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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 121 to 140 of 669
      Open details for Myrtle Falls Hike

      Myrtle Falls Hike

      Very Easy
      1.3 km
      46 m
      0.5h

      The Myrtle Falls hike is a short, easy trail in Mount Rainier National Park that is perfect for families. This 1.3 km outing leads you to a gorgeous cascading waterfall nestled underneath the mountains. During the summer months, the trail is lined by wildflowers and verdant forest, making this short journey a memorable one.

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      Open details for Little Si Trail

      Little Si Trail

      Moderate
      5.8 km
      349 m
      2-3h

      The Little Si Trail is a 5.8 km out and back trail that sees heavy traffic and is rated as moderate. Little Si provides access to the longer, more difficult Mount Si trail, so it sees both newer and more experienced hikers. The two peaks together are sometimes called “Resolution Peaks” due to the number of hikers that come after January 1st, but this is a wonderful hike no matter the time of year or end goal. Little Si has the unique advantage of being mostly sheltered from inclement conditions, so it is usually hikeable all year long.

      While the trail begins and ends with steeper sections, they are relatively short-lived and the remainder of the hike is moderate, making this trail suitable for many levels.

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      Open details for Olympic Hot Springs Trail

      Olympic Hot Springs Trail

      Moderate
      34.1 km
      965 m
      8.5-12h

      The Olympic Hot Springs Trail is 34.1 km long, but don’t write it off for a day trip. This popular trail is often travelled by a combination of biking and hiking, and the hot springs are a fantastic way to unwind however you reach them. This is also a popular backpacking route with two campgrounds on the way. With lush forest surrounding a wide, easy-to-navigate road, this trail presents no issues when it comes to routefinding or technicality.

      Many hikers bring bikes and only hike the last 4.8 km or so. If you choose to do so, remember to bring a lock for your bike.

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      Open details for Cedar River Trail

      Cedar River Trail

      Very Easy
      29.0 km
      248 m
      6-8h

      The Cedar River Trail is a 29.0 km point-to-point pathway that stretches between 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 wonderful chance to enjoy the fresh air and the riverside. This trail is mostly flat, making it a suitable choice for all skill levels. It doesn’t see too much traffic and it’s very easy to follow.

      This trail is paved, making it suitable for strollers and wheelchairs.

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      Open details for Boulder Cave Trail

      Boulder Cave Trail

      Very Easy
      1.9 km
      53 m
      0.5h

      Boulder Cave Trail is a 1.9 km easy hike that takes you through a cave usually inhabited by bats. This hike is easy and family-friendly with very little elevation gain to consider and a short and sweet length. Expect heavy traffic. This trail can be subject to closure to maintain the condition of the cave and prevent human-bat interactions, so check its status before coming.

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      Open details for Coldwater Lake via Lakes Trail

      Coldwater Lake via Lakes Trail

      Moderate
      14.2 km
      237 m
      3-4.5h

      The Lakes Trail is a popular pick for backpackers destined for the Mount Margaret Backcountry, but the out and back hike along the upper shore of Coldwater Lake is an ideal day hike for those exploring the region. This hike is 141.6 km long, but it can be shortened if you want an easier, faster adventure. Pack a picnic or grab the paddleboards if you want to continue the fun after your hike.

      This trail is subject to overgrowth and occasionally is blocked by blowdown. We recommend long pants and a spirit of adventure.

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      Open details for Camp Muir Hike

      Camp Muir Hike

      Very Hard
      13.5 km
      1,404 m
      6-9h

      The hike to Camp Muir is a challenging, intense 12.9 km trek that should only be attempted by experienced adventurers. This hike is the highest you can get in Mount Rainier National Park without a climbing permit, offering up-close views of hanging glaciers, seracs, crevasses, and peaks that few hikers in the park ever find. The stone camp halfway up Mount Rainier has stood for nearly a century. It was named for naturalist John Muir, who mistakenly believed that the spot the camp sits on would provide shelter from the wind. Despite the wind that still heavily blows through the camp, the site still honors his legacy as one of the most influential individuals in the founding of this park.

