Post Summary: Beautiful hikes in Washington state and where to find them.
Have you ever thought about breaking a world record?
It takes a lot of guts, passion, and determination to be the first at something amazing!
Lately, we’ve been following Colin O’Brady’s quest to climb the United States’ 50 highest peaks in a world-record breaking 21 days. He just finished on July 19th, 2018, and currently holds 3 world records!
Berty and I were so inspired by his drive to get outside and push himself to the limits, so in turn, we were motivated to get outside and hike around our own state!
In the spirit of adventure, health, and fun, we wanted to share some of our favorite hikes in Washington state – our home!
For this post, we’ve partnered with Standard Process to encourage people on their journey to optimal health!
Whether you’re getting active to improve your health, connect with nature or reach a personal goal, both us and Standard Process are here with health tips and outdoor advice to get you prepped for your next adventure!
Keep reading for some of our favorite hikes in Washington!
20+ Incredibly Beautiful Hikes In Washington State Worth The Sweat
This post is in collaboration with Standard Process, and their support in sponsoring Colin O’Brady’s 50 peaks challenge! All opinions, writing, and photos are our own!
1. Cape Flattery
The most northwestern point of the contiguous United States, Cape Flattery is not a hike to be missed. This 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.
Difficulty: Easy. Though the boardwalks may be slippery in poor/rainy weather (which is very likely!).
Read + See More Photos: More Photos From The Magical Cape Flattery
2. Mount Storm King
This hike isn’t for the faint of heart.
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.
Come on a clear, sunny day (bad weather could make the trail dangerous or impassable) and only go as far as you’re comfortable!
Enough with the cautions – the Mount Storm King trail is BREATHTAKING! It’s one of the most amazing views Berty and I have ever experienced, and the challenge is 100% worth this view from the top.
Difficulty: Very Challenging. This trail is consistently steep with very few flat parts on the trail.
Make sure to wear shoes that are well broken in (coming from experience, my new shoes HURT after this hike!) and pack plenty of water and snacks for the top!
3. Cape Disappointment
Opposite its sister, Cape Flattery, Cape Disappointment is the farthest southwest location you can explore in Washington State.
Experience the North Head trail that leads you to a lighthouse, a working Coast Guard Station, and the beautiful Moonrise Kingdom-like cove!
The park covers nearly 13 miles of trails, so there are tons of viewpoints to explore that will give you plenty to see.
Difficulty: Moderate. A clear trail through the forest and a steep hike down to the cove will require some agility, but most people can accomplish this hike.
4. La Push Second Beach
Explore the Pacific Ocean at one of Washington’s most iconic beaches. La Push Second Beach is a 4-mile round trip hike with switchbacks through the dense Olympic Peninsula trees.
Soon enough you’ll hear the sound of crashing waves and emerge to the view of a dotted coastline of gorgeous sea stacks. With the right permits, you can even camp on this beach!
Difficulty: Moderate. The hike requires a trail through the forest with exposed roots, and the ability to walk over driftwood and on the sand.
5. Lake Wenatchee Trails
There are so many beautiful trails to explore around Lake Wenatchee State Park that we couldn’t pick just one!
Both the North Shore and South Shore provide opportunities to discover sweeping views, hidden lakes, and beautiful forest trails.
For a short hike with a quick reward, try Hidden Lake Loop or visit the Lake Wenatchee State Park beach to see the famous Emerald Island. For a longer, more challenging hike, head to the North Shore and hike up Dirty Face Lookout.
Difficulty: Easy to Hard. There are several choices to choose from depending on your preference!
6. Scenic Hot Springs
This trail leads to a hidden hot spring in the Cascade Mountains!
You’ll be climbing 1.5 miles and ascending 1100 feet, so prepare for a steep incline. Once a sort of ski-bum retreat in the early 2000s, it has now been taken apart and three huge tubs remain in the middle of the forest.
Every season brings a new vibe, so Scenic Hot Springs is worth exploring all times of the year. (Though, taking your clothes off in the winter is terribly cold!)
Note: This trail is on private property and requires a reservation before arriving. Read our post about Scenic Hot Springs to learn everything you need to know before you go!
Difficulty: Moderate/Hard. A steady and uncomfortable uphill climb and the slightly ambiguous trail makes this adventure tricky, but the end is still worth the sharp incline.
This trail turns to “challenging” in the winter months – the trail will likely require snowshoes.
Read More: Hike To Scenic Hot Springs In The Cascades
7. Colchuck Lake
Colchuck Lake is an incredibly scenic lake and frequently called the “Gateway To The Enchantments”.
