hikes in Seattle
In Seattle, you don’t have to get out of the city to get outside. There are nearly 500 parks in the Seattle Parks and Recreation System, offering over 120.0mi of trails right within the city limits. Pair that with the miles upon miles of stunning coastline accessible in the city and you’ve got a metropolis fit for plenty of walking. If you do want to venture a little further, the hiking trails just outside of Seattle provide a different (but just as wonderful) experience, trailing through old-growth forests and leading you up mountains with stellar viewpoints over the city below. Hikers in and around Seattle are spoiled for choice.
Walks within the city often cater to all crowds, covering flatter terrain with lower difficulty levels. Don’t think these city walks are a snooze, though! With carefully manicured gardens and wild urban forests alike, you’ll feel far without actually leaving the city. Those venturing further out can bag summits and challenge their skill levels with ease of access guaranteed by few urban centers. Whether you’re casual or committed, the hikes in and around Seattle will deliver.
20 Amazing Hikes in and around Seattle
With so many parks and trails within reach, choosing a hike in Seattle can be daunting. No worries, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to some of our favorite walks and hikes in the Seattle area to help kickstart your adventures.
There is a trail for every hiker in Seattle. There are family-friendly trails, ADA-accessible trails, and more challenging hikes on offer, so you’ll be able to pick the right one no matter what you’re seeking. Frequent your top picks on nice mornings or make a list of hikes to try if you’re just visiting. Check out state icons like Snoqualmie Falls and the Deception Pass Bridge or try quirky adventures like the Maple Valley Gnome Trail. The options are nearly endless, so you better start hiking!
- Snoqualmie Falls Trail - The Snoqualmie Falls Trail takes you to see one of the most iconic waterfalls in Washington, a familiar sight for Twin Peaks fans. A visit to Snoqualmie is a worthwhile stop for any hiker in the area, and it’s one that allows you to discover the region’s ecosystem and Native American culture as you go.
- Deception Pass Bridge - Walking the Deception Pass Bridge and the nearby Beach Trail are a perfect way to spend an afternoon near Seattle. Kids love the bridge that spans over Deception Pass, and the history of the area can be appreciated at the monument on Pass Island.
- Discovery Park and Lighthouse Loop - The Discovery Park and Lighthouse Loop Trail is part of a designated National Recreation Trail that takes you through gorgeous forests and meadows. It’s a go-to for local runners and walkers, especially the portion of the trail that extends out to the beach where the West Point lighthouse is.
- Poo-Poo Point Trail - Poo-Poo Point is a frequently visited destination on the shoulder of West Tiger Mountain. The point has fabulous views of Mount Rainier and is easy enough for beginner hikers to get to. On a clear day, it’s the ideal overlook across the forest to Rainier.
- Seward Park Loop Trail - The Seward Park Loop Trail is a short and sweet route that loops around the perimeter of Seward Park on Bailey Peninsula. This simple route is frequented by walkers, runners, bikers, people with dogs, and families. It’s a quick escape from the city and it offers diverse flora and fauna despite its proximity to the city and humble size.
- Carkeek Park via Pipers Creek Trail - Carkeek Park via Pipers Creek Trail is a perfect way for hikers of all skill levels to get some fresh air. The forest offers a nice sense of tranquillity even on busier days. After you hike through the trees, you’ll be treated to views of Puget Sound.
- East Tiger Mountain Summit - The East Tiger Mountain summit is a popular pick with hikers and mountain bikers and one of two frequently trafficked trails in the Tiger Mountain area. This trail takes you to two viewpoints, the lower of which has a few picnic tables you can use.
- West Tiger Mountain Summit - West Tiger Mountain via West Tiger #3 the go-to hike in the Tiger Mountain area. It’s harder and steeper than East Tiger, but despite the challenges, it’s a very scenic and enjoyable trip. Travel a forested trail to a summit with even better views than the east side.
- Warren G. Magnuson Park Loop - Warren G. Magnuson Park is one of the most visited recreational areas in the Seattle area. The loop walk around the park is the ideal trail for those wanting to get acquainted with the park for the first time, and it’s easy enough for nearly anyone to enjoy.
- Washington Park Arboretum Trail - The Washington Park Arboretum is a wonderful park bursting with trees and flowers. It’s packed with magnolias, oaks, maples, and countless flowers. The highlight of the arboretum and one of the best parts of the trail is the stunning Azalea Way. There are also meadows, a Japanese Garden, greenhouses, and groves of trees to wander through.
- Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk - The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, formerly known as the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, is an important estuary that provides a haven to countless bird and animal species. Walkers on the boardwalk trail can make use of the viewing platforms to look for herons, harbor seals, salmon, otters, and more.
- Cranberry Lake - The Cranberry Lake hike in Cama Beach State Park takes you from the shoreline to the lake on a very straightforward route. It’s a hike suitable for all skill levels, and in the springtime, the trail is lined with beautiful wildflowers. This route is also a good choice for birdwatchers.
- Cherry Creek Falls Trail - Cherry Creek Falls Trail is an easy hike that shows off the Marckworth Forest. This trail is suitable for all skill levels and good for hikers with dogs. The trail leads you through the forest to two waterfalls tucked into the mossy trees. This trail is also a good choice for birdwatchers and runners.
