Seattle is a quintessential city, known for its access to beautiful outdoor recreation. Whether you live here in the Seattle area or are visiting for a weekend, you can always find amazing outdoor activities near you.
Some popular hiking spots around the Seattle area include Discovery Park, North Bend, Tiger Mountain, Cougar Mountain, and of course, Washington’s three National Parks: Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Olympic National Park. Each of these areas includes multiple trail options with varying lengths and activity levels.
Discovery Park is located in Seattle and is roughly 15 minutes away from the Downtown Seattle area. Discovery Park is a great place to experience stunning views of Puget Sound and is known for its beautiful landscape and lighthouse.
The most popular trail at Discovery Park is the Loop Trail. The main Loop Trail is about 2.8 miles long and takes you through forests, meadows, and along the bluffs with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. This hike is great for anyone as the trail remains moderately flat with the elevation gain being 140 feet.
Another popular, longer trail at Discovery Park is the Loop Trail to the Lighthouse. This hike is about 4 miles round trip, leading you to the historic West Point Lighthouse. This trail combines portions of the Loop Trail, along with the lighthouse path.
North Bend offers stunning views with a wide variety of hikes with varying levels of difficulty. A popular hike in North Bend is Mount Si and Little Si. Mount Si is a challenging hike of approximately 8 miles round trip with steep switchbacks and inclines. Little Si is a shorter, less strenuous alternative to Mount Si. Little Si is roughly 5 miles round trip and still provides stunning and rewarding views overlooking the valley.
Rattlesnake Ledge is another popular hike and well-known trail and about 4 miles round trip. This trail offers panoramic views of the Snoqualmie Valley and Rattlesnake Lake. This is a popular but moderately challenging hike.
Some easier hikes in the area include Twin Falls and Franklin Falls. Each trail is less than 3 miles round-trip and leads to beautiful waterfalls.
North Bend is located slightly over 30 minutes away from Downtown Seattle.
Both Tiger Mountain and Cougar Mountain, located near Issaquah, are popular hiking destinations and are part of the Issaquah Alps. Trails like the Tiger Mountain Trail, Poo Poo Point, West Tiger Mountain, Wilderness Creek Trail, Red Town Trail, and the Anti-Aircraft Peak Loop offer stunning views and diverse terrain.
Both Tiger Mountain and Cougar Mountain are less than 30 minutes away from downtown Seattle and are worth the drive.
Each National Park offers amazing views with incredible hikes. When it comes to deciding which National Park is worth your visit, here are some things to consider.
Mount Rainier is an iconic volcano and is the most prominent peak in the Cascade Range standing at 14,411 feet above sea level. This National Park features vibrant wildflower meadows, glaciers and ice caves, hiking trails, wildlife, incredible waterfalls, and historic lodges and visitor centers. Mount Rainier National Park was established in 1899, making it the fifth national park in the United States. This National Park is 1 hour and 50 minutes from Downtown Seattle.
North Cascades National Park is known for its rugged mountain landscapes. This park is often referred to as the “American Alps” due to its resemblance to the European Alps and encompasses over 684,000 acres of protected wilderness. This National Park features incredible hikes and backcountry experiences and contains over 300 glaciers, making up approximately 30% of the park’s area. The Pacific Crest Trail also passes through this park. North Cascades National Park is 2 hours and 5 minutes from Downtown Seattle.
Olympic National Park is known for its diverse ecosystems, encompassing rugged coastlines, lush rainforests, alpine meadows, and glacier-capped peaks. The park’s centerpiece is Mount Olympus, rising to 7,980 feet, and is the tallest peak in the Olympic Mountains. This park is famous for its lush rainforests and is one of the few places in the world where visitors can experience three distinct ecosystems nearby. This National Park is 2 hours and 10 minutes from Downtown Seattle.