Best Washington Fall Hikes

Elaine Sutton
• Tuesday, 03 November, 2020
• 8 min read

The air is as crisp and fresh, honeyed sunlight sets meadow basins aglow, and ripe berries hang heavy from bushes. As summer's green gives way to spectacular autumn hues, pack an extra fleece, fill your thermos, and rediscover an entirely new side to Washington hiking.

hikes washington state
(Source: www.thewanderingqueen.com)


Shorter days, colder nights and quick-changing weather patterns can make even a simple hike more risky than your average summer excursion, so pack the 10 Essentials, and check conditions before you head out. Save this hike west of Yakima off Highway 12 for mid-October or November, when the color in the alpine meadows is starting to fade and the mountains are filling with snow.

Take a leisurely stroll up the Tie ton River Canyon among color-changing cottonwoods, quaking aspens, Garry oaks and shrubby willows, all putting on one of the most spectacular autumn displays you’ll ever see. Mount St. Helen's gets overlooked as a fall destination, but the cooler temperatures make a visit to the volcano ideal this time of year.

We recommend a visit to the east side of the Loo wit Trail on a clear day in fall, where the bright reds of huckleberry bushes and a range of autumn grasses give this unusual landscape an entirely different character. Don't forget your water and sunscreen, and if you want some spectacular sunrise photos, start early or plan an overnight.

If you can plan this lakeside hike for a clear day, the sunlight will sparkle on the lake, light up the mountains and brighten the brilliance of the maples. Winding through sunlight dappled corridors of maple, Site spruce, hemlock and countless other types of trees, with the lake lapping nearby, there is something to delight the senses every step of the way.

Location: North Cascades -- Method/Sawtooth Length: 12 miles, round trip Elevation Gain: 2480 ft. To experience the real drama of Eagle Lakes, wait for the peak of larch season and hike all 6 miles to the top of this longer day hike in the Sawtooth, where you'll reach the stunning larch-ringed basin of Upper Eagle Lake.

(Source: www.thewanderingqueen.com)

If you're looking for your fall backpacking trip, the area has many loops and side trips worth their weight in golden larches, including a larch classic, Mooney Lake Trail and on WTA staffer's favorite, the Copper Glance Trail. Location: North Cascades -- Mount Baker Area Length: 9 miles, round trip Elevation Gain: 2500 ft.

The bugs that plagued August visitors are gone in September and early October, and the rolling flower meadows blaze red this time of year. Many hikers don't go beyond the first viewpoint, but take the time to walk up the ridge for stunning North Cascade views.

Location: North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway Length: 6 miles, round trip Elevation Gain: 150 ft. Look down to catch the many-hued surprises of mushrooms popping up along riverside and creek trails west of the Crest.

You'll weave between forest and stream bank on this level trail that makes a great beginner hike rain or shine. Location: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass East Length: 12 miles, round trip Elevation Gain: 2450 ft.

High alpine passes and lake basins and golden larches make this a classic fall hike. Location: Mount Rainier Area -- Cayuse Pass/Stevens Canyon Length: 15.0 miles, round trip Elevation Gain: 2900 ft.

washington hikes dani explorer travel
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

The Highest Point: 5419 ft. Fall Feature: elk, colorful meadows, misty mornings. The trail alternates between forest and meadows alight in autumn colors and busy with wildlife getting ready for winter.

But if you're up for the climb, it's worth making it up on the ridge (at the 4-mile mark), where you'll have incredible views on a clear day. Location: Eastern Washington -- Selkirk Range Length: 8.2 miles, round trip Elevation Gain: 250 ft.

And while most of the peaks, forests, lakes, and river valleys I’ve trudged across make great autumn destinations; the ten below represent the cream of the crop when it comes to capturing the full essence of fall hiking in Washington State. Photo by John D’OnofrioTraverse a rocky knelled spine above sprawling glaciers to almost within embracing distance of Mount Baker.

Photo by John D’OnofrioOn a per-mile-basis, the Maple Pass Loop is perhaps the most scenic hike along the breathtaking North Cascades Highway! In this seven mile loop you’ll be treated to majestic old-growth forests, a sparkling high-country lake, resplendent alpine meadows, and enticing wide open ridges granting stunning North Cascades vistas.