- Burke-Gilman Trail - Burke-Gilman Trail is a multi-use pathway in Seattle popular with walkers, runners, and bikers. This long route can be done in whole or in part, but the entire 20.0mi are paved, making it stroller-friendly. This trail is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors in Seattle.
- Cougar Mountain Indian Trail - The Cougar Mountain Indian Trail is one of the most-used trails on Cougar Mountain. It’s an ideal trip for those wanting classic hiking scenery without the work that’s usually required to earn them. Very close to Renton and Issaquah and easily reachable from Seattle, the cute waterfalls on this trail make for a great half-day adventure.
- Cedar River Trail - The Cedar River Trail is a 18.0mi point-to-point pathway that connects Renton and Landsburg. This path is used for walking, biking, and running. You can either bike the whole path or walk/run a portion of it, both offering a nice opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and the riverside.
- Seahurst Park Loop Trail - The Seahurst Park Loop Trail is a beautiful easy hike south of Seattle. While this trail is short, there are others in the park that allow you to customize your trip. This loop begins and ends along the coast and travels into a deep green forest with converging creeks.
- Swan Creek Park Trail - Swan Creek Trail a heavily trafficked trail near Tacoma that passes through Swan Creek Park, a pretty park with a variety of trails. Enjoy community gardens and babbling streams on a route easy enough for young kids.
- Ebey’s Landing Trail - Ebey's Landing is a stellar loop trail on Whidbey Island that provides incredible views from atop a high bluff over Puget Sound. Gaze over the water, keep an eye out for wildlife and birds, or spend some time observing the nearby working farms. Ebey’s Landing is especially nice at sunset!
- Flaming Geyser State Park - Flaming Geyser State Park Loop is a good choice for families with small children and those wanting a quick outing. The park itself boasts geyers and interesting natural history, and this loop is a good way to stretch your legs before or after exploring it.
Scroll down to see the full list of hiking trails in and around Seattle.
When is the Best Time to Hike in Seattle?
Seattle experiences warm, mild summers and cool winters with lots of precipitation. While you should be prepared for rain any time of the year, visiting in the summer months of July and August tend to give the warmest, driest weather. Consider summer visits for beach and lake walks so you have the option of a refreshing dip afterwards.
While the summer months offer the best weather, they do also bring the heaviest crowds. If you’re okay with occasionally cooler or wetter conditions, visiting in June or mid-September can give you more privacy on the trails while still offering suitable hiking weather.
Visitors in the winter can generally still enjoy all of the city parks and most of the trails near the city since the Seattle area receives relatively infrequent snow. You’ll want to be dressed for rain, though!
Other Outdoor Activities in and Around Seattle
Hiking and walking are some of the top ways to explore the Seattle area, but they’re definitely not the only way to spend your time here. Adventurers on two wheels can take advantage of the many biker-friendly paths in and around the city, both for road bikes and mountain bikes.
Campers can find sites not far from the city, and skiers and snowboarders can enjoy nearby Stevens Pass, Crystal Mountain, Mount Baker, or Summit at Snoqualmie.
How to Plan a Trip to Seattle
A trip to Seattle is a worthwhile adventure, but you’ll want to put enough time and energy into planning to make sure your trip runs smoothly. Most of the trails in the vicinity of the city are permitless, but you’ll want to double-check your itinerary to see if a Discover Pass is needed for any out of city hikes. If you plan on camping, make sure you plan out your campsites beforehand and check which ones are walk-up and which require advance booking.
We recommend booking your hotels early, especially in the summertime, since Seattle sees plenty of tourists and certain accommodations will book out in advance.
Seattle Adventure Tours
Not so excited about hashing out the details of your itinerary? Letting the pros plan your adventure near Seattle takes the stress out of your trip, letting you focus on your experiences. Check out some incredible adventure tours in the Pacific Northwest.
Frequently Asked Questions About Seattle
Is Seattle safe?
Seattle is one of the safest of the larger cities in the United States. It does not experience a high level of violent or petty crime. That being said, exercise the same caution you would while visiting any other large city.
Is Seattle expensive?
Unfortunately, Seattle is an expensive city in many ways. The cost of living here is, on average, about 50% higher than the national average. Expect food, transportation, and accommodations to be a bit more costly than what you’d find in most other cities in the United States.
Is it cold in Seattle?
The temperature in Seattle typically varies from around 37°F to a pleasant 79°F. While you normally won’t experience extreme cold or extreme heat here, you should prepare for plenty of precipitation.
What do I need to see in Seattle?
First-time visitors to the city often visit Pike Place Market, the various movie and TV shooting locations around the city, the Gum Wall, the Space Needle, the aquarium, the Fremont Troll, the original Starbucks, and the plethora of excellent restaurants.
What can I do outdoors in Seattle?
The Emerald City has a thriving outdoors culture centered around hiking, kayaking, climbing and boulders, and cycling. You’ll fit right in if you’re seeking out any of these activities.
Do you need a car in Seattle?
We recommend either driving your own car, renting a car, or booking a tour that includes transportation. There are some public transportation options in the city but they are largely focused on the city itself and only select trailheads are accessible by bus.
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The best hikes in Seattle
Yes, there are more than 10
Seattle is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in Seattle that you should take a look at as well
The Sword Fern, Shell Creek, and Yost to Pine Ridge Loop is a very short… Read More
This section of the North Creek Trail goes from the University of WA Bothell to… Read More
This section of the North Creek Trail goes from McCollum Pioneer Park down North Creek… Read More
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