One of the wonderful things about the Pacific Northwest is its close proximity to the outdoors. Whether it’s lakes, beaches, mountains, or forests, the Pacific Northwest has it all, and many of these outdoor spots are relatively close to Seattle. If you’re into hiking and the outdoors, here are five hikes near Seattle that you need to check out.
Hoh Rainforest at Olympic National Park
The Hoh Rainforest is unique as it is one of only a few temperate zone rain forests in the world. While you won’t find any monkeys or elephants here, you will find an abundance of lush evergreens, as well as deer and elk that call the rainforest their home. The park is accessible by way of Port Angeles, and there are several drive up camping locations for those interested in a relatively easy camping experience. If you’d rather opt for a more rugged experience, you can hike further into the park and do some back-country camping.
The Puget Sound is home to a number of islands off the coast of Seattle. Whidbey Island, just west of Seattle, has several state parks that visitors can enjoy, including Deception Pass State Park, Fort Ebey State Park, and South Whidbey Island State Park. These parks offer stunning beaches and views of the Puget Sound. Additionally, Penn Cove, which is located in the northern part of the island, is known for its seafood, particularly mussels. Whidbey Island is accessible by ferry ride from downtown Seattle. However, if you’re wanting a more scenic route, you can head north of Seattle and then west towards Deception Pass. Going this route will take you through some quaint towns, including La Connor, a small yet historic seaside town in western Washington.
For a more well-trodden yet breathtakingly beautiful hike, head east of Seattle along I-90 towards Snoqualmie Falls. The falls is a favorite among locals and visitors. The hike towards Snoqualmie Falls is relatively easy, and once there, you can dip your feet in the water and enjoy the spray from the 269 feet high waterfalls. This is a popular hike for kids and families.
Also east of Seattle, along Highway 2, is the town of Leavenworth. Set within the mountains of the Cascades, and known by tourists as a Bavarian village, the locals know it as a great starting point for nature hikes. There are plenty of hiking trails to choose from. Visitors can go along the Hidden Lake route, or follow the old trail of the Great Northern Railroad. For a more challenging hike, follow the Icicle Ridge trail, which increases in elevation to give you aerial views of the town and its surroundings.
Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park
One of the most beautiful hikes in the Pacific Northwest is the area known as Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park. Paradise is located on the south side of Mount Rainier, at about 5,000 feet, and is accessible by car. The area is known for its stunning views of Mount Rainier peak, as well as its peaceful alpine meadows. Several trails heading up and around the mountain begin at the Paradise Jackson Visitors Center. From the visitors center, hikers can choose to hike to Pinnacle Peak, where they can get better views of Mount Rainier or Mount Adams. Or if they want something a little easier, they can hike laterally towards the nearby Myrtle Falls.
The Pacific Northwest is a great place to experience the outdoors, and one popular outdoor activity is hiking the many parks in the area. With so many national parks and state parks to choose from, finding great hikes near Seattle is an easy task to accomplish.
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