One of my favorite things about Seattle is how easy it is to get out in the woods. Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, I'd only been hiking a time or two. Now it's become one of my favorite hobbies. There's nothing I love more than wandering through thick tree cover, taking deep breathes of that crisp, piney air and leaving all my worries at the trailhead.
Whether you've lived in Seattle for years and been meaning to explore more or are simply visiting for a few days, there's plenty of nearby trails to discover. Here's some of our faves:
POO POO POINT - ISSAQUAH, WA
If you laughed at the name, you aren't alone! Apparently this peak was named after the sound steam whistles made in the early days of logging.
Anyways, Poo Poo Point is an absolutely beautiful hike. It's about 4 1/2 miles roundtrip and roughly 1,700 feet in elevation gain which means it's perfect for beginners. There are sections that are a bit strenuous, but the view from the top is totally worth it. Once you've reached the summit you'll have views of Issaquah, Bellevue, Lake Sammamish and you might even get to watch a paraglider take off! The best part? It's less than 30 minutes from Seattle during normal traffic!
Length: 3.8 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 1760 feet Highest Point: 1850 feet
MT. SI - NORTH BEND, WA
You aren't a true Seattleite until you've climbed Mt. Si. It's pretty much a Northwest adventurer's rite of passage. Less than 45 minutes from the city, this trail is visited by upwards of 100,000 hikers a year! With over 3,000 feet in elevation gain in less than 4 miles, this trail can be tough for beginners. In fact, many experienced hikers use this peak to train for climbing Mt. Rainier. The trail begins with steady switchbacks and gets increasingly steeper as you rise to the top. When you reach the haystack you'll be surrounded by views of downtown Seattle, Bellevue, Rainier and the Olympics. Most people stop here, but if you're really up for the challenge you can scramble up the haystack for ultimate bragging rights!
Length: 8.0 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 3150 feet Highest Point: 3900 feet
Lake Serene & Bridal Veil Falls, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
This hike has a special place in my heart as it was Dustin and I's first adventure together. 💕 An hour drive Northeast of the city will get to the trailhead where parking can be sparse on nice days. After roughly 1 1/2 miles of trekking through thick tree cover you'll reach the trail to Bridal Veil Falls. It's only a half of a mile from there to the falls and definitely worth the extra little jaunt. After returning from the falls you have about 6 more miles to climb to Lake Serene and it is STEEP. I wasn't sure I'd make it to the top but Dustin wouldn't let me quit and I'm so glad he didn't. The lake is breathtaking and surely worth it. Unless you're a pro, the entire trip will take you at least 5 hours so give yourself enough time to finish before sunset.
Length: 8.2 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 2000 feet Highest Point: 2521 feet
Discovery Park - Seattle, WA
Wanting to hit some trails without even leaving the city? Then Discovery Park is for you. Located just minutes from Downtown Seattle, this former military base is now the largest park in the city. The Loop Trail is just under 3 miles and only has about 150 feet of elevation change, making this a great hike for beginners or those with little ones in tow. There are various other trails that meander through the park and a couple that even lead down to the beach which is pretty much an unofficial dog park. We love to come out here on the weekends with our pup, Bergen for a quick escape from the city.
Length: 2.8 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 140 feet Highest Point: 325 feet
Colchuck Lake - LEAVENWORTH, WA
If you're in the Leavenworth area, Colchuck Lake Trail is a must. This 8 mile hike is a local favorite, nestled between Dragontail and Colchuck Peaks in the Enchantments. It begins with a gradual climb through dense forest and the closer you get to the lake, the steeper and rockier it gets. Once you reach the lake, continue around the lakeshore for less than a mile and you'll find lots of places to hang out for the day. Stay for a while, take a swim, have a picnic and enjoy the picturesque views.
If you're looking for a challenge, you can continue up to Aasgard Pass. It's only an additional 4 miles, but another 2,200 feet in elevation gain and requires some scrambling (easy climbing without the need for a rope or other technical climbing gear). You'll be surrounded by stunning views of the lake, larches and you might even meet a mountain goat!
Length: 8.0 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 2280 feet Highest Point: 5580 feet
Wallace Falls - Stevens Pass
One of Washington's most well-known waterfalls, Wallace Falls, is just an hour from Seattle on scenic Highway 2. This is a great hike for newbies and was actually my first hike after moving to Seattle! Two miles from the trailhead you'll reach the Lower Falls, a great place to stop for lunch and enjoy the impressive views. Hang in there for another half mile and you'll arrive at the Middle Falls Overlook, another half mile of switchbacks and you'll be at the Upper Falls. See, it's not so bad!
Length: 5.6 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 1300 feet Highest Point: 1500 feet
Burroughs Mountain - Mount Rainier National Park
If you thought you had a nice view of the mountain from the city, wait until you get out to Mt. Rainier National Park. Due to the high elevations, this trail is only open during the summer months and is accessible from the Sunrise Visitor Center parking lot which is about a two hour drive from Seattle. Burroughs Mountain is compiled of three crests, each one with a view better than the last. On your 4.5 mile trek to the top, you'll be surrounded by beautiful wildflowers and interesting creatures like pika and marmots. The last stretch of the climb is the steepest, but once you reach the top you'll feel like you could almost touch Mt. Rainier.
Length: 9.0 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 2600 feet Highest Point: 7828 feet
I hope you'll be inspired to get outside and explore one of these nearby trails! If there's any other hikes you think should have made the list, let me know in the comments.