Wind your way through Washington State with the best hikes outside of Seattle. ​

From the Cascades to the Olympic Mountain range, glacier lakes, and ice caves, Washington State truly is a land of many wonders. Those who live in the Rainy City often forget about the beauty that's right in their backyard. Some of the best hikes outside of Seattle are less than a half an hour from the city. Why not get out and explore them all? Whether you're a local or a traveler, we bet there are some adventures on this list you didn't know about. Take it from an expat. 

Here Are Our Picks for the Best Hikes Outside of Seattle

When you think of Seattle, what are the first places that come to mind? It's easy to think of the tech giants Amazon and Microsoft, spreading across the city, the ever-growing skyline, or quirky coffee shops at seemingly every corner. What people often forget though is the great number of hikes you can do that are nearby. Washington is an amazing place to go hiking. 

If trekking through the woods isn’t already one of your favorite pastimes, it’s about to become one. These forests are teeming with giant trees dripping in moss, raging rivers, and snow-capped views of mountains poking out from behind the clouds and morning fog.

1. Rattlesnake Ledge (Snoqualmie Pass)

hikes outside of seattle - Rattlesnake Ledge

Credit: Flickr

For those of you who have never been to Snoqualmie Pass before, you are in for a special treat. The views are absolutely spectacular. Take the I-90 and get off on exit 92. At four miles round trip, Rattlesnake Ledge offers a relatively easy day trip hike. The trail gently slopes through an old growth forest, offering lovely sights of the Pass and the Southern Cascades. And get this – the trail is only 40 minutes south of Seattle. 

Starting off at Rattlesnake Lake, you will follow the trail through a series of switchbacks, rising 1,000 feet over the course of 1.5 miles. While it is admittedly a steady uphill climb, it still is not too difficult to summit. This means that on sunny summer days, you better bet that it is crowded. As a famous spot among tourists and locals alike, it is only getting more popular.

If you have some time to spare, stop and take breaks along the hike. There are plenty of scenic spots where you can relax, swim, or go fishing. In the event that you are looking for more difficult hikes near the city, consider traversing Little Si and Mount Si. Otherwise, Rattlesnake Ledge offers one of the best hikes outside of Seattle.

2. Little Si and Mount Si (Snoqualmie Pass)

hikes outside of seattle - Snoqualmie Pass

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Here are those hikes that are a little more challenging that we mentioned. For those looking for a bit more of a challenge than Rattlesnake Ledge has to offer, Little Si and Mount Si offer just the thing. Also located in Snoqualmie Pass, you are less than a 45-minute drive from the heart of downtown. Since they are easily accessible from the main highway, they are two of the most trafficked hikes during warmer weather.

While both offer great trails, we prefer Little Si to Mount Si. At 5 miles roundtrip, it gains about 1,200 feet in elevation overall. So, the trail isn’t nearly as steep as Rattlesnake Ledge. Besides the beautiful forest greenery, you will encounter some unique rock formations (great for climbing), and get great views of North Bend throughout the trail as you ascend. As you near the top, you will also be able to get some clear sights of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley and Mount Si.

Mount Si takes a bit more time to traverse. At eight miles roundtrip, it’s more than just your casual day hike. For those thinking of bringing the family and the dog along, plan ahead and use your time wisely. Make sure to bring plenty of food, water, and snacks along the way. But for that kind of effort, there are trails that are more worth your time. Save your energy for the best hikes outside of Seattle.

3. Discovery Park

hikes outside of seattle - Discovery Park

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Hike at your own pace. Discovery Park is one of our favorite places to explore outside the city. It’s definitely one of the best hikes outside of Seattle. Where else will you find a forest, meadow, and beach all in one spot? Besides offering a beautiful and expansive woodland to roam, there are up to five miles of trails to traverse and a lighthouse waiting for those who seek it out. You’ll find this urban gem tucked in the northwest corner of Magnolia. 

Looking for the classic choice? Check out the 2.8-mile round trip loop. Wander through the meadow and woods until you reach the bluff point. Overlooking Puget Sound, you will have great views of the city skyline. Pack a picnic and make the most of it. You won’t find another spot quite like this for miles and miles around.

4. Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain

hikes outside of seattle - Poo Poo Point

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Okay, stop laughing at the name. Poo Poo Point is one of the best hikes outside of Seattle. A grassy knoll on Tiger Mountain, this spot is right in the midst of Issaquah. While it is a steep trek, those who reach the top are rewarded with panoramic views of Lake Washington and its rolling green foothills. It’s also a fun place to go paragliding. If you’re not quite up for that kind of adventure, kick back and watch them sail as you get ready for your hike.

For those looking for the shortest way to get to Poo Poo Point, check out Chirco Trail. At 1.9 miles each way, it makes for an easy day hike. If you get started in the morning, you will have the whole rest of the day to explore the surrounding area. Just know that it is the steeper option of the two. High School Trail is longer but you won’t have as much of an uphill battle.

5. Big Four Ice Caves (Granite Falls)

hikes outside of seattle - Big Four Ice Caves

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Have you heard of the Big Four Ice Caves in Granite Falls? As one of the lesser known hikes on our list, you can visit them without too many tourists clogging the path. Spanning 2.2 miles round trip, this easy trek takes you across wooden bridges and carved pathways off of the North Cascades Mountain Loop Highway. 

Start at the trailhead in the gravel parking lot and make your way to the paved pathway in the woods. Take a moment to marvel at the massive toppled trees laying on their sides with roots facing the trail. Soon after you pass them, you will come to a fork in the road. Follow the boardwalk on your right-hand side across the marsh and to a flat, green picnic area. To reach the viewpoint of the caves, don’t follow the flat trail to the right. Take the one that curves up the hill. It can be a little confusing since it is not clearly marked.

The trail ends at a dried up riverbed directly across from the ice caves. Formed by pouring water from the falls and warm wind, the conditions hollow out heaves of snow deposited from avalanches. These massive caves have been attracting tourists for decades. While they are hidden in part of the year, they reappear halfway through summer and change a little in size every year. While they are absolutely gorgeous, it is dangerous to approach them and go inside. You can do so but hikers have died doing it before when parts of the cave collapsed. Venture at your own risk.

6. Blanca Lake Trail

hikes outside of seattle - Blanca Lake Trail

Credit: Flickr

Come experience one of the most gorgeous trails in the Henry M. Jackson Wilderness. While it used to run only 7.5 miles roundtrip, a road washout rendered the old Blanca Lake trail inaccessible indefinitely. So for hikers dedicated enough to see the lake, you will complete a 13-mile round trip trek. 

Make sure to get up early in the am to get started (maybe even before sunrise). This will give you enough time to get there and enjoy the views without worrying about it getting dark on the trailhead before you get back. While it is gorgeous to visit during fall and winter, the road conditions and the trail can get very icy. Summer is the way to go.

If you are willing to put in the work, the views are absolutely stunning. When you get to the top, the views aren’t immediately clear. First, you are greeted by a small and unimpressive lake. Keep on trekking. After you round the corner framed by Glacier, Monte Cristo, and Kyes Peaks, you’ll see the vibrant glacial waters in all of their turquoise glory. 

{Plan Your Trip for the Best Hikes Outside of Seattle

Now that you know about the best hikes outside of Seattle, it's time to get packing. There is something on this list for every type of traveler. Whether you are an avid hiker or simply looking for a fun trail with a view, you will find what you are looking for here. While you are in the Seattle area, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best coffee joints and brunch places too. 

Have you been to any of the places on our list before? Perhaps you have some recommendations for us about where to visit in the PNW. Let us know in the comment section below. 

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