Best Hikes In Washington: The Evergreen State’s Greatest Trails

Looking for the best hikes in The Evergreen State? We're here to help! Our list-style guide includes something for everyone, from short and easy hikes for all the family to calf-and-lung-busting all-day adventures for those who crave a true challenge.

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Washington is a state that seems to have been custom-made for lovers of the outdoors. With rainforests, mountain ranges, and a diverse array of natural ecosystems to look forward to, it offers hikers a little bit of everything.

In our list of the best hikes in Washington, we introduce you to family and pet-appropriate hikes with stunning views, multi-day treks, and even a handful of more challenging trails to explore in Washington State.

Discover the many natural wonders that Washington has to offer in our guide.

RELATED READING: For more outdoor adventure check out our guide to the best camping in Washington State.

The Best Hikes In The Evergreen State: Our Top 14 Picks

1. Diablo Lake Trail, North Cascades National Park, Washington State

Diablo Lake, Washington
You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Diablo Lake on this trail

Near Marblemount, WA, this hike can be found at the Ross Lake National Recreation Area in the North Cascades National Park.

Rated as moderately difficult, this Washington hiking trail is a 7.5-mile round trip with an elevation gain of around 1538 feet. There is no parking pass or entry fee required and furry friends are allowed, but they must be on a leash.

Most of the North Cascades National Park is inaccessible throughout winter and spring. Even when open, you may encounter some snow and it can be tough to follow the trail. However, it’s still an excellent trail to enjoy the rest of the year-round. The route is a little rocky but well marked and easy to follow.

The Diablo Lake Trail leads you up and across a minor uphill gradient on the Sourdough Mountain before then breaking into a stroll through a flat scenic area. Near the end of the trail, there is a steep downhill that you’ll have to climb up on your way back. 

However, the uphill challenge is undoubtedly worth it given the breathtaking wide-open views of waterfalls, Diablo and Ross Lake, and Jack Mountain, with Colonial, Pyramid, and Davis peaks all observable in the distance.

2. Wallace Falls Trail, Wallace Falls State Park, Washington State

Wallace Falls, Washington
The Wallace Falls are just one of the jewels in the crown of this trail

The Wallace Falls name is derived from Kwayaylsh, the name of the first homesteaders in the area. The area is extremely popular, particularly for family outings and dog owners. A Discover Pass is required to park and we recommend you get there early for a more peaceful hike.

Wallace Falls is located near Gold Bar, WA, in Wallace Falls State Park in the Central Cascades. It is a wonderfully maintained, out-and-back round trip of 4.8 miles that’s moderately difficult and offers gorgeous viewpoints and moss-covered trees from top to bottom.

At the half-mile marker, stay to the right at the wooden gate that leads to the Woody Trail for access to Wallace Falls. For more seasoned hikers or cyclists, take the old Railroad Grade Trail for a longer path leading to Lake Wallace.

On your adventure, there will be 1300 feet in elevation gain with switchbacks between the Middle and Upper Falls. Between the Lower and Middle Falls, you will find an epic view of the Skykomish River valley and the Olympic peninsula.

Wallace Falls State Park is incredibly popular to visit from April until November. The neighboring parks are also great for mountain biking, fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking, and even rock climbing.

3. Hoh Rainforest Trail, Olympic National Park, Washington State

Hoh Rainforest Trail, Washington
The near 33 mile Hoh Rainforest Trail is magical from start to finish

The Hoh River Trail is located near Folks, WA, in the Pacific Northwest’s Olympic National Park. It leads to Mount Olympus Blue Glacier with plenty of stops along the way within the deep and utterly delightful rainforest. 

This trail is used for hiking, camping, and backpacking. A National Park Pass is required to park and no dogs are allowed.

It’s a 32.8-mile out-and-back hike with a moderate difficulty rating. It is highly trafficked from April to October. During the winter months, the trail can still be accessed but has been known to flood and can wash out at times.

The biodiversity on the Hoh River Trail is quite spectacular! You will experience gigantic old-growth trees, moss, rivers, waterfalls and lakes, and panoramic views of the Blue Glacier and the Olympic Mountains. Wildlife such as the Roosevelt Elk and a diverse range of birds are often spotted too.

