Best Hikes Near Seattle  by Peter Stekel

Best Hikes Near Seattle Guide Book

by Peter Stekel (Falcon Guides)
Best Hikes Near Seattle  by Peter Stekel
Best Hikes Near Seattle is more than a guidebook to trails 60 minutes or 60 miles from Seattle. The book also includes short natural history essays on topics as diverse as the sex life of banana slugs, to how plants get their names, and why you should respect but not fear bears and mountain lions. There is also an extensive section of weather, trail etiquette, hiking with dogs, what constitutes the “Ten Essentials,” why judging trail mileage is an art – not a science, the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest, and the value of hikers lobbying for wilderness. The author also presents a history, warts and all, of the drive to operate our hiking trails as profit points for land-use agencies. And of course, as with all of the books in the Best Hikes series, useful trail specs and hike summaries are accompanied by easy-to-read maps and stunning photos.

© Second Edition Peter Stekel/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Hikes Near Seattle" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 42.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 42.

The Alki Beach Trail draws people year-round and is one of the most popular walks anywhere in Seattle. Summer crowds are definitely a hindrance, but Alki is a great place for leg-stretching the rest of the year. Views are just as good—even better when winter snow covers the Olympics. Walk, jog, or bring your bike. Exercise the dog, or come down for a cuppa joe and some fish-and-chips.
Seattle, WA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 7
Getting prepared for the hiking season can involve time in the gym. But time spent on a treadmill or stair-climbing machine isn’t very interesting. Fortunately Seattle is blessed in having some steep hills. Though the hills stymied road building, our city fathers saw to it that pedestrians were provided with stairs. Such wisdom! And what better way to get in shape than to utilize those stairs? Adjacent to Alki Beach are two tall sets of nearly 200 stairs to climb. Combine them with a pleasant walk in a quiet neighborhood.
Seattle, WA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 2.5
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This popular and well-known trail has everything: a rushing and thundering creek, waterfalls, old-growth forest, wildflowers, views, camping, and a lake. Find the Annette Lake Trail at the southeast end of the parking lot between the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail and a gated, wide gravel road. Begin your 1,200-foot climb to Annette Lake by ascending to the sound of I-90 on a narrow, well-trod forest path. In a hundred feet is a self-serve trail register. Cross Humpback Creek on a stout new log bridge funded in part in 2003 by the Spring Trust for Trails.
North Bend, WA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 7.2
Fantastic springtime wildflower displays and distant views are the order of the day on Bandera Mountain, but hikers have to work hard for it. The steep trail gains nearly 3,000 feet in 3.0 miles and hopscotches over talus, never actually reaching the true summit. But views to the south of Mount Rainier and Mount Adams, west to the Olympics, and north to Mount Baker (even Vancouver Island on especially clear mornings) are stunning nonetheless and negate the noise of cars whooshing by on Interstate 90 far below.
North Bend, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6
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This is actually two hikes. The first hike, to Barclay Lake, is an easy trail, suitable for young children. It has the added bonus of a lake with a shallow shoreline, large campsites, a designated day-use area, pit toilet, and the possibility of catching fish. The hike to Eagle Lake begins from Barclay Lake and gains nearly 1,500 feet in elevation on a trail that goes straight up. It is recommended only for hikers with experience in route-finding. Even in late spring the upper reaches of the trail in the vicinity of Stone and Eagle Lakes are snow-covered, and a 500-foot ascent through talus may be required.
Index, WA - Hiking
The Oxford English Dictionary tells us there are at least a quarter of a million distinct English words, excluding words from technical and regional vocabularies. With that amazing richness, why are so many rocky bodies of water named Boulder River or Boulder Lake? No matter. All is not in a name, as you will discover from this lightly used trail. The rich understory, experienced only in old-growth forests—something you will see in abundance here—is delightfully refreshing. The nine designated campsites (closed from October 15 to June 15) at Boulder Lake have dynamite views of the lake basin and surrounding cirque.
Sultan, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.8
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An easy-to-moderate half-day walk along the old Milwaukee Railroad grade, which ends with a dynamic view up the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley. The trail is a combination of old railroad grade and forest path. The mix of deep Douglas fir and western hemlock forest with sun breaks and red alder thickets creates good opportunities for bird-watching. This great early- or off-season hike is always accessible, even when snow covers every other trail in the area.
North Bend, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 3.7
What a beautiful place—and so close to town! So unbelievably quiet, too. Adminis- tered by Metro-King County, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park has 35 miles of wooded trails. There are lots of turns on this excursion, so keep your map and these instructions handy. It’s not easy to get lost, even though the trails on this part of Cougar Mountain seem to go in every direction. If you’re confused, simply turn around and head back the way you came. Every walk here is a great walk, even if you end up seeing it from both directions. Be aware that several of the trails on this route have similar names.
Issaquah, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 6.2
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Take a walk on the wild side—trail that is! The way to De Leo Wall and an outstanding view toward Mount Rainier, Renton, and bits of Lake Washington begins with a challenging array of trail junctions. A good map gets you through the worst of it and leads to everything that makes Cougar Mountain special: quiet and solitude; trails that eschew the up, up, and away nature of Cascade Mountain trails; and, at De Leo Wall Viewpoint, some unusual drier habitat with distinctive flora. All this, plus it’s close to town and easily accessible.
Issaquah, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Trail Running - Trail Length: 4.5
Rather than rushing across Stevens Pass, try a side trip to Deception Falls. This short, family-centric walk to some gorgeous waterfalls also provides an abundance of picnic places, a covered picnic area at the parking lot, and several vault toilets—all of which make Deception Falls a nice place for stopping while on a long drive. The waterfalls aren’t too shabby either! From the picnic area, drop down a paved trail for 100 feet to the first of two signed junctions. Go straight ahead, toward the lower falls. For the loop trail, turn left (northwest). In another 100 feet continue straight at a second signed trail junction, toward the upper falls. Turning left (north) is a shortcut to the lower falls and loop trail.
