo poo point hiking

Distance: 7.2 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1858 feet

Pass Required: None

Poo-Poo Point is one of the more popular Seattle hikes that sits on West Tiger Mountain, east of Seattle and off the I-90. While its name may remind you of a need to change your baby’s diapers, the origin of the name comes from the sound of steam whistles. These could be heard all through Tiger Mountain back in the early days of logging. 

Its moderately challenging hike trail takes a roundtrip of 7.2 miles, and its summit is also frequently used as a launching spot for paragliders who wish to suspend gravity’s hold on their bodies.

8. Coal Creek Falls

Distance: 2.5 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 416 feet

Pass Required: None

Coal Creek Falls is another easy and family-friendly hike near Seattle. Located in the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildlife Park, the trail is very well maintained and sits under a vast canopy of alder, cedar, and maple trees. 

Hike past mossy boulders, a deep layer of salmonberry and ferns, as well as different species of wildflower as you follow the trail through a deep canyon and long-abandoned coal mine shafts. 

As your journey progresses, you’ll have to navigate a series of trail junctions which will eventually bring you to a set of stairs. Those stairs will lead you to the 28-foot Coal Creek Falls and the perfect view of one of the best Seattle hikes has to offer.

9. Ebey’s Landing

Distance: 5.6 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 250 feet

Pass Required: Discover Pass

Ebey’s Landing is located in a National Park on Whidbey Island and sits on a bluff that has a direct view of the majestic Puget Sound. The Bluff trail is accessed in two ways: from the Prairie Overlook trailhead, which works for those looking to get a full hiking experience; or from the beachside parking lot at the end of Ebey’s Landing Road for those who want to begin their experience of Seattle hikes with a little sun and surf. 

Regardless of how you choose to progress, have a care not to trespass as both routes cut through private property.

10. Discovery Park

seattle hikes discovery park

Distance: 2.8 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 140 feet

Pass Required: None

Discovery Park is the largest and most famous park in Seattle and is one of the most hiked as well. One of the best hikes in Seattle, the Discovery Park Loop Trail is 2.8 miles long and has a slight elevation change of 140 feet.

One of the oldest Seattle hiking trails, it cuts through thick forests and open meadows and has several excellent viewpoints for birdwatchers and nature photographers. 

Some birds that are commonly observed in the park include great blue herons and red-tail hawks in the summer and on rare occasions in winter, arctic snowy owls.

11. Sourdough Ridge

Distance: 2.5 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 400 feet

Pass Required: National Park Pass

The Sourdough Ridge Trail is one of the shorter hikes near Seattle, with minimal elevation and spectacular views. Located at Mount Rainier National Park, just by the Sunrise Visitors Center, this trail is great for families who want to get some exercise together without having to huff and puff with exhaustion. 

If you are not with family and you want some extra exercise, consider following a side trail that leads to Dege Peak, which has a summit that is a good challenge for beginner hikers.

12. Wallace Falls

Distance: 5.6 Miles, Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1300 feet

Pass Required: Discover Pass

Wallace Falls is one of the most popular trails for hiking near Seattle, and it is not hard to see why; it is family and dog-friendly, has rivers, lakes and three waterfalls, and you don’t need to go all the way to the end of the trail to enjoy your hike. The view of all three falls is one of the best hiking near Seattle can give.

You arrive at the lower falls after just two miles of hiking, and an extra half mile will bring you to a spot with the best view of the middle falls. Families with young children may want to turn back after this, but if you are alone, keep pushing up the steep switchbacks, and you will make it to the upper falls.

13. Talapus and Olallie Lakes

seattle hikes lake

Distance: 6.2 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1224 feet

Pass Required: Northwest Forest Pass

Talapus and Olallie Lakes are two parts of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness located near Snoqualmie Pass. The first two miles of the wide trail is moderately elevated and leads down to Talapus Lake where lone hikers or groups can sit to enjoy a nicely packed lunch or take a swim in the lake. 

Continuing past Talapus and heading into the dark, calm forest, hikers go on through a relatively steep trail that eventually flattens out and leads them to Olallie Lake.

