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    Best hikes in Washington

    Washington State Hikes

    State in United States

    Ever thought about hiking in Washington State? Now is the time to go! This gorgeous corner of the United States is one of the best places in the world for hiking, offering tremendous diversity and thrilling trails. From the green temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula, to the soaring peaks of the Cascades National Park, there’s something here for all adventure travelers.

    Hiking in Washington State is a real treat for keen trekkers. The Cascades National Park makes a stunning backdrop for some of the most thrilling hikes and ridge walks in the country, where you’ll find yourself looking over a panorama of craggy peaks, wildflower meadows and emerald lakes. The old growth forests around Mount Baker are a wonderful place for a ramble, with trails that look over glacier-covered mountains and daringly high passes. Finally, the Olympic Peninsula offers something completely different – bracing coastal walks, unusual wildlife, and moss-covered gorges, deep in the heart of ancient forests.

    What are you waiting for? Start planning your hiking trip to Washington State today. We’ve put together all the information that you’ll need, from trail recommendations for all hiking levels, to weather and travel advice. Now is the time to enjoy everything this wonderful state has to offer.

    Types Of Hiking In Washington State

    Washington State is known for the diversity of its landscapes, meaning that there’s a trail here to suit everyone. In the west, the Olympic National Park occupies a large peninsula with some incredible scenery, ranging from coastal trails to lush, temperate rainforest. Kids will love the easy, low level trails here, winding through magical ancient forests covered in a vibrant coat of moss. You’ll also find some easy, accessible hikes in the North Cascades National Park, where woodland and wildflower trails are perfectly offset by the surrounding vista of tall, craggy peaks.

    If you’re an adventure hiker looking for a challenge, there’s plenty in Washington State to keep you occupied. Some of the toughest trails can be found near Mount Baker and in the North Cascades National park, where the climbs are steep and the route are long. However, the reward for your exertions is pretty phenomenal – you’ll be right in the heart of some of Washington State’s greatest wildernesses, with mind-blowing views, colorful trails, and some of the region’s most fascinating wildlife.

    Easy Hikes In Washington State

    Hole in the Wall Hike: This magnificent trek is one of our favorite easy hikes in Washington State. The trail takes you from the edge of the Pacific Ocean to a collection of impressive boulders and rock formations further along the coast. As you walk along the beach you’ll feel the crashing power of the ocean to your left, before you finally reach a steep ridge that offers beautiful views over the coastline.

    Washington Pass Overlook Hike: If you’re in the North Cascades National Park, don’t miss this enjoyable easy hike. At just under half a kilometer, it’s a great place to stretch your legs on the drive between eastern and western Washington State. It may be a short route, but you’ll get a fantastic view of Liberty Bell Mountain and Silver Star Mountain.

    Family Hikes In Washington State

    Blue Lake Hike: If you’re looking for a family-friendly trail in the North Cascades National Park, this hike to Blue Lake is an excellent option. Surrounded by the dramatic Liberty Bell Mountain spires, Blue Lake is simply gorgeous, and at its best when the leaves start to turn in autumn. This trail, which snakes through woodland, and wildflower fields past a rocky lakeside, is perfect for children, with plenty of opportunities for wildlife-spotting along the way.

    Marymere Falls Hike: Bring your family to the beautiful Marymere Falls and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a magical world! The trail winds its way through shady temperate rainforest and up a steep track to the falls. The beautiful old growth forest has a character all of its own, and kids will love the mossy ravine, dressed in bright green ferns.

    Day Hikes In Washington State

    High Divide Loop Hike: This challenging route in the Olympic National Park is one of the best day hikes in Washington State. The trail passes along a beautiful ridge above the tree line, offering incredible views over Mount Olympus. Take the route clockwise for the most impressive vista, and look out for a glimpse of the enormous Blue Glacier. This day trek is a long hike, but it’s a rewarding challenge for those looking for something extra special in the Olympic National Park.

    Cutthroat Pass Hike: This route along the Pacific Crest Trail is one of the best day hikes in Washington State, and a must for all keen hikers! The path to the top rises moderately through a dense forest, crossing over Porcupine Creek, and rising to a series of switchbacks that will take you to the top of the pass. The views from the top are stunning, with a 360 degree vista over the peaks of North Cascades National Park.

