Let’s take a moment to appreciate how difficult it is to narrow down the Evergreen State’s top hikes.
This is the Northwest region. One of the ten tallest volcanoes in North America can be found in Washington, which also features a rainforest, an ocean, a desert, and mountains. There is still enough of natural beauty, and we have the hikes to prove it.
The final word on trekking in the Northwest of the United States? With any hike, you simply can’t go wrong. Every hike is great to a different extent, provided you do your research, recognise your limits, and come prepared.
Our wild places are remarkable (no pun intended), and protecting them is something we take great pride in. Respectful behaviour includes leaving no trace, keeping on designated paths, and adhering to all signs and instructions.
Now that you have this list as a starting point for your explorations, go appreciate the immense marvel that is nature. Check out these 12 top hikes in Washington.
Only 35 minutes from Seattle, which is a good reason to go.
Rattlesnake Ledge is merely one of many real hikes that can be completed in less than an hour from Seattle and take less than half a day to travel to. It is also one of the more well-liked walks in the region and a fantastic alternative for people with limited time. The winter, weekdays, or early in the morning tend to have less crowds.
Get ready spectacular vistas of Mount Si, Mount Washington, Rattlesnake Lake, and Chester Morse Lake after you reach the ledge at the summit as you switch back and forth along the trail. Children and dogs on leashes are welcome, but keep them away from the cliffs’ exposed edges.
Check out the Middle Ledge and Upper Ledge a little further up if you arrive at Rattlesnake Ledge and aren’t quite ready to descend.
2. Ape Caves
The third-longest lava tube in North America is a reason to visit.
The environment at Ape Caves, which was created by nearby Mount St. Helens’ lava approximately 2,000 years ago, is delicate. Before making the necessary reservation for this hike, be sure to educate yourself on the strict laws in place to safeguard it. Although bookings can be made at any time between May and October, the cave’s temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit makes it the perfect place to spend a hot summer day.
Although the distance and height gain classify this trip as “easy,” it’s important to note that the terrain is fairly rough and wet, with some sections requiring scrambling over rock heaps and dodging head bumps on the cave ceiling above.
You will love the outside trail returning to the beginning once you climb the ladder out of the cave at the end. Exploring the Lower Cave will add another mile and a half to this journey.
Don’t forget to bring additional batteries and your headlamp!
3. Harry’s Ridge
Why you ought to go Discover Mt. St. Helens, more almost 40 years after its cataclysmic explosion in 1980.
It’s amazing to see firsthand the rebirth that has blossomed in areas that were recently destroyed by lava and ash, even though Mount St. Helens isn’t the tallest volcano in the state (we’ll get to that one next). It is known for its 1980 eruption and is the most active volcano in the contiguous United States. Additionally, since it is a National Volcanic Monument, dogs are not permitted on the walk.
You can see Mount St. Helens for the majority of the Harry’s Ridge hike, so if the 8.2 miles start to seem excessive, you can always turn around. If you don’t go all the way, you’ll miss views of Spirit Lake and Mount Adams in conjunction with the adjacent volcano, whose dome is still occasionally smoking today.
4. Skyline Trail Loop
Why you ought to go for breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier, the culminating glory of the Cascade Range.
Since National Park Passes are expensive, it’s great that Skyline Trail Loop is located inside one of Washington State’s three National Parks (sorry, no pups here).
Nothing will compare to being up close and personal with the breathtaking Mount Rainier, which has waterfalls, a bridge, wildlife, and vistas of at least two mountains in the distance (Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams). How near can you get? Well, this trail splits off into a different route that leads to the top of the Cascade Range’s tallest mountain.
Expect it to be crowded because this is Mount Rainier National Park’s most popular hike, and for good reason. As an added bonus, you can use this trail for snowshoeing in the winter.
5. The Enchantments
Why you ought to go A wildness in the mountains that seems to have come from a fairy tale.
The saying “nothing worth having comes easy” comes to mind while thinking of The Enchantments. From May 15 to Halloween, camping is only permitted with a permit, which is obtained through a lottery. If they don’t win the lottery, they can try a day trek by taking a portion of the trail, hiking the 36-mile loop in a single day, or hiking the 18-mile point-to-point route while pulling two cars, one at each end.
What obstacles do you need to get beyond to experience this paradise? A mile-long climb that gains nearly 2,000 feet in elevation, scrambling over stones and scree, and occasionally challenging pathways are a few examples.
What benefits may you expect? Clear, turquoise lakes with names like Inspiration Lake and Perfection Lake will enchant you throughout the Upper, Middle, and Lower Enchantments. Wild goats graze amid centuries-old trees in front of breathtaking peaks.
Since words cannot adequately describe it, everyone hiker agrees that the challenging yet foot-numbing route was well worth it.
Pro tip: after this strenuous effort, visit the amusing, Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth nearby to unwind.
6. Wallace Falls
Go in search of magnificent waterfalls.
Visit these nine magnificent waterfalls with your entire family, including your favourite pet friends. This well-kept track is well-liked for a reason, so get going early or be ready for a crowd.
The trail is lined with magnificent, thick flora, picture-perfect bridges, and covered picnic tables about halfway up.
The Middle Falls are regarded for having the greatest perspective of the Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls, so those who don’t want to hike up to the Upper Falls can rest easy knowing they’ve already experienced the highlights of the expedition.
The best Portland to Seattle road trip itinerary is available here.
7. Steamboat Rock
Why you should go: To see 360-degree views of the desert in Eastern Washington.
There are breathtaking vistas in practically every direction from this 600-acre butte that extends into Banks Lake and rises 800 feet above the water’s surface. The Colville National Forest and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest are visible from these vantage points, in addition to the canyons that the Great Missoula Floods during the Ice Age cut out in the area. Depending on the time of year, the trail’s smattering of wildflowers will heighten the awe.
Although the rest of the trail is generally flat, the initial ascent up the scree demands caution. The hike is a six-mile loop around the top of the butte, but there is a pathway that runs through the middle of the plateau that can be used to shorten the distance.
The Grand Coulee Dam, which is close by and is one of the world’s largest concrete structures at more than four times the length of the Hoover Dam, is recommended for anyone interested in engineering wonders.
8. Hole-in-the-Wall and Rialto Beach
Why you should go: Beautiful photo opportunity and oceanfront stroll.
This beach hike in Olympic National Park is great for kids, but you’ll need to leave your four-legged companions at home. Watch out for animals like whales and otters in the ocean as you stroll along the beach, as well as tide pools at your feet! Cross Ellen Creek halfway to Hole-in-the-Wall, either by going through it or by going over a log.
The always-photogenic Hole-in-the-Wall can be explored beneath the arch on a low tide, but views above the arch are equally stunning on a high tide. To make informed plans, check tide tables in advance.
Pro tip: Vampire aficionados will like visiting the adjacent town of Forks, while road trip enthusiasts will enjoy the renown picturesque Highway 101 that brings you here.
9. Hoh River Trail
Discover the lone temperate rainforest in North America.
This trail is the best area to look for magic if you’re looking for it. Discover one of Washington’s most distinctive ecosystems under the shadow of the Olympic Mountains, where there are a million different shades of green.
The Hoh River Trail is a portion of the Olympic National Park, like like Rialto Beach, hence animals are not permitted. Although April through October is the ideal time to go on this hike, it is also accessible and considerably less popular in the winter.
Although the trail is 17.4 miles long in total, there are numerous natural rest stops along the way, making it simple to hike for as little or as much time as you choose. About 13 miles of the race are flat as well.