Washington State has always been a destination known for beautiful ocean and mountain views, an abundance of wildlife, and 4 very distinct seasons. Here are 5 amazing Washington hikes you won’t want to miss this summer.
First of all, if you’re looking for an intro to Washington hikes, the trail to Heather Lake is relatively easy with a few steep areas and rocky terrain. Located in the North Cascades on Mountain Loop Highway, the 4.6 mile (roundtrip) trail leads you through big old-growth trees before rewarding visitors with breathtaking views of Mount Pilchuck and a quiet lake that’s great for a quick dip during a warm, summer day. The trail has a modest gain of 1034 ft with the highest point at 2430 ft. On the far side of the lake, climb up on one of the large rocks and have a quiet lunch. This is an extremely popular hike during the summer so arrive before 9 am. In addition, a Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking.
Near the Bavarian-styled village of Leavenworth, the Cascade Mountain Range offers many opportunities for hikers. The Cascades span all the way from southern British Columbia through Washington, Oregon, and into Northern California. The Central Cascades offer an 18 mile (one-way) hike to the Enchantments. With a gain of 4,500 ft., the trail takes you to a high point of 7,800 ft. where you will likely find blue lakes and mountain goats. Again, a Northwest Forest Pass is required for this hike and dogs are not allowed on the trail. Camping is available through a lottery.
Skyline Trail Loop
Mount Rainier, also called Tahoma, or Tacoma, is located about 60 miles from nearby Seattle and is an active stratovolcano. But don’t let that deter you from hiking this area. At 14,411, Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in Washington State. Skyline Trail Loop offers a 5.5 mile (roundtrip) hike with gorgeous views of the mountain. The hike has a gain of 1450 ft and at 6300 ft many people turnaround before the “serious” hiking begins. The highest point of this hike is 6800 ft. but the extra effort will be rewarded with phenomenal views. A National Park Pass is required for parking. You will absolutely love this hike!
Another relatively easy Washington hike is located in the Olympic National Park, across Puget Sound from Seattle. The hike to Klahhane Ridge is 5 miles (roundtrip) and you will be sure to see wildflowers, mountain goats, marmots, deer, and possibly black bear. There are a couple ways to climb the trail – one of which is packed with switchbacks gaining 1500 ft in 1.5 miles. Total gain is 1700 ft with the highest point at 6050 ft. Arrive early for parking. You’ll need to purchase a National Park Pass to be able to park.
Finally, you’ll want to hike to 6151 ft where you’ll find occasional waterfalls and 360 degree views of Mount Rainier, Hibox, and the Chikamins. Challenging at times, this 12 mile (roundtrip) hike near Snoqualmie Pass can be done in a day but may be more enjoyable as part of an overnight hike. Camp out at Lila Lake or Rampart Lakes and slowly take in the views. Again, you’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass for parking.
Check out these hikes, as well as others and let us know what your favorite Washington hikes are!