The trail is mostly flat, with the highest elevation on the climb up to Glacier Meadows at 4,300 feet. Campsites are abundant, but during the summer season you will want to have reservations. Both 5-Mile Island and Happy 4 are perfect stops for the night, for lunch or to shelter from the rain. These sites have pit toilets and guaranteed water access.

Further along the trail, you will find backpackers and climbers headed for the Blue Glacier, which is the furthest point on the trail. Packed with gorgeous, cerulean crevasses, the sight of this marvel alone is worth every bit of effort put in to reach it. 

For beginners and avid adventurers alike, the Hoh River Trail is a hike that you will want to cross off your bucket list!

4. Skyline Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State

View of Mount Adams from the Skyline Trail, Washington
On a clear day the views are stunning, in this case showcasing Mount Adams

The Skyline Trail is a 6-mile loop located near Paradise Inn, WA, in Mount Rainier National Park. Skyline is on the south side of the National Park and is the most popular hiking area in the Paradise region. 

This trail is rated as moderately difficult and has an elevation gain of 1,450 feet. It’s mostly used for hiking, camping, and backpacking from July to October. You must have a National Park Pass to park and no dogs are allowed.

The Skyline Trail can be accessed in the winter months, but vehicles must have chains (if not all-wheel drive). For hikes in snowy conditions, it is essential that hikers use microspikes or snowshoes and trekking poles. 

The path begins behind the Jackson Visitor Center and loops around Edith Creek basin. The loop passes through alpine flower meadows and over craggy peaks. The trail also features gorgeous waterfalls and a glacier vista at around 6,300 feet. Marmots are often seen grazing or lazily sun-bathing along the way as well.

We recommended you travel clockwise around the loop, although it can be hiked in either direction. Panorama Point provides spectacular views of Paradise Valley, Mount St.Helens, Mount Adams, and on a clear day, Mount Hood.

5. Cascade Pass Trail, North Cascades National Park, Washington State

Cascade Pass Trail, Washington
The Cascade Pass Trail is very popular so expect it to be busy during the summer months

Cascade Pass Trail is a 7-mile out-and-back trail located near Rockport, WA, in the North Cascades National Park. The path is nestled within an incredible old-growth forest and is rated as moderately difficult. Mostly for day hikers, Cascade Pass is a heavily trafficked area from June through September. 

The first 2.7 miles feature a challenging 30+ switchbacks but persevere and you will be rewarded with incredible views of the Cascade Pass. From there several peaks and glaciers can be admired, including Mixup Peak, Magic Mountain, and Cache Glacier.

Wildlife is abundant here with chipmunks, marmots, pika, deer, mountain goats, and even the occasional bear. 

6. Enchantments Traverse, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

Enchantments Traverse, Washington
The incredible jagged granite peaks and pristine alpine lakes of the aptly named Enchantments

The Enchantments Traverse is an epic 23.6-mile point-to-point path near Leavenworth, WA, in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. This beautiful hike is for experienced adventurers and is used for hiking, rock climbing, camping, and backpacking. A Discover Pass is required to park and no dogs are allowed.

Usually described as one of the “best hikes in Washington State,” the Enchantments is one of the most majestic places in the world thanks to its granite peaks, glaciers, and crystal clear alpine lakes. 

However, a permit is required to camp in this area. They are distributed months in advance and competition to acquire one is fierce. 

There are 3 ways to enter, but for a proper tour, the Snow Lake entrance will bring you through the Enchantments in order, starting with the Lower Enchantments before working your way through to the Upper Enchantments and out via Colchuck Lake.

The permit lottery system will likely decide the direction of your journey for you based on which zones you’re allowed to set up camp in.

If you’re up to the challenge, the Enchantments Traverse can be accomplished as a thru-hike in just one day if you are a particularly strong hiker. If you do try this, you should prepare a pack with plenty of food, water, and gear in case you do have to spend the night.

Campfires are prohibited on the Enchantment Traverse, not only to prevent forest fires but also to eliminate scavenging of deadwood that provides precious organic material to the soil. The restriction includes camp stoves that burn small sprigs and twigs. 

7. Tolmie Peak, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State

Eunice Lake on Tolmie Peak trail, Washington
Eunice Lake is one of many sights to savour on the Tolmie Peak trail

This day hike is a 6.4-mile round trip located near Wilkeson, WA, in Mount Rainier National Park. This path is rated as moderate and used primarily for hiking from June through October. A National Park Pass is required to park and no dogs are allowed.