      This route is strenuous, technical, snowy, and demanding both physically and mentally. The high elevation of the camp (over 3,048 m) makes it a particular challenge for hikers not used to altitude. While this is the adventure of a lifetime for some, we recommend waiting until you have a foundational knowledge of mountaineering to attempt this trail.

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      Open details for Goat Lake Trail

      Goat Lake Trail

      Moderate
      16.9 km
      525 m
      4.5-6h

      Goat Lake Trail is a 16.9 km heavily trafficked out and back trail that is rated as moderate. This trail may be longer, but it’s mostly flat or very gently inclined, making it a great choice for a low-resistance nature walk. This hike is popular with both day hikers and backpackers, who enjoy the camping areas near the lake. With tons of variety (lake, mountains, forest, river, waterfalls) to enjoy, you’ll be spellbound the entire way.

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      Open details for Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail

      Devil’s Punchbowl via Spruce Railroad Trail

      Very Easy
      3.9 km
      44 m
      1h

      The hike on Spruce Railroad Trail to the Devil’s Punchbowl is a wonderful trip, and at under 4.0 km with only minimal elevation gain, it’s family-friendly. This hike follows part of the expansive Olympic Discovery Trail, a bike and hike route across the northern Olympic Peninsula. While this guide covers a short portion of the route, you can hike up to 10 miles on this part of the Olympic Discovery Trail, skirting around the shores of Lake Crescent. Devil’s Punchbowl is a gorgeous pool tucked next to a bridge on this trail.

      This hike is pleasant year-round, but it’s our favorite in the summertime when Lake Crescent is illuminated by the sunlight.

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      Open details for Seahurst Park Loop Trail

      Seahurst Park Loop Trail

      Easy
      2.9 km
      107 m
      1h

      The Seahurst Park Loop Trail is a gorgeous easy hike south of Seattle that is suitable for all skill levels. This trail is less than 3.0 km long but the other trails in the park allow you to lengthen or shorten your trip according to your wants. This loop begins and ends along the coast and travels into an incredibly green forest with converging creeks.

      This trail is accessible year-round and sees moderate traffic. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on a leash. As the network of trails in the park could be confusing to some, we recommend downloading your route ahead of time.

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      Open details for Minotaur Lake Trail

      Minotaur Lake Trail

      Hard
      4.8 km
      542 m
      2.5-3.5h

      Minotaur Lake Trail is a 4.8 km moderately trafficked hike that is challenging. This trail isn’t very long but it packs in the elevation gain, earning its difficulty rating. The first mile or so will get you sweating! Enjoy a peaceful lake and golden autumn larches once you’ve reached the top. Poles are a must for this one.

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      Open details for Packwood Lake Trail

      Packwood Lake Trail

      Moderate
      19.2 km
      562 m
      5-7h

      Packwood Lake’s glassy reflection is one we could stare into for an entire afternoon. With an island of trees adorning the mountain-reflecting lake surface, it’s a great place to kick back after a hike. This trail is also a top pick early in the season. Packwood Lake tends to thaw sooner than other lakes at the same elevation.

      This hike is moderately difficult at 19.3 km long with 562 m of elevation gain. There are camping and fishing spots along the lake and the forest you’ll hike through is beautiful. It’s all you need for a perfect day out in the PNW!

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      Open details for Panorama Point Hike

      Panorama Point Hike

      Moderate
      6.6 km
      385 m
      2-3h

      The hike from Paradise Inn to Panorama Point is a popular choice in Mount Rainier National Park, and this moderately challenging hike is a favourite year-round for hikers and snowshoers alike. With a great view of Rainier and plenty of wildflowers lining the trail in the summertime, Panorama Points ends up on the to-do list of many hikers visiting Washington. If you only have a few hours to spare but you want to enjoy classic Rainier views without any technical challenge, this hike is the one.

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      Open details for Iron Goat Trail

      Iron Goat Trail

      Moderate
      9.5 km
      304 m
      2.5-3.5h

      The Iron Goat Trail is a 9.5 km heavily trafficked out and back trail that is rated as moderate. This trail doesn’t offer the panoramic views typical of the area, but it has its own special charm. It’s a history-rich walk along the old Great Northern Railway built over the Cascades in 1893. The hike leads up one of the switchbacks that once helped trains up the Cascades. Active children who like trains will love this one!

