Washington State, the evergreen state, is home to some of the most beautiful hikes and trails throughout the Pacific Northwest. From the forests surrounding Mt. Rainier to the coastal headlands along the Puget Sound, it is difficult to compare the landscape of Washington State to anywhere else in the world.
For those visiting Washington State, or for those already residing, there are an array of hikes and trails that can be explored in just an afternoon. As well as there are also more enduring hikes that can be traveled throughout an entire weekend. Here are just a few of some of Washington State’s most popular hikes and trails.
Greenwater Lakes – Mt. Rainier, Washington
The Greenwater Lakes trail is a great family-friendly hike. The trail is home to a wonderful array of wildlife, old growth trees, two calm lakes, and a river that runs from mostly glacier melt in the spring and summer months from Mt. Rainier. The Greenwater Lakes trail is one of the most popular trails in Washington State especially for those visiting Mt. Rainier because of the easy terrain and fantastic scenery that makes for excellent photos.
The Greenwater Lakes trail is four miles round trip and takes an estimated two hours to complete. The elevation gain along the trail is 200 feet with the highest point at just 2,800 feet. Although the Greenwater Lakes trail is a year round trail the best months to hike are the spring and summer months specifically for the wildlife and shrubbery that come out from the cold winter months.
Ranger Creek Trail – Mt. Rainier, Washington
For those visiting Mt. Rainier looking for a more enduring hike Ranger Creek Trail is the one to choose. Ranger Creek Trail is one of the quieter hikes mostly because of the long stretches of terrain between landmarks making this trail popular amongst mountain bikers. However, prepare to bring a bike lock because only a portion of the Ranger Creek Trail is kind to mountain bikes. The remaining portion of the trail consists of continuous switchbacks as the trail gradually increases in elevation.
The Ranger Creek Trail is 11.6 miles round trip and takes roughly eight hours to complete depending if mountain bikes are brought along. The elevation gain during the trail is 2,720 feet and the highest point is 5,520 feet. The Ranger Creek Trail is open to hikers between mid May to October. Be sure to bring a backpack with supplies and a camera if taking this trail.
Rattlesnake Ledge – Snoqualmie Pass – North Bend, Washington
Rattlesnake Ledge is home to one of the most beautiful and magnificent views in Washington State. At the end of trail lies a colossal stone that overlooks the Rattlesnake Lake, Snoqualmie River, and Snoqualmie River Valley. The stone is big enough to explore around, sit atop, and even take photos of the breathtaking scenery that lies far below.
The Rattlesnake Ledge trail is four miles roundtrip and should take roughly two hours to complete. However, much time will be spent gazing at the miraculous view at the end of the trail so prepare for a hike that will be longer than two hours. The elevation gain on this trail is 1,160 feet and although sounds like quite an amount the hike itself is actually family friendly, so feel free to bring the little ones. The highest point on the trail, that is Rattlesnake Ledge itself, is 2,078 feet. The best time to hike this trail is during the spring and summer months for a chance to catch a glimpse of the wildlife such as deer, elk, and even chipmunks.
Deception Pass Rosario Head – Puget Sound and Islands, Washington
Deception Pass is one of Washington State’s most popular state parks because it is home to some of the oldest evergreens, coastal headlands, and spectacular mountain views. Deception Pass has over 40 miles of trails that expand over 4,000 acres of land. Unlike many other state parks throughout Washington State the Deception Pass state park also includes a lighthouse on the Lighthouse Point trail.
The Deception Pass Rosario Head trail is the most popular trail at Deception Pass state park and intersects with the Headlands trail and the Lighthouse Point trail. The Rosario Head trail is family friendly and is just five miles roundtrip and should take an afternoon to complete. The elevation gain during the trail is 350 feet with the highest point at just 110 feet. If planning a longer trip pack sleeping bags and tents and visit the campgrounds for an overnight stay.
Hurricane Hill – Olympia, Washington
The Hurricane Hill trail located in the Olympic National Park, near the Washington State Capitol, is one of the most family friendly trails for those visiting the state capital Olympia, Washington. The Hurricane Hill trail provides a 360 degree panoramic view that covers the Puget Sound, the Olympic Range, and Vancouver Island.
The Hurricane Hill trail is 3 miles roundtrip and takes between one and three hours to complete. The elevation gain is 950 feet with the highest point reaching at 5,757 feet. Not only does this trail provide a spectacular view throughout the Olympic high country but also glimpses of wildlife, wildflowers, and endless meadows. Hurricane Hill is accessible year round however; bring sturdy snowshoes if hiking in the winter months.
“Hiking in the Mt. Rainier National Park Area.” VisitRainier
“Rattlesnake Ledge.” Washington Trails Association
“Deception Pass Headlands – Rosario Head – Lighthouse Point.” Washington Trails Association
“Hiking in Olympic National Park.” EveryTrail