Seattle has a ton of hikes that you’ll love to do in your free time. From the city’s many parks and green spaces to the nearby mountains and forests, there are endless options for day hikes in and around the Seattle area.
I’ve been in the Seattle area my entire life, and I hike every weekend. There are a lot of great trails that I’d like to share with you today from my years of experience.
Whether you’re looking for a leisurely walk or a more challenging hike, I’ve got you covered. Here are nine fantastic day hikes in (and near) Seattle sure to impress you. So lace up your hiking boots and get ready to hit the trails:
- Discovery Park Loop Trail
- Rattlesnake Ledge
- Mount Si
- Twin Falls
- Coal Creek Falls
- Mailbox Peak
- Mount Pilchuck
- Lake 22
- Poopoo Point
1. Discovery Park Loop Trail
Discovery Park Loop is a popular hike located in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, approximately five miles north of downtown. It is the largest city park in Seattle, covering over 500 acres and featuring a 2.8-mile loop trail.
This flat, easy trail takes hikers through the former grounds of Fort Lawton, with grassy fields. There are remnants of the fort’s architecture scattered throughout. The park is a great place for spotting local wildlife, like bald eagles and herons. In addition to the main loop trail, hikers can also explore the North Beach and South Beach trails for even more breathtaking coast views.
The park is easily accessible and is a convenient and scenic escape from the city. Note that it is especially popular on weekends.
Visitors can choose to spend a leisurely afternoon strolling the main loop trail or opt for a longer hike by exploring the park’s many other trails. No matter the length of your hike, make sure to take a detour to the West Point Lighthouse on the Pacific Ocean for a truly memorable experience.
2. Rattlesnake Ledge
Rattlesnake Ledge is a fantastic hike located just under 30 minutes east of Seattle. It offers a somewhat hard, 4-mile roundtrip trek through old-growth forest, culminating in breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains and Rattlesnake Lake.
The trail is steadily uphill but never overly difficult, making it a great option for novice hikers. However, its popularity means that the trail can be crowded, especially on sunny summer days and weekends.
In addition to the hike itself, Rattlesnake Ledge is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. The lake is a popular spot for swimming, fishing, and leisurely walks, and the surrounding area is a beautiful place to take in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Whether you are looking for a challenging hike or just a peaceful escape from the city, Rattlesnake Ledge is a must-visit destination.
3. Little Si & Mount Si
Little Si and Mount Si are two great day hikes located around 37 minutes east of Seattle. Both hikes offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys but vary in difficulty and length.
Little Si is a 3.7-mile roundtrip excursion with around 1,300 feet in elevation gain and is a great option for intermediate hikers. The forested path is well-maintained and features interesting rock formations, making it a popular destination for climbing as well. The top of Little Si offers views of North Bend, the Upper Snoqualmie Valley, and Mount Si to the north.
Mount Si, on the other hand, is a more challenging hike at 8 miles roundtrip and with an elevation gain of around 3,150 feet. It is well-maintained but steep, so you may want to bring poles to support your knees. Despite its difficulty, Mount Si is a very popular hike, with approximately 100,000 people visiting every year. This trail is for those up for a challenge.
Both Little Si and Mount Si are accessed via exit 32 on I-90 and require a Discover Pass for parking. Whether you choose the shorter and more moderate Little Si or the longer and more challenging Mount Si, these hikes will surely provide jaw-dropping views.
4. Twin Falls
Twin Falls is a fantastic trail located just over 30 minutes Southeast of Seattle. It offers a 2.6-mile roundtrip trek through dense forest and along a rushing creek with a stunning set of waterfalls.
The trail is easy for the most part, with only a few steep sections, making it an excellent option for families or those looking for a more leisurely hike. Along the way, hikers will encounter several wooden bridges and a number of scenic viewpoints, making this an excellent place to take some nature photos for Instagram.
5. Coal Creek Falls
Coal Creek Falls is a hidden gem located just over 20 minutes east of Seattle in the Issaquah Alps. It offers a short, 2.5-mile roundtrip hike through dense forest, with a stunning waterfall at the end. The trail isn’t too difficult. It’s more of a relaxing trail. There are many places to take jaw-dropping photos on this trail.
The falls and the surrounding area is a beautiful place to take in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and the pool at the base of the falls is a popular spot for swimming on hot summer days. Please note that swimming is not always safe, so be sure to check the conditions before diving in.
6. Mailbox Peak
Mailbox Peak is a challenging and highly-trafficked day hike located just 40 minutes east of Seattle. It offers a 9.4-mile roundtrip trek through dense forest, with breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and the Middle Fork Valley.
The steep and strenuous trail has an elevation gain of over 4,000 feet, making it a great option for experienced hikers. The trail isn’t always maintained super well, in my experience, so be ready to maneuver around some fallen trees and other obstacles.
I’d say that Mailbox Peak is a great place to test your physical limits and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. Please note that the trail can be crowded, especially on weekends, so consider visiting on a weekday if you seek more solitude.
7. Mount Pilchuck
Mt. Pilchuck is a moderate day hike located just over an hour north of Seattle. It offers a 5.4-mile trek through alpine terrain, with breathtaking panoramic views of nearby mountains, as you can see in my picture.
The trail is relatively steep and intermediate in difficulty, with an elevation gain of 2,300 feet. Despite its difficulty, it’ll pay off if you like mountain views. This trail may be snow-covered, so make sure to check the current conditions before going.
8. Lake 22
The Lake 22 hike is a moderate 5.4-mile out-and-back trail located in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, about an hour and a half Northeast of Seattle.
The trail takes hikers through a variety of landscapes, including alpine wetlands, old-growth forests, and rainforests, providing a diverse and visually stunning experience. The trail is known for its wet and muddy conditions, so it is important to come prepared with waterproof hiking boots.
One of the highlights of the Lake 22 hike is the beautiful lake at the end of the trail. It is a popular destination, and the trail can get busy, but the stunning scenery is worth it.
This trail may also be snow-covered and prone to avalanches in the winter and spring, so it is important to check the conditions before setting out.
9. Poo Poo Point
Poo Poo Point is a fantastic hike located in the Issaquah Alps. It’s about an hour’s drive from Seattle. The hike starts at the Chirico Trailhead and follows the Chirico Trail to Poo Poo Point, named for the sound of the steam whistles of the logging trains made as they descended the hill.
The trail is a moderate 7.2-mile out and back with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
One of my favorite highlights of the Poo Poo Point hike is the opportunity to watch paragliders launch from the point. The area is a popular spot for paragliders due to the steady winds and good launch conditions.
From the top of Poo Poo Point, hikers can also enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area, including Mount Si, Mount Rainier, and the Olympic Mountains.
I’m Joel, and I grew up in Bellevue and frequently visit Seattle, Redmond, and Kirkland for food and activities. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, swimming, movies, and watching sports.