Best hiking trails Seattle 3
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Discovering The Best hiking trails Seattle has to Offer: Trails That Will Take Your Breath Away

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Are you tired of the hustle and bustle of city life and craving some time in nature? Look no further than the beautiful hiking trails in Seattle! With breathtaking views and a variety of trails to choose from, these hikes offer the perfect escape from the urban chaos. Seattle’s natural beauty is a hidden gem that must be explored and the numerous hiking trails provide the perfect opportunity to do so.

Best hiking trails Seattle

Seattle, nestled between Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains, is not just an urban oasis but also a gateway to some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a challenging trek or a casual walker seeking scenic vistas, Seattle’s surrounding landscapes offer a diverse range of outdoor adventures. This blog post explores the best hiking trails near Seattle, each offering unique natural beauty and unforgettable experiences.

What Are the Best Hiking Trails in Seattle?

Seattle is a hiker’s paradise, with stunning trails that offer breathtaking views and challenging terrain. In this section, we will explore the top hiking trails in Seattle that are a must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast. From the popular Rattlesnake Ledge Trail to the lesser-known but equally beautiful Mount Rainier National Park Trails, we will cover the best of what Seattle has to offer for hikers. So, lace up your hiking boots and get ready to discover the natural beauty of Seattle through its incredible hiking trails.

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Official Website can be found here.

1. Rattlesnake Ledge Trail

Overview: Rattlesnake Ledge is a popular hike for locals and visitors alike, known for its relatively easy access and rewarding views. The trail leads to a rocky ledge overlooking Rattlesnake Lake and the Cedar River watershed, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Distance and Difficulty: 4 miles round trip, moderate difficulty.


  • Stunning views of Rattlesnake Lake and the Cascades.
  • Well-maintained trail suitable for most fitness levels.
  • Ideal for a quick nature escape or a sunrise hike.


  1. Begin your journey at the Rattlesnake Ledge Trailhead, conveniently located near Rattlesnake Lake with available parking.
  2. Follow the clearly marked trail as it winds through a lush forest and rocky terrain.
  3. Take in the stunning views of Rattlesnake Lake and the surrounding mountains from the summit.
  4. Be mindful of the cliff edges and show consideration towards other hikers on the trail.
  5. When descending back to the trailhead, remember to leave no trace and help preserve the natural beauty of the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail.

2. Mount Si Trail

Overview: A classic hike for Seattleites, Mount Si is a challenging but rewarding trek that offers spectacular views of the Snoqualmie Valley, Seattle skyline, and Olympic Mountains on clear days. It’s a rite of passage for many local hikers.

Distance and Difficulty: 8 miles round trip, challenging.


  • One of the most iconic hikes in the Seattle area.
  • Offers a strenuous workout with about 3,150 feet of elevation gain.
  • A chance to spot wildlife, including deer and eagles.


  1. Pack essentials: Bring water, snacks, and a first aid kit for your hike on the Mount Si Trail.
  2. Wear appropriate gear: Use sturdy hiking shoes and layered clothing to tackle the challenging terrain.
  3. Check weather conditions: Monitor forecasts and avoid hiking in severe weather to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  4. Follow trail guidelines: Stay on marked paths and respect signage to preserve the natural beauty of the Mount Si Trail.
  5. Notify someone: Share your hiking plans and expected return time to ensure your safety on the Mount Si Trail.

3. Discovery Park Loop Trail

Overview: For those seeking a more leisurely hike within the city limits, the Discovery Park Loop Trail offers a peaceful escape into nature. This trail meanders through Seattle’s largest park, featuring forests, meadows, and stunning views of Puget Sound.

Distance and Difficulty: 2.8 miles round trip, easy.


  • Accessible, family-friendly trail.
  • Offers diverse scenery, including beaches, cliffs, and lighthouses.
  • Great for bird watching and seasonal wildflower blooms.