In autumn, a smattering of larches adds touches of gold to the dramatic cirque cradling the aforementioned Lake Ann glistening 1,000 feet directly below. Photo by Craig RomanoFrom the site of Gilbert, a long-lost mining town, follow a route once used by hardscrabble prospectors up a wide glacier-carved valley to a 6,064-foot gap high in the mountains.

dc fall hikes summitchicks hiking area near trails lake park
(Source: summitchicks.com)

Paralleling the Twist River, steadily ascend, alternating between lush cool forest and sunny open ledges. At Twist Pass, saunter a way north up an abandoned, (but easily followed) trail through groves of glowing larches and berry patches set afire in red.

And the views along the way of the old mining district of Esmeralda Basin to Mount Rainier in the southern horizon are sublime. In the past, much of the peak was engulfed in wildfire creating open meadows and prime wildlife habitat.

Photo by Craig RomanoFrom this old lookout site at more than 7,400-feet, gaze straight down into a barren cirque cradling a large lake which remains frozen all but the early days of autumn. Comprised of the Snow grass Flat, Lily Basin, and Goat Ridge trails; this is one of the most scenic loops in the Cascades.

Traverse wildlife-rich meadows and slopes graced in blueberries and larches which in fall add vibrant colors to this oft-muted landscape. Branch off on a short spur to 6,379-foot Diamond Peak, second-highest summit in Southeastern Washington and savor breathtaking views from Hell's Canyon to the high Wallow Mountains of northeastern Oregon.

If you’re asked to list down three reasons to visit Washington, keep in mind culture, history, and the food scene. You can always add cherry blossoms to your list if you’ll visit the state in springtime.

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There is so much to see and so many things to do in Washington : learn all about American history through historical monuments and memorials, visit the White House, US Congress and other attractions in Capitol Hill. If you’ll take a trip with nature, try hiking trails on paths that lead to the most scenic and spectacular waterfalls.

Scroll down to read about the top waterfall hikes in Washington, USA. Local residents and tourists come to see the view of these falls that were carved more than 13,000 years ago.

Once at the park, visitors can enjoy three different viewpoints of the falls depending on the trail path you follow. Some parts of the trail would require traversing a rock wall so be sure to take precautions.

For those in the area looking for an easy waterfall hike, proceed to the Lewis River Falls. The trailhead is about 14 miles (23 km) from Road 25, located in the Lower Falls Recreation Area.

Rainier National Park’s Paradise Inn visitor center, if you take the paved trail. It takes about 30 minutes to hike the entire length of the trail which has a slightly steep incline.

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(Source: blog.thedyrt.com)

Tourists and visitors are sure not to miss the opportunity to photograph Myrtle Falls with Washington’s most iconic mountain as the backdrop. Aside from the path to the waterfalls, other trails branching from the Paradise Inn visitors area would lead to other viewpoints of scenic spots like Ruskin Falls and Ni squally Glacier.

This scenic wonder of nature is located at one of Tennessee’s busiest state parks. It would take about 4 miles (6.4 km) to traverse back and forth to the falls but don’t fret because the trails to are well maintained.

This spot is an ideal choice for day trips because the entire distance of the hike to Spray Falls is just a little more than 7 miles (11 km). Spray Creek produces one of the largest waterfalls in Mount Rainier National Park as it flows over the edge of a lofty cliff at a drop of 108 meters (354-feet).

This nice trail with just a few tricky spots can cater to visitors as young as 6 years old and as old as 70. It will only take a short hike to reach the Panther Creek Falls that’s inside the Gifford Pinch National Forest in the Gorge region.

The hike itself can be overwhelming as it offers a great view of different combinations of waterfalls, a hanging garden and rich colors of moss. The hike to the base of the waterfalls is very steep and slippery even for more advanced hikers.

washington hikes dani explorer
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Panther Creek Falls Address : NF-65, Carson, WA 98610, United States The out and back hike will take you through the woods and a few streams and creek crossings, so be sure to use appropriate gear and shoes.

Along the way, hikers will pass through the dense conifer forest, making the hike along the river seem magical. It would take a very short walk to see the amazing Rocky Brook Falls in Brannon.

Rocky Brook Falls Address : 2405 Dosewallips Rd, Brannon, WA 98320, United States Water from the falls cascade from the source Aurora ridge down to the creek at a drop of 27 meters (90 feet).

*For our Canadian and US travelers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. She is most interested in writing about international cuisines, popular food stops, and destinations with beaches and outdoor sceneries.

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