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The 08 Best Hiking Trails In Washington

There are a lot of beautiful trails to choose from in the state of Washington. When selecting a trail, factor in overall distance, elevation gain, current conditions and your fitness level.

Tourist Attractions To Hiking Trails In Washington

Also, make sure to tell someone where you are going (where you will be returning) and when. The most breathtaking hikes in the state often have views of mountain peaks or lakes. These trails all have their own unique qualities and are worth exploring for.

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One of the most iconic hikes in Washington, Rattlesnake Ledge is a great choice for a day trip or a sunset hike that features stunning views over Snoqualmie Pass and the Southern Cascade Mountains. It is a popular trail with locals and is easily accessible from a nearby trailhead.

Hiking Trails In Washington
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Washington is famous for its trails, and the state has some of the most popular hiking destinations in the world. With its vast mountain ranges and lush forests, the Evergreen State is an ideal destination for hikers.

Washington boasts a wealth of stunning national parks, and many of them offer a plethora of excellent hiking opportunities in the summer. In the winter, however, there can be a lot of snow on the trails, so it is important to be cautious during this time.

The Enchantments Trail, Okanogan-Wenatchee National #1

The Enchantments Trail, located within Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, is one of the most coveted hiking destinations in Washington state. The area boasts an abundance of bright-blue alpine lakes and chiseled mountain peaks that beckon hikers to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery.

Hiking the Enchantments Trail is a truly epic experience. A tough and challenging hike, it can take multiple days to complete and is highly sought after. If you’re planning a trip, it’s recommended to make your reservation well in advance.

Hiking Trails In Washington

Permits can be difficult to obtain, and many of the campgrounds are reserved as well. It’s also important to know that there are specific rules, regulations and cautions for day and overnight hikers in the Enchantments. Check the website for a full list of guidelines.

The best time to go hiking in the Enchantments is during September when temperatures drop and permits are easier to come by. The hike is still challenging, but it’s much more manageable compared to the summer’s high-elevation heat and unpredictable snow storms.

Skyline Trail, Mount Rainier National Park #2

The Skyline Trail is arguably the most popular hike in Mount Rainier National Park and it’s easy to see why. It offers stunning views of the iconic mountain for the majority of the trail and you’ll be blown away with how close you can get to the majestic volcano!

The trail starts off in the lush meadows of Paradise Meadows that are bursting with wildflowers during the summer and continue on to Panorama Point, a stunning lookout that showcases Rainier and gives sweeping panoramic views of surrounding peaks. You’ll also pass two waterfalls, Myrtle Falls and Sluiskin Falls before the rocky-ashy landscape begins to take over.

The hike is a slog at times, with lots of steps and switchbacks but the views are worth it! You’ll pass some gorgeous moss-covered boulders and see a few creeks before you hit the snowy part of the trail. Depending on the time of year, you’ll need to bring some extra layers and winter gear (like microspikes and a good pair of hiking poles).

Cascade Pass Trail North Cascades National Park #3

The Cascade Pass Trail rises steadily to a spectacular pass overlooking Sahale Arm and the surrounding glaciers. It’s a popular starting point for climbing routes to Sahale, Boston, Mixup, and Magic Peaks, as well as the Ptarmigan Traverse into Glacier Peak Wilderness.

Hikers may also head east to campsites at Pelton Basin and a popular side-trip to Horseshoe Basin – a scenic steep-walled cirque with waterfalls, wildflowers, and an historic mining site. The trail continues into the Stehekin Valley, following the course of this scenic river for much of the way.

The trail has a long history of use by early indigenous people. Archeological evidence at several sites shows that they used Cascade Pass as a crossroads for thousands of years. They built and repaired stone tools, gathered charcoal, and buried cooking pits.

Hoh River Trail Olympic National Park #4

The Hoh River Trail in Olympic National Park is one of the most iconic hikes in Washington. It winds through a lush rainforest dripping with moss and nurse logs providing nutrition to full-grown trees. It ends at Blue Glacier and Mount Olympus, providing a stunning view of both mountains.

This is the best trail for a half-day hike in the park. You can do a short Hall of Mosses loop or do a longer Spruce Trail. You can also set up camp at one of the tree campground loops near the visitor center.

As you hike through this forest, you may feel miniscule in comparison to the giant Sitka Spruce, Red Cedar and Big Leaf Maple that thrive here. These gnarled giants provide much needed shade to the forest ecosystem below.

