You walked through Pike Place, saw the Space Needle, and now you’re looking for prime hiking near Seattle. After all, Washington is renowned for its spectacular trails. These 5 Must Do Hikes are just 30-90 minutes away from the heart of the city.
1) Little Si
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate Length: 4.7 miles Round Trip Location: Snoqualmie Region -- North Bend Area Elevation Gain: 1300’ Elevation: 1,575′ Pass Required: A Discover Pass is required for this trail In the shadow of Mount Si lays Little Si, sister to the 4,167’ peak of Mount Si. Much easier than it’s counterpart, Little Si is a trail with moderate traffic along the I-90 with breathtaking views of the Cascade range at the top. Along the trail, you might also spot a few climbers working on World Wall I (a popular crag with many climbing routes). Parking can be hectic near the trailhead, so try to get there early or hike during the middle of the week. PRO TIP: Bring a hammock and hang it on some of the dense trees at the top to soak in the views, and remember to leave no trace.
2) Poo Poo Point
Difficulty: Moderate Length: 7.4 miles Round Trip Location: Issaquah Alps -- Tiger Mountain Elevation Gain: 1650’ Elevation: 1,850′ Pass Required: No pass or permit is required for this trail An awkward name for one of Washington locals’ favorite trails, Poo Poo Point offers so much in such a short amount of time. Jurassic forests, views of Mount Rainier and Lake Skammish, and a constant flow of paragliders all contribute to the bustling nature of this trail. Expect to see a lot of people on your way up and down the trail, and always make sure you’re following trail etiquette to a T. PRO TIP: Don’t stop at the first viewpoint. While most hikers will stop at this section, there are less populated overlooks further along that offer even better views .
3) Rattlesnake Ledge
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate Length: 4.0 miles Round Trip Location: Snoqualmie Region -- North Bend Area Elevation Gain: 1,160’ Elevation: 2,078′ Pass Required: No pass or permit is required for this trail Another popular hike among Washington locals, Rattlesnake Ledge -- while intimidating in its stature -- is a well-maintained trail that welcomes lots of weekend hikers. Up top, you’ll have magnificent views of Rattlesnake Lake, Mount Si, Mount Washington and Cedar River watershed. Try to go early in the morning or on a weekday, as the trail and roads can be uncomfortably congested during the weekend. PRO TIP: Don’t settle for the lower ledge. Going further to the middle or upper ledge will get you away from the crowds and offer better views of the surrounding landscapes.
4) Rachel Lake
Difficulty: Moderate Length: 8.0 miles Round Trip Location: Snoqualmie Region -- Snoqualmie Pass Elevation Gain: 1,600’ Elevation: 4,600′ Pass Required: A Northwest Forest Pass required for this trail While there’s no peak waiting for you at the end, Rachel Lake offers the solitude and serenity the previous two hikes lack . The extra drive is worth it, with this alpine lake offering the perfect spot for a mid-day picnic. Be careful on the final pitch as there are many loose rocks along the trail. PRO TIP: Go later in the summer when the snow has melted and the Forest Service has cleared fallen trees. And stop to enjoy some of the waterfalls along Box Canyon Creek on your drive out for a cool plunge in the water. Just be wary of kayakers.
5) Lake Serene
Difficulty: Difficult Length: 6.8 miles Round Trip Location: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass - West Elevation Gain: 2000’ Elevation: 2,521′ Pass Required: A Northwest Forest Pass required for this trail This appropriately named hike has two sights that compete for your attention: Bridal Veil Falls and Lake Serene. Two hours away from Seattle, this hike is also a very popular attraction and a quick getaway from the big city. Getting started early will improve your chances of scoring a parking spot and a less crowded trail on the hike in. Lake Serene offers breathtaking views of Mt. Index, reflecting across the glass-like water. PRO TIP: Try to make the trek to Bridal Veil Falls on the hike in rather than hike out. Because of its proximity to the trailhead, it’s easier to skip if saved for last. Now that you’ve got 5 new hikes on your to-do list, pack your gear, lace the hiking boots and get out there!