  1. Arrive at the parking area for the Discovery Park Loop Trail, located at the main entrance of the park.
  2. Begin the trail from the Visitor Center and head towards the South Beach Trail.
  3. Follow the signs for the Discovery Park Loop Trail, passing by breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
  4. Continue along the loop, taking in the diverse plant and animal life along the way.
  5. Complete the loop and return to the Visitor Center, concluding your adventure at Discovery Park.

Who needs the gym when you can hike up Mount Rainier and work on your fear of heights at the same time?

4. Mount Rainier National Park Trails

  • Wonderland Trail: A challenging 93-mile trek encircling Mount Rainier, showcasing diverse landscapes and elevations within Mount Rainier National Park.
  • Skyline Trail: A popular 5.5-mile loop offering breathtaking views of the mountain, meadows, and wildflowers within Mount Rainier National Park.
  • Comet Falls Trail: A moderate 3.8-mile hike leading to a stunning 320-foot waterfall, with a close-up view of Mount Rainier within Mount Rainier National Park.

As I ventured along the Skyline Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, the allure of the majestic Mount Rainier’s presence was utterly captivating, making every arduous step worthwhile.

Get ready to roar with excitement on the challenging trails of Tiger Mountain State Forest, just don’t let the mountain lions hear you.

5. Tiger Mountain State Forest Trails

When exploring the 5. Tiger Mountain State Forest Trails, ensure a safe and enjoyable experience by preparing adequately and respecting the environment.

  • Choose the right trail based on your fitness level and experience.
  • Wear appropriate footwear and clothing for the terrain and weather.
  • Carry essential supplies such as water, snacks, a map, and a first-aid kit.
  • Stay alert for wildlife and be respectful of nature.
  • Follow trail etiquette and leave no trace of your visit.

6. Poo Poo Point

Overview: Located on Tiger Mountain, Poo Poo Point is a favorite among hikers and paragliders for its open grassy slopes and expansive views of Lake Sammamish, Issaquah, and Mount Rainier.

Distance and Difficulty: 7.2 miles round trip, moderate to challenging.


  • Popular launch site for paragliders.
  • Panoramic views of surrounding landscapes.
  • Witness breathtaking sunsets and the occasional paraglider taking off.

7. Mailbox Peak

Overview: Mailbox Peak is a demanding hike known for its steep incline and the mailbox at its summit, where hikers leave trinkets and notes. The trail offers an intense workout and spectacular views at the top.

Distance and Difficulty: 9.4 miles round trip, very challenging.


  • Notorious for its steep, challenging terrain.
  • Rewarding views of the Snoqualmie Valley, Mount Si, and the Cascades.
  • The famous mailbox at the summit, filled with quirky treasures.

8. Mountain Loop Highway

Overview: The Mountain Loop Highway offers access to a plethora of trails nestled within the rugged terrain of the Cascades. This scenic byway is a gateway to numerous hikes, ranging from easy walks through old-growth forests to strenuous climbs to alpine lakes and peaks.

Distance and Difficulty: Varies by trail.


  • Access to diverse trails, including the famous Big Four Ice Caves and Mount Pilchuck Lookout.
  • Opportunities for camping, picnicking, and exploring historical sites.
  • Seasonal accessibility, with some trails remaining snow-covered well into spring.

9. Snow Lake

Overview: As the most visited lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Snow Lake offers breathtaking alpine scenery from the Snow Lake trailhead through to the end with minimal effort, making it an incredibly popular day hike or overnight destination.

Distance and Difficulty: 7.2 miles round trip, moderate.


  • Stunning alpine lake surrounded by towering peaks.
  • Wildflower meadows and vibrant fall colors.
  • Potential for wildlife sightings, including mountain goats.

10. Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Overview: Encompassing over 400,000 acres, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is a hiker’s paradise, featuring over 700 lakes and ponds set against the backdrop of the beautiful Cascades.

Distance and Difficulty: Varies by trail, ranging from easy to very challenging.


  • Iconic hikes like the Enchantments, which offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Diverse ecosystems, from lush valleys to rugged mountain terrain.
  • A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering hiking, backpacking, fishing, and mountaineering.

11. Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) – Washington Section

Overview: The Washington section of the PCT traverses some of the state’s most stunning landscapes, offering hikers a chance to experience the rugged beauty of the Cascades.

Distance and Difficulty: Varies by segment; the entire Washington section spans over 500 miles, challenging.


  • Passes through several wilderness areas, including the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
  • Offers a variety of landscapes, from dense forests to volcanic peaks.
  • Opportunities for long-distance backpacking and encounters with thru-hikers.

12. Northwest Forest Pass

Overview: Many of the hikes in and around Seattle are located on federal land, requiring a Northwest Forest Pass for parking at trailheads. This pass helps fund maintenance and facilities in these areas.


  • Annual or day passes available.
  • Required for parking at many trailheads in the National Forests in Washington and Oregon.
  • Contributes to the preservation and upkeep of these natural areas.

13. Downtown Seattle

Overview: While not a hiking destination, Downtown Seattle offers urban explorers a different kind of adventure. From the iconic Pike Place Market to the historic Pioneer Square, there’s plenty to explore on foot.


  • Walking tours of the city’s diverse neighborhoods.
  • Waterfront parks and the Seattle Great Wheel.
  • Proximity to green spaces like Discovery Park and the Washington Park Arboretum for those seeking a quick nature fix.

Maps can be found on AllTrails

What Are the Difficulty Levels of Hiking Trails in Seattle?

Seattle is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with its stunning natural landscape and numerous hiking trails to explore. But with so many options, it can be overwhelming to decide which trail is right for you. In this section, we’ll break down the difficulty levels of hiking trails in Seattle, from easy strolls to challenging treks. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a trail in Seattle that will suit your skill level and provide a memorable outdoor experience. Let’s dive in and discover the range of hiking trails that this beautiful city has to offer.

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1. Easy Trails

  • Research Seattle’s easy trails, such as the Discovery Park Loop Trail and the lower section of the Mount Si Trail.
  • Ensure the trails are well-marked and have minimal elevation gain, suitable for beginners and families.
  • Check for amenities like restrooms and picnic areas for a comfortable outdoor experience.
  • Consider the weather and seasonal conditions to plan the best time for an enjoyable hike.

Seattle’s easy trails offer breathtaking views of lush greenery and serene landscapes, making them ideal for leisurely walks and nature appreciation.

2. Moderate Trails

  • Rattlesnake Ledge Trail: A 4-mile round trip with a steady incline.
  • Mount Si Trail: A challenging 8-mile hike with a steep ascent.
  • Discovery Park Loop Trail: A 2.8-mile loop offering a mix of forest and waterfront views.
  • Mount Rainier National Park Trails: Explore trails like the Skyline Trail for a moderate hike with breathtaking vistas.
  • Tiger Mountain State Forest Trails: Enjoy the 5.5-mile Poo Poo Point Trail, known for paragliding activities.

For a balanced hiking experience, consider these moderate trails suitable for intermediate hikers looking to challenge themselves without overwhelming difficulty.

Be warned, these trails are not for the faint of heart – but the stunning views and bragging rights are worth it.

3. Difficult Trails

  • Mount Si Trail is a challenging 8-mile trek with an elevation gain of over 3,100 feet.
  • Mailbox Peak demands stamina with a steep 2.5-mile trail ascending over 4,000 feet.
  • Mount Ellinor Trail is a difficult 3-mile path with breathtaking views, rising around 2,500 feet.

Just like a first date, always let someone know where you’re going and bring protection (in the form of appropriate gear and supplies) while hiking in Seattle.

What Are the Safety Tips for Hiking in Seattle?

Hiking in Seattle is a popular activity for locals and tourists alike, with its beautiful scenery and numerous trails to explore. However, it’s important to prioritize safety while hiking to ensure an enjoyable experience. In this section, we will discuss some important safety tips for hiking in Seattle. From checking the weather forecast to informing someone of your hiking plans, we’ll cover all the necessary precautions to take before hitting the trails. So let’s dive in and make sure your next hike in Seattle is a safe one.