This mellow hiking trail runs along the banks of the Hoh River and offers many backpacking campsites. Backpackers can also access wilderness campsites on the Seven Lakes Basin Loop and Glacier Meadows, the basecamp for Mount Olympus. This hike is popular and reservations are recommended for backpackers.

Goat Rocks Crest Trail #5

A quaint, easy, and rewarding hike for families, the Goat Rocks Crest Trail offers gorgeous views of a lake and a few craggy peaks along the way. This is a good option for hikers who are short on time, but want to explore this wild and beautiful area.

The trail starts cool and shady as it meanders through thick forests until it opens up to meadows after the first junction. It then continues on to the lake, a frigid pool nestled underneath a rocky outcrop.

This is a good half-day hike in the Goat Rocks Wilderness and a great introductory route to this gorgeous area. You can tack this on to a longer hike, make it a side trip while hiking the PCT, or do it as an overnight hike.

The well-graded trail winds through a cool forest before it crosses over a small ridge and begins to open up into a vast, open alpine meadow with views of the Hogback Ridge and Shoe Lake. The wildflowers are spectacular and there are mountain goats everywhere, making this a great destination.

Wallace Falls Trail Wallace Falls State Park #6

Wallace Falls State Park is a great place to go hiking in the Cascade Mountains foothills northeast of Seattle. The waterfalls here are a huge draw, and the trails around them are very easy to hike and explore.

The trail begins on a gravel path under power lines, but it soon transitions into a moss-covered forest and rich green Pacific Northwest vegetation. You’ll also encounter several streams that run through the trail and beautiful wooden bridges across them.

This park is a gem in Snohomish County, and has plenty of recreational opportunities including three backcountry lakes, waterfalls, and more. It’s also home to the 265-foot Wallace Falls, which offers excellent views of the Olympic Range as well as Mount Rainier.

Hikers can choose from a variety of trails here, from the Woody Trail to the Railroad Grade Trail. The most popular trail is the Woody Trail, which is a moderate out-and-back trail with three levels that takes about 6 hours to complete.

Steamboat Rock Trail Steamboat Rock State Park #7

Steamboat Rock is one of the most beautiful state parks in eastern Washington. The 600-acre hunk of basalt stands 800 feet above Banks Lake, offering impressive 360-degree views of the coulee country.

The rocky outcropping was formed by the Great Missoula Floods, which carved the land out of the canyons in this area. Hiking here is a great way to see the unique landscape created by this flood.

A 3.2 mile round-trip hike to the top of Steamboat Rock takes you to an incredible view of this unique landscape, a place where the earth, massive boulders and entire mountainsides were shaped by 40-60 flood events. This is one of the most rewarding hikes in the region and can be a fun activity for kids.

Summer is always a great time to visit Steamboat Rock State Park. It boasts a sandy swimming area, three boat launches, and 50,000 feet of shoreline that makes it the perfect destination for water sports enthusiasts. In addition, the park offers RV camping and cabins for those looking for a more luxurious experience.

Wonderland Trail Mount Rainier National Park #8

The Wonderland Trail encircles Mount Rainier National Park and is a challenging trek that takes hikers over mountain ridges, along glaciers, through temperate rainforests, to flowing rivers. It’s a great adventure for backpackers, day hikers, and multi-day hiking adventures.

The hiking season for the Wonderland Trail is from mid-July through September. This is a peak hiking season, and permits for the Wonderland Trail are most competitive during this time of year.

If you’re planning to hike the Wonderland Trail, start by applying for permits early in the season (open mid February through March every year). During this time, you’ll have an opportunity to secure your favorite campsites and avoid crowds on the trail.

Once you have your permit, it’s important to plan out your itinerary. You can either do a week-long trip, or break it down into 10- or 14-day sections. However, it’s also important to note that your personal schedule and availability will determine what length of trip you can do.

FAQs about Hiking Trails In Washington

What do I need to know before hiking in Washington state?

Washington State offers diverse hiking experiences, from the Pacific coast to the Cascade Mountains. Check weather conditions and trail difficulty before embarking. Prepare for unpredictable weather and bring appropriate gear, including a rain jacket and sturdy footwear. Familiarize yourself with Leave No Trace principles and respect wildlife and ecosystems.

How many hiking trails are in Washington state?

It’s difficult to provide an exact number of hiking trails in Washington State due to the vastness of its wilderness areas. However, it’s estimated that there are over 2,000 trails, ranging from easy day hikes to challenging multi-day backpacking trips. Some of the most popular trails include the Pacific Crest Trail, the Wonderland Trail, and Mount Si.

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