    Challenging Hikes In Washington State

    Ptarmigan Ridge Hike: Want to get away from it all? This hike along Ptarmigan Ridge is the best place to come if you’re looking for solitude and a challenging hike. You’ll cross permanent snowfields, wander through flower-filled meadows and scramble over boulders, all that while enjoying the fabulous Mount Baker. Look out for mountain goats and marmots, and enjoy the majestic beauty of this remarkable landscape.

    Hannegan Pass and Peak Hike: This hike up Hannegan Pass and Hannegan Peak is a steep climb, but it’s well worth the effort! The trail winds in and out of lush forests, across wide, open meadows, and over gurgling mountain streams. The views all the way along the route are simply magnificent, dominated by the snow-capped Ruth Mountain. The 360-degree panorama over Cascade Mountain at the top will certainly make you forget your aching legs!

    Best Hikes In Washington State

    Chain Lakes Loop: This classic circular hike is a wonderful summer trek, and an excellent way to experience the region around Mount Baker. The route begins at the Heather Meadows Visitor Center, and climbs from Artist Point up to the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail. You’ll experience fabulous mountain and lake views, and enjoy the wildflower fields and berry-lined trails to their full advantage.

    Yellow Aster Butte Trail: This challenging ascent is one of the best hikes in Washington State, and one of our favorites in the region around Mount Baker. You’ll pass dense woodland, lively mountain streams, and peaceful tarns, before finally summiting Yellow Aster Butte. This scenic peak offers some of the most spectacular views in the region, and is at its best in autumn, when the turning leaves light up the forest in a blaze of crimson and orange.

    Royal Basin Hike: For a challenging hike where you can escape the crowds, head to the Olympic National Forest, where this wonderful trail begins. The climb is a little difficult as you ascend a steep trail alongside Royal Creek, but the rewards at the top are simply fabulous. Enjoy the views over Greywolf Mountain and the serene waters of the gorgeous Royal Lake.

    Ladder Creek Falls Hike: Looking for a family-friendly hike with plenty of entertainment for younger kids? This short trek to Ladder Creek Falls could be the solution! The trail crosses the river and passes through a rich forest, before emerging at the falls just in time for the evening light show. This innovative performance is a great way to experience the falls themselves, and kids are sure to love it.

    Table Mountain Hike: A trip to Washington State wouldn’t be complete without a Table Mountain hike, and this trail offers some of the best views you’ll find over Mount Baker. You’ll need a head for heights, as this trail is somewhat exposed, but the rewards are incomparable. You’ll get a 360-degree panorama over Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker, and a vista that will take your breath away.

    Lake Ann Hike: This moderate hike is an excellent way to experience the best of the Mount Baker region without too much exertion. The trail runs alongside Swift Creek, before ascending the slopes above the treeline. The summit near Lake Ann is a fabulous place for a picnic, and you’ll be able to enjoy views of Mount Shuksan and its thunderous waterfalls.

    Klahhane Ridge Hike: Looking for a spectacular ridge hike that won’t require too much energy? Try this route over Klahhane Ridge, one of the best hikes in Washington State. The trail begins at the high viewpoint of Hurricane Ridge, meaning that you won’t need to climb up a steep hill to experience fantastic views over the Olympic National Park. Once you’ve summited the pass near Mount Angeles you’ll have an even more impressive vista, taking in Mount Olympus, Mount Angeles and Second Top.

    Maple Pass Loop Hike: This hike is one of the finest in the North Cascades National Park, and a must for all adventure travelers! Make sure you arrive in the right season, and the trail is only accessible during the summer months. However, if you time it right, you’ll experience some stunning views and a deeply satisfying, varied hike. You’ll find ridges littered with wild flowers and a beautiful alpine lake – what more could you ask for?

    Hoh River Trail Hike: This beautiful trail passes through the dense, temperate rainforest that Washington State is famous for. This magical, otherworldly landscape will transport you to a time of myth and legend, as you pass through old growth forest coated with fragrant moss. The River Hoh acts as your guide on this trail, and you’ll follow the path of the water until you come to the Five Mile Island campground, where you’ll have the chance to spot herds of deer and elk.