14. Mailbox Peak

Distance: 9.4 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 4000 feet

Pass Required: Discover Pass

Mailbox Peak is a trail for experienced hikers and is one of the most infamous places to go on hikes near Seattle. The Mailbox Peak Old Trail was irrationally steep, and the number of injuries and rescues for people who braved it reached a breaking point, causing the Mailbox Peak New Trail to be created.

However, even though it is safer, the 9.4-mile roundtrip trail is still a significant challenge for the inexperienced. Rising at about 850 feet of elevation gain per mile, the trail crosses several creeks and then takes a difficult ascent through a series of switchbacks. 

The mailbox, which the trail is named after, is still at the summit, and if you make it up there, you will adore the view around it.

15. Snow Lake

Distance: 7.2 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1800 feet

Pass Required: Northwest Forest Pass

It may be a risky hike in the winter, but hikers of all skill levels agree that at other times of the year, Snow Lake is one of the best hikes near Seattle. 

On the trail, the 1,800 feet of elevation is expressed in a gentle slope, and you only walk through the forest for about a mile before getting a refreshing view of Chair Peak afar off. Enjoy your pleasant hike as you head down to the actual lake, which has waterfalls all around.

16. Bandera Mountain

Distance: 8 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 3400 feet

Pass Required: Northwest Forest Pass

Bandera Mountain is similar to Mount Si. They both span 8 miles on a roundtrip, and both gain an elevation of just above 3,000 feet. But where Mount Si is popular and usually teeming with hiking crowds, Bandera Mountain sees much less foot traffic.

Speaking of feet, this trail takes it easy on them for most of its length and then suddenly turns rough, forcing you to combine feet and hands at some points as you make your way up the last half mile. 

That half-mile is worth the fight, as those who are victorious can take in the spectacular view of McClellan Butte and Mount Rainer.

17. Cedar River Trail

Distance: 17.4 Miles One Way

Elevation Gain: 820 feet

Pass Required: None

The Cedar River Trail is perfect for the endurance hiker who just wants to walk for miles and miles with friends or alone. Accessible to bicycle riders, trail runners, as well as hikers, the trail is often moderately crowded with people who want to walk their dogs. 

However, they must be kept on a leash. While you may find people on the trail at any time of the year, it is mostly used from June to September.

18. Twin Falls

seattle hiking twin falls

Distance: 2.6 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 500 feet

Pass Required: Discover Pass

Twin Falls is a family and pet-friendly hike near Seattle located about an hour east on I-90. Its 2.6-mile trail begins by taking a short climb up a hill that takes you to the Benches – where you get a quick view of the Lower Falls. 

The journey continues with some descending down a hill and ascending a series of switchbacks and a couple of stairs before bringing you to the Big Bridge, where a cascading view of both the Upper and Lower Falls is seen.

The trail is very easy to traverse, which makes it great for families with small children. While making your way up, look out for the gorgeous floral display as flowers bloom in the trees, and maybe see if you can catch a glimpse of the herd of Elk that resides in the area.

19. Soaring Eagle Regional Park

Distance: 12 Miles of trails

Elevation Gain: 500 feet

Pass Required: None

Within Soaring Eagle Regional Park, there are 12 miles of trails that go through 790 acres of forests, wetland, and wildlife. 

The trails are used by hikers, long and short distance runners, and families alike. There are maps at almost every intersection to provide directions making it one of the best hikes in Seattle.

20. Camp Long

Distance: 1.6 Miles Roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 240 feet

Pass Required: None

Camp Long is one of the hidden gems when it comes to hiking in Seattle. Located on the crest of West Seattle, this 64-acre wildlife haven features a variety of hiking trails. They are all set under an expansive natural umbrella made up of maple, alder, Sitka spruce, cedar, birch, and Douglas fir. 

Visitors to Camp Long can also watch exquisite birds, climb rocks, go camping, or take lessons at the environmental learning center.

Looking for a challenging hike outside of Seattle? Check out this guide on how to climb Mt. St. Helens, an active volcano in Washington.

Looking for a few Seattle hikes to do on this weekend? Check out this list of some of the best hikes near Seattle that you'll want to explore. #seattle #hiking #washington
Looking for a few Seattle hikes to do on this weekend? Check out this list of some of the best hikes near Seattle that you'll want to explore. #seattle #hiking #washington