Best Washington Hikes

Elaine Sutton
• Monday, 11 January, 2021
• 11 min read

It was tough, but taken together, we felt these hikes do a great job of showing off Washington's incredible trail diversity. Climb the local peaks, check out the Canadian border monuments, or kick back and watch the marmots.

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Day hike it or backpack here in late summer or fall, when it really shows off the best of autumn foliage. Along with unobstructed panoramic views of Mount Baker, the Twin Sisters, and the rest of the North Cascades, the route to Park Butte offers campsites, wildflower-filled alpine meadows, rushing waterfalls, and a stunning variety of mushroom species.

This challenging yet rewarding hike is known for the brilliant gold colors of western larches. Against a backdrop of blue autumn sky and the magnificent peaks of the Cascades, they are a dazzling sight and a Washington essential.

With so many mountain hikes to choose from, many hikers forget about the glories of Washington's coast. You can't go wrong finding wildflowers at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

In this short window of time, hikers will rejoice by frolicking along the trail surrounded by fields of wildflowers and soaking in one of the classic views of The Mountain. A classic Mount St. Helen's hike, leaving from the Johnston Ridge Observatory.

The hillsides are alive with wildflowers at mid-summer, and the view from the end of Harry's Ridge has you looking straight into the mouth of the crate, not to mention views of Spirit Lake, Mount Adams and even Mount Hood on a clear day. A ten-mile loop that shows off the lakes, meadows and vistas (not to mention huckleberries) of Indian Heaven Wilderness and Mount Adams with a southern section of the Pacific Crest Trail.

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The Goat Rocks Wilderness is a beauty, and this less-traveled access point is a great way to explore the area for yourself. Whether you want to visit a historic lighthouse, hit the sandy beach, or stroll through coastal forests and overlooks, there is something for anyone.

The full loop provides fantastic views of the Columbia River Gorge, an intimate look at the Cape Horn Falls and a challenging workout as it climbs and descends the rocky slopes of Cape Horn. Save a visit to this dramatic State Park for Spring or Fall (when things cool off).

This hunk of rock in Banks Lake is a distinct example of massive Ice Age floods 15,000 years ago. From massive sand dunes to river vistas and excellent shrub-steppe, this unique are is a delight for hikers' looking to switch up their usual forested treks.

Mount Misery is a delightful hike to the Oregon Butte Lookout, situated on a hilltop in the remote Blue Mountains. In the spring, this hike is a great one for wildflower meadows dotted with scarlet cilia, Dutchman's breeches, calypso orchid, sulfur lupine, giant-head clover, elk horn Clark, and more.

The Kettle Crest is a high-country route stretching 44-miles along some of the most glorious areas of northeastern Washington. While this trail makes for an excellent thru-hike, it can also be easily split into smaller chunks for a day hike or overnight.

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The most northwestern point of the contiguous United States, Cape Flattery is not a hike to be missed. This is very short, 1.5-mile round trip hike will wow you with its dense forest, sweeping ocean vistas, and beautiful boardwalks.

Walk to the end to get a view of where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific Ocean! Keep to the designated trails to preserve this insanely beautiful spot for years to come.

Over 2,300 feet of elevation gain in 2 miles comes with a pretty steep climb! There are also sections of the trail with installed rope, to help assist you over very loose, small rocks that can be slippery.

The park covers nearly 13 miles of trails, so there are tons of viewpoints to explore that will give you plenty to see. La Push Second Beach is a 4-mile round trip hike with switchbacks through the dense Olympic Peninsula trees.

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Soon enough you’ll hear the sound of crashing waves and emerge to the view of a dotted coastline of gorgeous sea stacks. The hike requires a trail through the forest with exposed roots, and the ability to walk over driftwood and on the sand.

There are so many beautiful trails to explore around Lake Wenatchee State Park that we couldn’t pick just one! Every season brings a new vibe, so Scenic Hot Springs is worth exploring all times of the year.

A steady and uncomfortable uphill climb and the slightly ambiguous trail makes this adventure tricky, but the end is still worth the sharp incline. Note: The trail to the base of the falls is visitor made, and not supported by the state park.

This 4.2-mile hike will delight you with stream crossings, waterfalls, and a gorgeous alpine lake at the top. The trail has a steady incline and can consist of a lot of slippery rocks and mud in poor weather.

Rattlesnake Ledge is one of the more popular hikes in Washington state for its accessibility from Seattle! You can access this trail by driving to the Paradise Area of Mount Rainier National Park.

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Hurricane Ridge is an area of the Olympic National Park that has tons of beautiful Washington hiking trails to choose from! Along the way, you can stop at several viewpoints, hang out at the Visitors Center and even bring a picnic to share at one of their many tucked-away recreational areas.

Sol Due Falls is one of the most popular Washington hiking trails in Olympic National Park. This trailhead is also the beginning or end of many more multi-day backpacking trips in the Olympic National Park.

If you’re into looking for the Puget Sound’s abundant marine life, these hiking trails in the San Juan Islands are for you! Make sure to stop by the visitors center to ask about the most recent whale and marine life sighting.

Many of these Washington trails in Lime Kiln Park are interconnected for a peaceful stroll at your own pace and direction. Of all the beautiful hikes in Eastern Washington, the Bowl and Pitcher State Park has the most popular and accessible trails.

Along the way, you’ll have a few river crossings, pass through a boulder field, old-growth forest, and eventually an incredibly scenic alpine lake at the top! Lake 22 can be found on the Mountain Loop Highway, which hosts several amazing and scenic Washington state hiking trails, including Mount Chuck Lookout, Mt Dicker man, and the hidden ghost town, Monte Crisco.

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Park at the Washington Pass Observation Site and take the network of trails to see beautiful views of Liberty Bell Mountain, the Highway 20 Road Bend, and stunning views of the mountains in the distance. This scenic loop hike in Washington state brings you to many perspectives of Liberty Bell and other North Cascade treasures.

The trail is on the shorter side, but the elevation gain definitely makes you work up a sweat! Pack plenty of water and snacks, and wear hiking shoes that you aren’t afraid to get muddy.

We like to think this hike as a great intro for beginners, hikers with small children, and people who just want a spectacular endpoint! You won’t be surprised to find photographers at the end too, capturing the majestic flow of the water.

The trailhead is easily accessible off of Interstate-90, which means you can get to this hiking trail from Seattle in less than an hour. After a river crossing on a large log, you’ll wind your way into the trees and eventually emerge to a small abandoned group of buildings.

Come take this Washington hiking trail if you love nature and history ! The Hall of Mosses Trail is located in the Olympic National Park, in the midst of Washington’s temperate rainforest.

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You can snowshoe up to the lookout in winter for some amazing views at the top, or you can wait until the summer and book an overnight stay! The elevation gain is pretty steep near the end but the trail itself is wide and easy to follow.

As time passes, the river bed cuts deeper and wider, forcing the tree to stretch its roots on either side of the crevasse. Park at the Keillor Campground Day Use Area, and then follow the set of stairs on the DAR end down to the beach.

Elinor (Olympic National Park) Idler Creek (Eastern Washington, hiking near Spokane) Washington hiking trails are some of the most beautiful and diverse excursions in the entire country.

From the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula to some dry, desert environments in the east, there are a plethora of options out there! Before setting out on your trail, consider these pointers to help you maximize your time and enjoyment outside on any hikes in Washington state.

Make sure to know the necessities like how long the hike is, whether is it an out-and-back trail or a loop, or how many feet of elevation gain you should expect.

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