    Easy Pass Hike: Come to the North Cascades National Park in autumn, when the larches shine in ablaze of yellow glory at the turning of the leaves. You’ll find stunning fall colors, set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Don’t let the name lull you into a false sense of security – this hike is somewhat challenging! However, the rewards are simply breathtaking.

    When Is The Best Time To Hike In Washington State?

    It’s possible to go hiking year-round in Washington State, and this beautiful region has hikes for every type of weather. Spring is a wonderful time to visit, as the forests and meadows will be covered in a carpet of wild flowers and the extra light opens up the possibility of doing slightly longer trails. High-altitude treks will still be covered in snow, but snowshoeing is still a possibility.

    The peak hiking season comes in summer, although over the highest trails it’s confined to July and August. At this time the weather is usually warm and sunny, although the trails may be crowded. For quieter routes, plan your visit in late spring and early autumn.

    Perhaps the most spectacular time to hike in Washington State is September and early October, when the forests erupt in a blaze of autumn colors. However, over the higher peaks, early snows can limit hiking opportunities, so watch out for weather updates and take advice from local guides. Although some low-level trails remain open in winter, the roads through the national parks are typically blocked by snow. This is a fantastic time to get your snowshoes and skis out to enjoy the slopes!

    Best Regions For Hiking in Washington State

    One of the best regions for hiking in Washington State is undoubtedly the North Cascades National Park, a beautiful region boasting dense forests, jagged peaks, and stunning alpine lakes. Close by, the Mount Baker region is another hiking gem. Although it’s best known as a top skiing destination, Mount Baker has some incredible summer hiking trails, offering the possibility of getting up close to the iconic Mount Shuksan. The trails here are typically covered in wildflowers and berries, making this one of our favorite places to hike in the region. Further west, the Olympic National Park offers wonderful hiking trails in a unique, epic landscape. Here, you’ll find coastal trails, atmospheric tide pools and dense temperate rainforest, in addition to mountain and ridge hikes.

    Other Outdoor Activities in Washington State

    Although we love hiking in the North Cascades National Park and the area around Mount Baker, there are many other outdoor activities in Washington State! The national parks of this beautiful region offer many possibilities for backpacking and through hikes, and this could be the ideal spot to try your first long-distance trek. If you’re an avid climber, Washington State is something of a paradise, with more than 100 mountains and climbing routes to suit all levels of expertise. In the coastal areas you’ll also find windsurfing, paddle-boarding and other watersports, and when the snows hit, you can get our your snowshoes and cross-country skis for some serious winter adventures.

    How To Plan A Trip To Washington State

    If these suggestions have got you reaching for your hiking boots, start planning your trip to Washington State today! We’ve got everything you’ll need to get started – our Mount Baker guide is perfect for advice on hiking routes and our Olympic National Park guide has everything you’ll need to plan your trip. Don’t miss our expert tips on planning your visit to the North Cascades National Park. Whatever your question, we’ve got it covered!

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    Hiking regions in Washington State

    Best Hikes in Washington State

    Showing 181 to 200 of 669
      Open details for Skyscraper Pass and Burroughs Mountain via Wonderland Trail

      Skyscraper Pass and Burroughs Mountain via Wonderland Trail

      13.2 km
      611 m

      Skyscraper Pass and Burroughs Mountain via Wonderland Trail is a 13.2 km moderately trafficked route in Mount Rainier National Park that is rated as hard. This trail delivers in terms of views, but part of the difficulty rating comes from a section of poorly defined trail that requires some bushwhacking. If you’re prepared to take it on, you’ll have the mountain to yourself!

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      Open details for Eastside Trail to Deer Creek Camp

      Eastside Trail to Deer Creek Camp

      14.2 km
      835 m

      The Eastside Trail is a 14.2 km lightly trafficked trail in Mount Rainier National Park that provides access to Deer Creek Camp and is rated as moderate. This trail is a nice nature walk on its own, but this particular arm is most often used to reach Deer Creek Camp for backpacking trips. The trail meanders along Chinook Creek underneath two peaks, making for a peaceful trip.

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      Open details for Camp Summerland via Wonderland Trail

      Camp Summerland via Wonderland Trail

      13.5 km
      648 m

      The hike to Camp Summerland on the Wonderland Trail is a 13.5 km moderately trafficked out and back trail in Mount Rainier National Park that is rated as hard. This trail does have steep and tiring sections, but the beautiful views of the Cowlitz Chimneys, Tamanos Mountain, Goat Island Mountain, and Meany Crest make it very worth it. Bring lots of water and bug spray on this trail.