The trail is located on the north side of Mowich lake and features a mellow 1000 feet of gradual ascent. As you hike past the lake beware of the swarms of mosquitoes, as they enthusiastically greet you. As you gradually gain in elevation beyond Ipsut Pass, you will then arrive at Eunice Lake.

From Eunice Lake, the path to Tolmie Peak curves uphill for another mile. Once there, you will find a panoramic view of the Carbon River Valley to the north and views of Mount Rainier to the south. At 5,900 feet, this location is incredible for sunrises and sunsets.

No camping is available at Tolmie Peak, but the nearby Mowich Campground offers 13 walk-in, primitive campsites. It’s one epic getaway and the perfect location for a few relaxing days with the family or your chums.

Tolmie Peak path typically closes when there is snow. If the road is closed, you have the option to hike 5 miles to the trailhead. Always check road conditions before heading up as the log footbridges frequently wash out and the snow can be deep.

8. Ape Cave Trail, Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington State

Ape Cave lava tube, Washington
Venture underground to walk through the Ape cave lava tube within Mount Saint Helens

Ape Cave is a 3-mile round trip hike located near Cougar, WA, in the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. This is one of the best family-friendly hikes in Washington State, however, no doggos allowed for this one. The area is open from March through October and a Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking.

Ape Cave is a lava tube located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It was formed 2000 years ago by lava streaming down the southern flank of Mount St. Helens.

Discovered in 1951, it’s the longest continuous lava tube in the continental United States. At 2.5 miles long with 433ft of elevation gain, it’s also the third longest lava tube in North America.

The short hike to get there requires some scrambling and squeezing through small spaces to exit the tube. The return hike on the round trip is through a shady forest and lava formations and is far easier-going.

No food or rock collecting is allowed at Ape Cave. Also, do not touch the walls of the tube. It contains cave “slime”, which is a vital source of food for the cave’s fragile ecosystem.

Ape Cave is a constant 42 degrees Fahrenheit. The 6-foot ceiling drips water, so there will be a few puddles. Pack sweaters for the kids and remember to bring a few flashlights or headlamps.

The road leading to the Ape Cave is closed seasonally for snowy conditions. Before you plan your visit, check with the Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument for more information

9. Lake Ann Trail, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State

Lake Anne trail, Washington
A moderately difficult trail best hiked in the summer months

The Lake Anne trail is a 9.5-mile out-and-back hike near Maple Falls, WA. A great area for wildlife sightings, the trail is rated as moderate and is best hiked from July until October. Dogs are allowed on this nature walk and you’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass to park your car.

This trek begins in the cooler temperatures of the woods and descends about 2 miles into a meadow and the banks of Swift Creek. From there, it takes you uphill about 1000 feet in the next two miles through boulder fields and meadows until you reach Lake Ann at roughly 2,400 feet above the trailhead.

Lake Ann wilderness area offers amazing views of Mt.Shuksan and its glaciers. Sometimes you can hear the crashing of ice falling off the glaciers and roaring water from the many waterfalls in the area.

10. Twin Falls, Olallie State Park, Washington

Twin falls, Washington
Hike through lush forest to reach the Twin Falls

Twin Falls is a 3.6-mile out-and-back hiking trail near North Bend, WA, in the Olallie State Park. It is rated as moderate, is perfect for all skill levels which makes Twin Falls a great trail for all the family and dogs too. The area is used for hiking and nature runs with a Discovery Pass required to park.

The Twin Falls hike follows a river up around 967 feet of elevation gain till you reach a sumptuous waterfall. During the hike, you’ll walk through lush forest peppered with wildflowers and rich in wildlife before enjoying beautiful views of the 135-foot Twin Falls.

North Bend is infamous for its blustery winds. You will want to pack some insulating layers as it can get chilly. The footpath is also wet and muddy, so be sure to wear a pair of waterproof boots or hiking shoes.

11. Rattlesnake Ledge, Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area, Washington State

View from Rattlesnake Ledge, Washington
Rattlesnake Ledge is an ideal option for a family day out

Hikes on one of the handful of urban trails in Seattle might be a little tame for some. But in Rattlesnake Ledge we find an awesome, far-from-tame option that at just a 30-minute drive away, is close enough to be considered a “Seattle hike”.