Located in the Alpine Wilderness Area, this 8-mile round trip trail (with a 2280 feet elevation gain) will impress you with its incredible views and even more impressive lake.
Berty and I had been wanting to do this hike for a really, really long time. We somehow convinced our friends to rally with us for a 12:30 am wake-up call to reach the lake by sunrise, and we’re so glad we did!
Difficulty: Challenging. The trail consists of plenty of rocky switchbacks, exposed roots on the trail, and unimpressive trail markers (aka, don’t go down the wrong path or you’ll get lost!).
Be prepared with a good map, snacks, and water!
Read More: Hike Colchuck Lake During Sunrise
8. Palouse Falls
Not many people know this, but Palouse Falls is the state waterfall of Washington!
Palouse Falls State Park is perfect for capturing this powerful falls and its 200-foot basalt cliff drop! Walk the perimeter trails to get several perspectives of this photogenic canyon!
Note: The trail to the base of the falls is visitor made, and not supported by the state park. Use extreme caution and hike at your own risk when choosing to take the trail into the canyon. (Also, please don’t try to swim here, we like you too much!)
Difficulty: Easy to Hard. The trails above the falls are flat, steady, and very accessible.
Opting to hike into the canyon will require climbing up and down a rock scramble, and traversing a canyon wall in high water. (Again only attempt this at your own risk, and in good physical condition).
9. Heather Lake
Just off the Mountain Loop Highway is a perfect weekend hike called Heather Lake Trail!
This 4.2-mile hike will delight you with stream crossings, waterfalls, and a gorgeous alpine lake at the top. We hiked one morning with a small picnic breakfast, and it was totally worth it!
We recommend packing a lunch and enjoying the view from the top!
Difficulty: Moderate. The trail has a steady incline and can consist of a lot of slippery rocks and mud in poor weather. You’ll work up a sweat, but it likely won’t take you the rest of the day to recover!
Read More: A Quick Morning Hike To Heather Lake
10. Rattlesnake Ledge
Rattlesnake Ledge is one of the more popular hikes in Washington state for its accessibility from Seattle!
This 4-mile round trip trail is a perfect weekend jaunt for any level, so you’ll see trail runners and first-timers alike. With an elevation gain of 1160 ft., you’re sure to be rewarded with a magical view at the top.
Family-friendly and pet-friendly, this place is the perfect weekend activities for all members of the family.
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard. A steady incline will help you work up a sweat!
Read More: A Spontaneous Hike To Rattlesnake Ledge
11. Nisqually Vista Loop Trail – Mount Rainier
This easy and beautiful hike is perfect for outdoor lovers of all ages. Nisqually Vista Loop is an ultra-easy, 1.1-mile loop hike that provides several beautiful perspectives of Mount Rainier.
You can access this trail by driving to the Paradise Area of Mount Rainier National Park.
Reminder: Make sure to display your National Park Pass and arrive early in the morning. The Paradise parking lot is a popular destination and it fills up full by 9:00 am!
Difficulty: Very easy. Come with your entire family!
Click here to discover more hikes to do in the Pierce County area!
12. Falls Creek Falls
Falls Creek Falls is one of the many beautiful waterfall hikes in Washington. Its easy trail can either be a loop trail or an out-and-back one, depending on the type of scenery you’d like to see.
During our trip, we opted to take the out-and-back trail which led us next to a stream the entire way to Falls Creek Falls.
There’s lots of pull-offs for viewing the river and winding trails through the Pacific Northwest rainforest.
We think this is the best Washington hike for the massive reward at the end for generally little work!
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. Short trail with easy elevation gain.
13. Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach is the perfect combination of beach exploration, hiking, and relaxing on this choose-your-own Washington hiking trail.
Parking at the Ruby Beach Trailhead, take a short walk down to the beach and then the rest is up to you! During low tide, you can wander three miles north of the trailhead and three miles south.
Along the way, don’t forget to check out tide pools, marine life, and spot some seashells in the sand! *Just remember not to take anything and follow Leave No Trace practices!*
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. Much of the trails include walking along a sandy beach, but you may find yourself climbing over large pieces of driftwood from time to time.
14. Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge is an area of the Olympic National Park that has tons of beautiful Washington hiking trails to choose from! It’s known for it’s spectacular views of the surrounding mountains!
The most common trail is Hurricane Hill Trail, which is a 3.2 mile out and back hike with the endpoint being Hurricane Hill, which sits at 5,757 feet in elevation.
