The rapidly growing city of Seattle is known for rain, coffee, and the classic movie starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. However, residents and visitors alike also enjoy the vast array of hiking opportunities that lie a short drive away. Whatever your ability level, there is sure to be a day hike nearby for you. Here are five of our favorite hikes just a short drive from Seattle. Treat yourself afterwards with some of Seattle's best coffee.
Get Some Fresh Air On These 5 Seattle Day Hikes
1. Barclay Lake
Located in the Central Cascades, this four-and-a-half-mile hike adds excitement with cedar planks and sturdy logs to traverse. Once you arrive at Lake Barclay, enjoy views of the sparkling water and the mountains. This hike is relatively flat, making it accessible for those who are relatively inexperienced.
2. Franklin Falls
This easy, 2-mile roundtrip hike rewards hikers of all skill levels with views of a 135-foot waterfall. Its location in Snoqualmie Region make it easily accessible from Seattle. At just over 50 miles away, hikers can easily arrive within an hour and a half. Be sure to get there early—there is a parking lot at the trailhead, but this scenic hike can be very popular on nice days.
3. Mount Pilchuck
This popular hike, located in the North Cascades, is 57 miles northeast of Seattle. Scramble up a steep 2.7-mile ascent for panoramic views of Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, and the Olympics. This is an intermediate hike, requiring some stamina and basic knowledge of mountaineering. If you go on a clear day, you will be in good company—this is one of Seattle’s most popular day hikes.
4. Mount Si
45 minutes east of Seattle, Mount Si is a rewarding and enjoyable hike. Between 80,000 and 100,000 hikers visit this mountain each year, making a popular destination all year long. It’s hard to blame these hikers though—this trail is a perfect mix of challenging and accessible. Ambitious hikers can attempt the class 3 scramble to the top of Haystack Rock, which is Mount Si’s true summit, though anyone who reaches the picnic spot will be rewarded with a stunning panorama.
5. Lake Serene
For a longer day, try the 7.2-mile roundtrip hike to Lake Serene. Nestled in the Central Cascades, by Stevens Pass West, this hike is a steady climb to this beautiful alpine lake. Take in the views of Mount Index, which rises 3,000 feet above the water and is likely covered in snow. To add to your hike, follow the signs to Bridal Veil Falls. You can take in the views from far away, or carefully traverse down to the falls for a closer look. Exercise caution here, as the creek moves swiftly and can sweep away inexperienced hikers or children.
This article was written by Missy Fackler.