Off the beaten track, Rattlesnake Ledge is 5.1 miles of out-and-back trail near North Bend, WA, in the Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area. 

It’s accessible year-round and is very popular during the summer months. Hike up to Rattlesnake Ridge itself to soak in the amazing panoramic view of Mount Si and Mount Washington. 

This is one of the best trails in Washington State for day hikes and family picnics, dogs on a leash are welcome too! You could also bring along mountain bikes to enjoy any of the multiple hiking trails within the Rattlesnake Ridge area. Or there is also the opportunity to do a spot of kayaking and swimming on the lake.

12. Mount Pilchuck Trail, Washington State

Mount Pilchuck Fire Lookout, Washington
From the Mount Pilchuck Fire Lookout you’ll get sensational panoramic views

The Mount Pilchuck Trail is an out-and-back hike totaling 6 miles located near Granite Falls, WA, in the Mount Pilchuck State Park. The road leading to the trail takes you up to 5,300 feet and since it is not maintained its best traveled with an all-wheel-drive vehicle.

This high-elevation trail is located within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in the North Cascades. It’s highly trafficked from June through October for hiking, running, or snowshoeing. Dogs are allowed on a leash.

This trail is rated moderately difficult owing to the 2,125 feet of elevation gain through rocky terrain and old-growth forests.

At the top of the mountain, you’ll find an old fire lookout tower and breathtaking panoramic views of Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Peninsula to the far west.

13. Steamboat Rock Trail, Steamboat Rock State Park, Washington

Steamboat Rock, Washington
Steamboat rock is awash with wildlife

Steamboat Rock is a 6-mile loop trail near Electric City, WA, in the Steamboat Rock State Park. With only 650 feet of elevation gain, it is rated as moderate and is one of the best hikes in Washington State for family fun, and dogs on a leash can join in too. The area provides a variety of activities and is most popular from March through April for day hikes or campers.

Wildlife sightings are aplenty here and the area is very popular for bird watching. Deer are also often scattered throughout the trees. Keep a watchful eye out for rattlesnakes, as they’re prone to slither onto the paths from time to time.

The start of the trail is sandy and leads to a rocky climb up between cliffs. As you go, be mindful of your footing and the hikers below you. There is also a path that cuts through the center of the rock and allows access to the northern section of the loop overlooking Banks Lake and Grand Coulee.

14. Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington State

Discovery Park, Washington
Staying close to Seattle there’s still a wealth of hiking to be had in Discovery Park

If you don’t have time to head further afield for your hikes, Seattle has its very own quasi-hiking area on your doorstep. Discovery Park in northwest Magnolia might lack the awe-factor of other great Washington State hiking trails on our list, but it has enough options to let you get your fill of nature time without (technically) leaving the city. 

The pick of the bunch is the 2.8-mile Loop Trail, which winds through woods and meadows to a high bluff overlooking Puget Sound offering awesome views of the downtown skyline. It ain’t epic, granted, but as Seattle hikes go, it’s the best.

Related Washington Hiking Trails & Guides

Get Your Wander On In Washington

Now it’s time to go get your wander on and go hiking in Washington! 

Before you go, remember to check the weather forecast and current trail conditions. Pack your 10 essentials and other seasonal gear you might need. And maybe grab a Rainier beer for an after-hike celebration.

We hope you enjoyed our guide to the 14 best hikes in Washington State! If you have any questions drop us a few lines in the comment box below. 

Last update on 2023-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Juliette Avatar

Juliette Constantine grew up camping with her family and snowboarding in Colorado and Southern California. Her love for literature aided by her father’s appreciation for knowledge led her to become passionate about writing.

After receiving a BA in Literature and Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, her love for the outdoors and gear soared when she began working for REI, Inc. Trained by professionals, she learned how outdoor gear is designed and constructed, and how to best outfit adventurers for all their travels. 

Juliette is a trained professional ski boot fitter and Alpine Ski Patroller in the Southern California Division of National Ski Patrol.

When Juliette isn’t writing, she can be found at the beach trying to ride some waves, traveling throughout the US to find first tracks or hiking/ backpacking in the backcountry.

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