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      Open details for Narada Falls to Mazama Ridge Loop

      Narada Falls to Mazama Ridge Loop

      11.9 km
      634 m

      The Narada Falls to Mazama Ridge loop is an 11.9 km moderately trafficked route in Mount Rainier National Park that offers waterfall and mountain views. This trail is an enjoyable use of the interconnecting web of trails in the Paradise area of the park and can be shortened or lengthened if you’d like to customize your trip.

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      Open details for Paul Peak Trail

      Paul Peak Trail

      10.1 km
      417 m

      The Paul Peak Trail is a 10.1 km lightly trafficked out and back trail in Mount Rainier National Park that is rated as moderate. This trail is mostly through the shaded forest and leads to a river that’s wonderful to cool down in. While there aren’t many mountain views on this one, it’s perfect for hot days or trail running.

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      Open details for Sourdough Mountain Camp via Sourdough Lookout Trail

      Sourdough Mountain Camp via Sourdough Lookout Trail

      20.1 km
      1,302 m

      Sourdough Mountain Camp via Sourdough Lookout Trail is a hard trail in North Cascades National Park. Sourdough Camp is used as both a day trip destination and a backpacking stop. This trail is considered to be hard both for the steepness and for the trail becoming rugged in certain parts.

      Look for beautiful wildflowers in the spring.

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      Open details for Stetattle Trail

      Stetattle Trail

      10.6 km
      480 m

      Stetattle Trail is a mouthful, but it’s also a beautiful moderate hike. This trail is straightforward (literally) and quite scenic. There is a scramble section over some washout that is fun for adventurous kids to climb and not too challenging for most adventurers.

      The trailhead for this hike is hard to find, so we recommend following the GPS track closely as you track it down.

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      Open details for Old Wagon Trail

      Old Wagon Trail

      14.8 km
      558 m

      The Old Wagon Trail is a moderate trail that runs the Pacific Crest Trail. A hike on Old Wagon takes you through a gorgeous forest complete with old-growth cedars and plenty of huckleberries. With over 550 m of elevation gain, it’s enough of a challenge without being too difficult.

      The trailhead for this hike is only accessible by foot.

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      Open details for Howard Lake via PCT

      Howard Lake via PCT

      4.7 km
      199 m

      Howard Lake via PCT is a pretty hike through the woods. It’s consistently uphill for its short ascent, but you’ll get to relax at Howard Lake after this moderate effort. Beginners and small children might find the steady ascent on this hike to be quite tiring, but it doesn’t last too long.

      This trail sees lots of horse traffic, which can make the footing uneven.

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      Open details for Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail

      Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail

      Very Easy
      1.4 km
      34 m

      The Quinault Rainforest Nature Trail is a very quick little interpretive loop that showcases the temperate rainforest that dominated the Pacific Northwest. This half-mile loop sees lots of visitors, but it also sees lots of rain. Bring your rain gear and have a nice splash in the puddles with the kids if you’re having a family outing—or just take a splash by yourself!

      Just a few steps northeast of the loop is a campground.

      This trail is easy to follow and well-kept. The footing is still natural rather than paved, so strollers may have a difficult time.

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      Open details for Stiletto Lake via Twisp Pass Trail

      Stiletto Lake via Twisp Pass Trail

      Very Hard
      28.3 km
      1,247 m

      Stiletto Lake via Twisp Pass Trail is a long, difficult hike that feels quite remote. If you’re seeking a real adventure, this 28.3 km lightly trafficked hike could be the one. The trail is rugged and not well-maintained, and you’ll need to keep an eye on your GPS as you go. If you make it to Stiletto Lake, you could enjoy having the whole place to yourself.

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      Open details for Lake Crescent via Spruce Railroad Trail

      Lake Crescent via Spruce Railroad Trail

      18.0 km
      125 m

      The hike on Spruce Railroad Trail alongside Lake Crescent is a wonderful trip that’s perfect for families with its opportunities to swim and explore old railway tunnels. This hike follows part of the expansive Olympic Discovery Trail, a bike and hike route across the northern Olympic Peninsula. You’ll pass a great campsite, the gorgeous Devil’s Punchbowl, and an old railway tunnel before turning around at Ovington.

