5 of the Best Hiking Trails Near Seattle

hiking trails near seattle
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Seattle offers an array of things to do for people of all ages and activity levels.  If you’re a city person, you can spend time exploring the city discovering coffee shops, sweet shops, tourist attractions, and more!  If you’re big on drinking, Seattle has both a large brewery scene and winery scene.  Prefer water activities?  Because Seattle is located on the Puget Sound there are endless water activities to participate in.  And if you prefer the mountains?  Well, there are endless hiking trails near Seattle.

A trip to Seattle wouldn’t be complete without also exploring the incredible nature around the city.  To the west, you have Olympic National Park.  To the south, you have Mt Rainier National Park.  And to the northeast, you have North Cascades National Park and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  Within these parks and forests, there are hundreds of hiking trails to be found.  While there are hundreds of hikes in Washington, below you’ll find a list of the best hikes near Seattle.

 

5 of the Best Hiking Trails Near Seattle (from closest to furthest away)

 

1. Lake Serene Trail and Bridal Veil Falls

misty and foggy view of lake serene before the sun rises

Located 54 miles northeast of Seattle in Snohomish County, in Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Lake Serene is an incredible alpine lake nestled in the Cascade Mountains.  The trail is 10.2 miles out and back (with both the lake and waterfall included), with a 3,261-foot elevation gain, and is rated as hard on AllTrails.  To hike Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls you’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass.  An annual pass costs $30 and can be purchased here.  If you plan to tackle both Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls, which I recommend since you’re in the area, I’d start by making it to the top of the lake before turning around and hitting the waterfall.  Once you come back down the mountain towards your car there will be a turn-off point to access the waterfall.

walking across a bridge in the mountains as the sun begins to peak through the pine trees

Because of the proximity of this trail to the city, Lake Serene is one of the more popular hikes near Seattle.  I’d recommend heading there around sunrise so that you can be at the top of the mountain before the crowds show up.  There are both a parking lot and restrooms at the trailhead and restrooms located at the top once you near the lake.

 

2. Lake 22

incredible view of lake 22 with mount pilchuk in the back

Located 64 miles north of Seattle on Mount Pilchuck, in Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Lake 22 is a serene and peaceful alpine lake.  The trail is a 7-mile loop (if you walk the 1-mile around the lake), with a 1,453-foot elevation gain, and is rated as moderate on AllTrails.  Like Lake Serene, a Northwest Forest Pass is also required for Lake 22.

sitting on a dock overlooking lake 22 with mount pilchuk in the background

Because Lake 22 is one of the easier Seattle hikes and is located near the city, trails can be crowded and busy.  I’d recommend hiking early when the sunrises to avoid most crowds that head to Lake 22 around lunchtime.  There are a parking lot and restrooms located at the trailhead.

 

3. Oyster Dome

views of the puget sound and san juan islands from the top of oyster dome

One of my favorite day hikes near Seattle, Oyster Dome is located 79 miles north of Seattle outside of Bellingham.  The Oyster Dome trail is an out and back trail rated as moderate.  The hike is around 8-miles where you’ll gain 1,965-feet of elevation.  If 8-miles is too long, instead you can park at the Samish Overlook and take the 3.6-mile trail up from there.  If you choose to do the full 8-miles, you can park on the side of the highway and start hiking up the “PNW Trail”, until it splits off to Oyster Dome.  For this hike, you need a Discover Pass which costs $10 for one day or $30 for a year.  You can purchase the Discover Pass here.

sunset at oyster dome making the sky a pinkish, purple, orange color

Once you get to the top of Oyster Dome you’ll be rewarded with views overlooking the Puget Sound.  If it’s a clear enough day you can see clear out to the San Juan Islands.  For the best views, I’d recommend hiking on a clear day and plan to arrive at the top of Oyster Dome at sunrise or sunset.  Be wary of hiking in the dark!

 


For a complete guide to Oyster Dome including other things to do around the area, check out A Day Trip to Deception Pass State Park + Hiking Oyster Dome


 

4. Silver Falls + Grove of the Patriarchs

Located 95 miles southeast of Seattle near Packwood, Washington, Silver Falls Trail + Grove of the Patriarchs is found in Mt Rainier National Park.  While these are both two separate trails, you can combine them for a longer trail.  Silver Falls trail is a 4-mile loop, with a 705-foot elevation gain, and is rated as easy on AllTrails.  Silver Falls in a giant waterfall and the hike will take you along the Ohanapecosh River.

suspension bridge over a river in the middle of a forest

Grove of the Patriarchs is a 1.2-mile out and back trail, with an elevation gain of 45 feet, and is rated as easy on AllTrails.  Grove of the Patriarchs will take through thousand-year-old cedar and douglas fir trees.  To combine Silver Falls and Grove of the Patriarchs, once you get to the waterfall continue hiking.  In a short while, you will pass over the highway and back into the forest.  Here you’ll see a suspension bridge that will take you over the river to Grove of the Patriarchs.  Combining these two hikes is about 6-miles out and back (if you don’t loop around the waterfall).

river running through a mountain

Because of the simplicity of both trails, you will notice a lot of foot traffic.  While dogs aren’t allowed, the trails are kid-friendly.  There is parking around both trailheads and you will need a Northwest Forest Pass, which is mentioned above.

 

5.  Lower Lena Lake

an overlook looking down at an alpine lake

Located 120 miles west of Seattle, Lena Lake is in Olympic National Park.  It is a 6.6-mile out and back trail, with a 1,610-foot elevation gain, and is rated as moderate on AllTrails.  Once you get to the top, there’s an overlook looking over an alpine lake.  It is possible to hake down to the lake if you want to get closer.  If you wish to go further, there is also an Upper Lena Lake that you’ll need a backcountry permit for, which you can find details about here.  There are also campgrounds available at both Upper and Lower Lena Lake if you wish to spend the night.

a forest in the olympic national park

You will need a Northwest Forest Pass (details above), to hike Lena Lake.  There are both parking and restrooms available at the trailhead.  Because this hike is located further from the other Seattle area hikes, there are fewer crowds and foot traffic, especially if you’re hiking during the week.

 


For a complete guide to Lena Lake including other things to do around the area, check out Exploring Lena Lake, Hama Hama Oyster, and Bainbridge Island


 

Washington is an incredibly diverse state and if you visit Seattle, I hope that you utilize this guide to get out of the city and explore the surrounding areas.

 

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Kylee is a traveling Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) nurse with a love for solo travel, wine, and Taylor Swift. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia. Passports and Preemies was created as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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