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1. Check the Weather Forecast

  • Be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out to ensure you are prepared for any potential weather changes.
  • Use reliable sources, such as official websites or apps, for accurate and up-to-date weather information.
  • Take into consideration factors such as temperature, precipitation, and wind speed when packing suitable clothing and gear.

2. Bring Appropriate Gear and Supplies

  • Research the trail to determine specific gear needs.
  • Essentials: Carry water, navigation tools, first-aid kit, and extra clothing.
  • Footwear: Opt for sturdy, waterproof hiking boots.
  • Protection: Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
  • Snacks: Bring energy-boosting snacks like trail mix or energy bars.

In the Pacific Northwest, weather can change rapidly, so being prepared for various conditions is essential.

Don’t go off the beaten path unless you want to be the next contestant on ‘Survivor: Seattle Edition’.

3. Stay on Designated Trails

  • Follow the designated trail markers and signs to ensure you stay on the designated paths.
  • Avoid taking shortcuts or creating new trails in order to preserve the environment.
  • Please respect any trail closures and maintenance for your own safety and the conservation of the area.

Inform someone of your hiking plans, just in case you run into Bigfoot or get mistaken for a missing hiker.

4. Inform Someone of Your Hiking Plans

  • Be sure to inform a trusted individual of your hiking plans, including the trail you plan to hike, expected return time, and emergency contacts.
  • Share any relevant medical information or special considerations with your designated contact.
  • Provide a map of the trail and surrounding areas to your designated person.
  • Upon completing the hike, remember to inform your contact of your safe return.

In 2012, hiker Joe Simpson had a remarkable survival story when he fell into a crevasse while climbing in the Peruvian Andes. Despite a broken leg, he managed to crawl back to base camp over three days, displaying immense determination and resilience.

If hiking isn’t your thing, Seattle also offers camping, kayaking, rock climbing, and biking options – just don’t try to combine them all at once unless you want a wild adventure.


Seattle and its surrounding areas are a treasure trove of natural beauty, offering an incredible variety of hikes that cater to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts. From the serene waters of Snow Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the panoramic vistas along the Pacific Crest Trail, there’s no shortage of breathtaking experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re traversing the Mountain Loop Highway in search of hidden gems or exploring the urban wilderness of Downtown Seattle, the region’s trails promise adventure and awe-inspiring views that will leave you eager for more. Don’t forget your Northwest Forest Pass for those federal lands, and immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty of the Pacific Northwest’s great outdoors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular hiking trails in Seattle?

Some popular hiking trails in Seattle include Rattlesnake Ledge, Mount Si, and Discovery Park.

Are there any easy hiking trails in Seattle?

Yes, there are several easy hiking trails in Seattle, such as Green Lake Loop, Carkeek Park Loop, and Coal Creek Falls Trail.

Are there any challenging hiking trails in Seattle?

Yes, there are many challenging hiking trails in Seattle, such as Mailbox Peak, Tiger Mountain, and Mount Si.

Do I need any permits for hiking trails in Seattle?

It depends on the specific hiking trail. Some trails, like Mount Si, require a Discover Pass, while others, like Rattlesnake Ledge, do not require any permits.

Are there any dog-friendly hiking trails in Seattle?

Yes, there are several dog-friendly hiking trails in Seattle, including Discovery Park, Cougar Mountain, and Soaring Eagle Regional Park.

What should I bring with me when hiking in Seattle?

It is recommended to bring plenty of water, snacks, appropriate footwear, a map or GPS device, and a first aid kit when hiking in Seattle. It is also important to dress in layers and check the weather forecast beforehand.

Discovering The Best hiking trails Seattle has to Offer: Trails That Will Take Your Breath Away
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Discovering The Best hiking trails Seattle has to Offer: Trails That Will Take Your Breath Away
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