      This hike is pleasant year-round, but it’s our favorite in the summertime when you can stop into the punchbowl for a swim.

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      Open details for Cape Alava Trail

      Cape Alava Trail

      11.1 km
      177 m

      Cape Alava Trail is a wonderful hike with two distinct sections: a rainforest hike and a classic PNW beach walk. This hike is just over 9.7 km in length and moderate, but it’s more suitable for young kids and total beginners if you just do the forest section.

      Note that this hike is on the Ozette Indian Reservation. The trail is subject to closure at the discretion of the Ozette community, so please check on its status before planning your trip.

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      Open details for Staircase Rapids Loop

      Staircase Rapids Loop

      Very Easy
      3.4 km
      65 m

      Staircase Rapids is an easy 3.4 km hike that involves little elevation gain, making it suitable for beginners and families. This hike is a beautiful walk in the woods following the river, making for an incredibly peaceful time. If it’s a hot day, the river is great to cool off in.

      You can hike this loop either way and the experience is not particularly different either way.

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      Open details for McGregor Mountain Trail

      McGregor Mountain Trail

      Very Hard
      17.2 km
      1,379 m

      McGregor Mountain is a physically demanding trail with over 1,300 m of elevation gain in North Cascades National Park. This trail is very difficult and only recommended for experienced, confident hikers. You likely won’t be able to reach the true summit without specialized equipment, but well-prepared day hikers can get quite close.

      Come with lots of water, poles, and a GPS route.

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      Open details for Spruce Nature Trail and Hall of Mosses Loop

      Spruce Nature Trail and Hall of Mosses Loop

      Very Easy
      4.7 km
      32 m

      The Spruce Nature Trail and Hall of Mosses Loop is a heavily trafficked loop trail in Olympic National Park that is suitable for beginners. This hike is popular for its abundance of coastal temperate rainforest flora and fauna, including the verdant Hall of Mosses.

      The line to get into this part of the park can get long, so try to arrive before 10 AM.

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      Open details for Upper Lena Lake Trail

      Upper Lena Lake Trail

      20.6 km
      1,405 m

      Upper Lena Lake is a hard moderately trafficked route in Olympic National Park. This route takes you to a beautiful lake tucked into the forest—the perfect place for lunch or an afternoon with friends and family. From there, you’ll continue up a rugged, steep path to Upper Lena Lake. The first half is easy and the second half will get you working.

      This can be a very wet trail despite best efforts by trail crews to divert water flow, so be prepared when it comes to your footwear.

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      Open details for Murhut Falls Trail

      Murhut Falls Trail

      2.3 km
      120 m

      Murhut Falls Trail is an easy hike in Olympic National Park that is ideal for families. You’ll hike on a well-maintained trail with mild elevation gain to a waterfall in a mossy forest. The road to the trailhead is in sketchy condition, so take a capable vehicle if you have one. There are some slippery sections where keeping an eye on young kids is recommended.

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      Open details for Ruby Mountain Summit via Fourth of July Pass and Thunder Creek

      Ruby Mountain Summit via Fourth of July Pass and Thunder Creek

      Very Hard
      29.9 km
      1,971 m

      Ruby Mountain Summit via Fourth of July Pass and Thunder Creek is a hard hike used by both day hikers and backpackers. It’s lightly trafficked and almost 30.0 km in length. Hikers seeking a major challenge push themselves to complete this hike in a day, and it can be done. Most other adventurers choose to spend a couple of days heading to the summit of Ruby Mountain and back.

      Come prepared to do this in a day, bringing plenty of water, food, poles, and good boots.

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      Open details for Wynoochee Lakeshore Trail

      Wynoochee Lakeshore Trail

      Very Easy
      24.0 km
      480 m

      Wynoochee Lakeshore Trail takes you around all of Wynoochee Lake in 24.0 km on a moderate trail. You can do the full loop, which can sometimes be overgrown and hard to follow. The good news is that you can do a section of this hike as an out and back to keep it more simple if you prefer. Enjoy mature hemlock forest carpeted with moss. This trail is entirely within the national forest, so dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash.

      There will likely be boaters and jet skiers enjoying the lake, and you can jump in for a swim, too.

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