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.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. Short trail with easy elevation gain.
15. Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls is one of the most popular Washington hiking trails in Olympic National Park.
It is a very easy walk of 0.8 miles (1.6 miles round trip), which leads you to a powerful falls that split into three parts before it tumbles all the way into the canyon below.
This trailhead is also the beginning or end of many more multi-day backpacking trips in the Olympic National Park. Make sure to obtain a permit if you plan to continue your overnight adventure past the falls!
Difficulty: Easy. This Olympic National Park hike is easy to follow, with an incredible reward at the end!
16. Lime Kiln State 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!
Lime Kiln Park, often referred to as “Whale Watch Park” has several (wheelchair accessible) viewpoints to spot those gentle giants out in the water. You can even see Victoria, British Columbia in the distance!
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.
You can even stop by the historic lighthouse during sunset for a memorable experience!
Difficulty: Easy. Many of the trails are paved.
17. Bowl and Pitcher State Park
Of all the beautiful hikes in Eastern Washington, the Bowl and Pitcher State Park has the most popular and accessible trails.
One of the easiest loops to take is the Bowl and Pitcher Loop, which is a 2-mile loop trail that brings you along the Spokane River and through the evergreen trees.
Dogs are allowed on the trail, as well as easy access to the path all year long. There is even a picturesque suspension bridge at the beginning of the hike that gives you fantastic views of the river below!
Bowl and Pitcher State Park is a perfect destination for easy hikes in Washingtons state.
18. Lake Twentytwo (Lake 22)
Lake Twentytwo (also called Lake 22) is a 5.4-mile round trip hike in the Cascade Mountains.
It’s a popular hike for its proximity to Seattle (only a 1.5-hour drive) and the trail is easy to follow.
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 Pilchuck Lookout, Mt Dickerman, and the hidden ghost town, Monte Cristo.
Difficulty: Moderate. With a 1,350-foot elevation gain, it should make a good sweat session for all skill levels!
19. Diablo Lake Trail
*Note*: Diablo Lake Trail is NOT the same as Diablo Lake Overlook. Read below for the 7.5-mile trail alongside the lake.
If you’re looking for fun hikes in the North Cascades National Park, consider this trail at Diablo Lake. It takes you through thick vegetation, and at the end, you can see views of Ross Dam in the distance.
Difficulty: Moderate. The elevation gain per mile isn’t bad, but the length can be intimidating to a new Washington hiker!
20. Liberty Bell
This isn’t so much a hike as it is an easy walk with INCREDIBLE views!
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.
Difficulty: Easy. This scenic loop hike in Washington state brings you to many perspectives of Liberty Bell and other North Cascade treasures.
Next Up On Our List of Beautiful Hikes In Washington!
We haven’t even scratched the surface of beautiful hiking trails in Washington! We’ve still got a huge list to cover, and honestly, it gets longer and longer as we hike in Washington – not shorter!
Anyways, here’s our shortlist. Come back to this post often as well will update it when we take these hikes in Washington!
- Maple Loop Pass
- Ape Caves
- Dog Mountain
- Trail of Cedars – North Cascades National Park
- Bridal Veil Falls
- Barclay Lake
- Mt. Pilchuck Lookout
- Mount Si
- Mailbox Peak
- Grove of Patriarchs
- Skyline Loop (Mount Rainier)
- Tolmie Peak Lookout
- Mt. Ellinor (Olympic National Park)
- Iler Creek (Eastern Washington, hiking near Spokane)
Things To Know About Hiking Trails in Washington State
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 of the 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.
1. Always Pack A Ran Jacket
The weather in Washington state can be unpredictable and quick-changing, even in the summer months. It’s worth it to pack a lightweight outer-shell rain jacket in case of those surprise storms.
This is especially important in Washington hiking trails on the coast.
2. Pack An Extra Set of Clothes In The Car
One thing that prevents me (Emily) from going all-in is preventing myself from being uncomfortable.
I will dodge waves on the Washington coast and avoid getting close to waterfalls for the sake of being comfortable.
Having an extra set of clothes to change into afterward will help lower your inhibition and allow you to enjoy the trail more fully! You’ll always be able to change into warm and dry clothes after the adventure is over.
3. Plan Ahead For Your Washington Hiking Trails
Does your Washington hike need a permit? Do you have directions to the trailhead? (See our offline google map hacks in this post!)
It’s important to know basic information for your Washington hiking trail.
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.
This way, there are no surprises at the trailhead!
What are some of your favorite hikes in Washington state? Let us know in the comments below!
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