      The first section of this trail, about three miles’ worth, is ADA-accessible.

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      Open details for Shi Shi Beach Trail

      Shi Shi Beach Trail

      Moderate
      14.2 km
      171 m
      3-4h

      Shi Shi is one of the world’s premier wilderness beaches. This moderate hike follows a trail through the rainforest down to the beach itself. The beach is breathtaking, with sweeping views to Point of Arches and to the mountains of Vancouver Island. This is a top-notch hike in Washington, but visiting outside of peak hours could still earn you some peace and quiet. The trail is muddy year-round, so tall boots are a must.

      There is camping available near the beach. The trail and beach are on the Makah Indian Reservation and thus are subject to closure at the discretion of the community. Please check with the Makah on the current status.

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      Open details for Swan Creek Park Trail

      Swan Creek Park Trail

      Easy
      8.5 km
      133 m
      2-2.5h

      Swan Creek Trail is an 8.5 km heavily trafficked lollipop hike near Tacoma. This trail cuts through Swan Creek Park, a gorgeous park with lots of trails. The park also boasts community gardens and babbling streams, making it a lovely stop. This trail is easy enough for all skill levels and dogs are allowed on leash. Since the park does receive plenty of visitors, we recommend visiting during the week or early in the morning if you’re hoping for a quieter trail.

      You can do this fairly quick out and back walk as is or use the other trails in the park to extend your adventure.

      Some of the trail footing is paved and some is soft dirt, and there are bridge crossings that may require you to lift a stroller a modest height.

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      Open details for Icicle Gorge Trail

      Icicle Gorge Trail

      Easy
      7.2 km
      118 m
      1.5-2h

      Icicle Gorge Trail is a quick, easy loop suitable for the whole family. This 7.2 km hike passes over unique bridges and through a vibrant forest. It’s great in wildflower season but also shines when the autumn colors appear. Expect heavy traffic on this trail, so consider a midweek or early morning visit.

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      Open details for Hamilton Mountain Trail

      Hamilton Mountain Trail

      Moderate
      10.3 km
      628 m
      3.5-5h

      The hike to Hamilton Mountain is a gorgeous trip that captures the best of the Columbia Gorge. Admire snow-capped peaks, changing foliage through the seasons, the river down below, and multiple waterfalls, including Rodney Falls. This is a hard hike, but it’s worth the extra bit of work for beginners. This out and back approach is shorter than the Hamilton Falls and Rodney Falls loop, but it’s a bit harder on the knees.

      While the trail is generally very well-maintained, poles might be helpful for the elevation gain, especially on the way down. Expect heavy traffic on this hike.

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      Open details for Spray Park Trail to Mount Pleasant

      Spray Park Trail to Mount Pleasant

      Moderate
      11.1 km
      670 m
      4-5.5h

      Spray Park is the perfect starting point for a trek to Mount Pleasant, and this moderate out and back trail in Mount Rainier National Park is a great way to experience the classic beauty of Rainier—wildflowers, waterfalls, mountain peak—without the same level of traffic you’d find on similar trails in the park. With a bit of a challenge on switchbacks making you feel like you earned your views. A pit-stop at Spray Falls on the way to Mount Pleasant makes for a perfectly charming day out.

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      Open details for Heybrook Lookout Trail

      Heybrook Lookout Trail

      Easy
      4.2 km
      278 m
      1.5-2h

      The Heybrook Lookout Trail is a 4.2 km heavily trafficked out and back trail in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest that is rated as easy-moderate. This hike is short, and while a bit of climbing is required (literally), it’s a great ratio of effort to reward. The Heybrook Lookout is a metal structure outfitted with steps that gives you a fantastic view over the surrounding mountains. For this reason, it’s a top choice for locals with visiting friends and family, beginner hikers, or those somewhat short on time.

      Dogs are allowed on leash on this trail but may have some difficulty getting up the lookout depending on their size.

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