Skykomish, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.5
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This trail does nothing but go up until there is no more up to go—gaining 3,000 feet in less than 4 miles. The elevation gain and constantly walking over loose cobbles on the barest excuse for a trail make this route more challenging than Mount Si or McClellan Butte. But the views in all directions from the summit of Dirty Harry’s Peak are stunning, and you’re unlikely to run into other people up there. Ignore any flagging you see, and stick to the defined trail.
North Bend, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.2
Discovery Park is a 534-acre natural area operated by Seattle Parks and Recreation. At one time it was all part of Fort Lawton, a U.S. Army base. Something curious happened there late one moonless night on August 14, 1944: Private Guglielmo Olivotto, an Italian prisoner of war quartered at Fort Lawton, was found lynched in a ravine above the beach. It is the largest city park in Seattle, and occupies most of the former Fort Lawton site. Discovery Park (open daily 4 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.) is one of the darkest places in Seattle, making it ideal for observing owls and nighttime celestial events like meteor showers, planets, and the aurora borealis during the occasional times it comes to town.
Seattle, WA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 6
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The very popular walk to Heather Lake is short, but it’s a classic: old-growth and mature second-growth forest, perennial creeks, peekaboo views, and a lake situated in a beautiful setting. Mount Pilchuck towers above, and a long ribbon of water falls into the lake. Midsummer swimming is always a possibility, and anglers are known to frequent the lake nearly year-round. Wildflower displays along the rocky shoreline are usually pretty good, as is berry picking in the fall.
Granite Falls, WA - Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 6.1
A mostly level walk though thick second-growth forest on the old Great Northern Railroad route is the prime reason for hiking the Iron Goat Trail. But there are also dazzling displays of wildflowers during spring, extensive views up and down the Skykomish River Valley, and a rich human history replete with great tragedy—all of which contributes to bring people to the trail. There are also many opportunities for loop hikes, but this particular hike makes a one-way trip from Martin Creek to the Wellington townsite and trailhead, requiring a car shuttle.
Skykomish, WA - Hiking,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 6
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Because it begins by climbing a clear-cut hillside, this isn’t as popular a route as found elsewhere around Snoqualmie Pass. But that prejudice aside, the trail soon enters an old-growth forest and leads to a beautiful lake surrounded by awesome cliffs and craggy mountains. Along the way are dynamite views across the spine of the Cascades plus a shot at Mount Rainier. Wildflowers are abundant during summer in wet meadows surrounding Twin Lakes and the talus field below Lillian Lake.
Snoqualmie Pass, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 9
Where the North and South Fork Skykomish Rivers come together, passengers in cars motoring along U.S. Highway 2 are treated to an amazing sight. To the south all eyes find it hard to miss the Yosemite-like visual delight of Bridal Veil Falls leaping a thousand feet into space with a series of foamy cataracts from its source in Lake Serene. Visiting the lake during the week or in the off-season, it’s a serene experience as well, albeit a tough and exhausting one. But Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls are extremely popular places to visit, so hikers must be in a sharing mode on weekends.
Index, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.5
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Lake Twenty-two has a well-justified reputation for being the most popular trail in the Stillaguamish Valley. It’s loved by all kinds of hikers, from families with small children through mountaineers, because of its accessibility. Because of this heavy use, the trail shows constant evidence of being upgraded with new switchbacks, water bars and boardwalks—especially around the lake perimeter. Clearly, what makes this hike exciting is the nice forest, high quality of boardwalks, and the ability to walk all the way around Lake Twenty-two and stare up the steep walls comprising the basin.
Granite Falls, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.4
Under the shadow of its bigger brother, Little Si is so tiny, so close. Whether you need a quickie in the forest after a hard day at the office or an interesting walk with young children, Little Si is a perfect fit. Its accessibility to Seattle makes it more of an urban walk than a wilderness hike, and this popularity is reflected by a wide and beaten down track and a thirty-car parking area with a lot of turnover—and not of the pastry kind. Nevertheless, this is still a very pretty route to take, and views from the top are just as good as from Mount Si—and much less work!
North Bend, WA - Climbing,Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 3
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Reaching Margaret Lake occupies much of the same trail as getting to Lake Lillian, with the added pleasure of being a shorter hike. Another major difference between the destinations is that past the junction with Margaret Lake, the trail to Lake Lillian is steep, rough, and in many places almost straight up and down. In comparison, the entire way to Margaret Lake is along a nice and easy-to-follow route. In autumn an immense slope of huckleberries at Margaret Lake makes for good grazing. The lake is also a suitable swimming hole in summer. Begin walking along this old road, now Trail 1332, through a forest of vine maple (Acer circinatum), willow (Salix sp), red alder (Alnus rubra), and maturing Douglas fir and mountain hemlock. Despite opportunities to turn off, stay on the main road until you reach a junction marked by a fi berglass Forest Service stick-sign announcing a hikers-only trail.
Snoqualmie Pass, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
Mount Defiance is prominently displayed to motorists heading west on Interstate 90. They never suspect the peak harbors vast fields of wildflowers or views that stretch south to north from Oregon to Canada and west to east from the Olympic Mountains to eastern Washington. Strong hikers frequently make the round-trip journey to Mount Defiance in one day, but it’s much more pleasant as an overnight excursion, with a stay at Mason Lake. There are many options to continue on as a multiday backpack trip.
North Bend, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.4
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