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Hiking in Washington

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A land where glaciated peaks rise abruptly from densely forested slopes, gigantic, active volcanoes dominate the horizon and regions of vast wilderness promise adventures of the finest vintage, walks in Washington are extraordinarily diverse. Trails explore temperate rainforests, high mountain passes, a stunning coastline and beguiling woodland.

There’s everything from short, scenic ambles to gruelling backcountry hikes that get the heart pumping and the soul soaring. Discover the Pacific Coast, where sheer islands tower above the rolling waves. You’ll fall hopelessly in love with the state’s three national parks, all of which promise unforgettable days amongst magnificent mountain scenery.

Hikes in Washington take you into powerfully dynamic landscapes. Ephemeral waterfalls cascade from rock walls in spring, the land glows in autumn and winter ushers in a white wonderland. The Pacific Ring of Fire runs straight through the state; its great volcanic bastions, still geologically active, are an inspirational sight.

Intermediate
03:11
5.71 mi
Intermediate
02:58
5.20 mi
Intermediate
03:56
5.99 mi
Difficult
05:50
7.54 mi
Intermediate
02:17
4.49 mi
Easy
00:51
2.07 mi
Easy
01:52
4.21 mi
Intermediate
02:28
4.78 mi
Intermediate
01:28
2.82 mi
Easy
00:56
1.98 mi
Intermediate
04:19
7.20 mi
Difficult
04:35
6.84 mi
Intermediate
03:31
8.50 mi
Intermediate
03:40
6.55 mi
Intermediate
02:21
3.66 mi
Easy
01:15
3.06 mi
Intermediate
03:05
5.10 mi
Intermediate
03:19
6.10 mi
Intermediate
02:37
4.96 mi
Difficult
07:57
8.08 mi

Top 20 best walks and hikes in Washington

    1
    Intermediate
    03:11
    5.71 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,625 ft
    1,625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    2
    Intermediate
    02:58
    5.20 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,575 ft
    1,575 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
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  • 3
    Intermediate
    03:56
    5.99 mi
    1.5 mph
    1,525 ft
    1,525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    4
    Difficult
    05:50
    7.54 mi
    1.3 mph
    2,975 ft
    2,975 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    5
    Intermediate
    02:17
    4.49 mi
    2.0 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    6
    Easy
    00:51
    2.07 mi
    2.4 mph
    50 ft
    50 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    7
    Easy
    01:52
    4.21 mi
    2.3 mph
    375 ft
    375 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    8
    Intermediate
    02:28
    4.78 mi
    1.9 mph
    925 ft
    900 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    9
    Intermediate
    01:28
    2.82 mi
    1.9 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    10
    Easy
    00:56
    1.98 mi
    2.1 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    11
    Intermediate
    04:19
    7.20 mi
    1.7 mph
    2,500 ft
    2,500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    12
    Difficult
    04:35
    6.84 mi
    1.5 mph
    2,275 ft
    2,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    13
    Intermediate
    03:31
    8.50 mi
    2.4 mph
    200 ft
    200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    14
    Intermediate
    03:40
    6.55 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,975 ft
    1,975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    15
    Intermediate
    02:21
    3.66 mi
    1.6 mph
    850 ft
    850 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    16
    Easy
    01:15
    3.06 mi
    2.5 mph
    25 ft
    25 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    17
    Intermediate
    03:05
    5.10 mi
    1.6 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    18
    Intermediate
    03:19
    6.10 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    19
    Intermediate
    02:37
    4.96 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    20
    Difficult
    07:57
    8.08 mi
    1.0 mph
    4,300 ft
    4,300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

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More Information

Adventures on the Ring of Fire

The highest peaks in Washington are the iconic volcanoes of the High Cascades. Emblematic of the region, glacier capped Mount Rainier, at 14,411 feet (4,392 m), is a truly sensational sight. Its huge topographic prominence means that it absolutely dominates the surrounding national park. Walks in Washington don’t get much better than those found here. Its lower reaches are cloaked by ancient woodland and encircled by gorgeous wildflower meadows. It’s worth noting that you will need to apply for a permit if you plan to camp within the national park.

Further south, Mount St Helens is most famous for the devastating eruption that ripped the volcano apart in 1980. Its north facing aspect is a haunting sight to behold on a ramble; it’s as if some giant has gouged out half the mountain.

The Olympic and North Cascades National Parks

The Cascade Mountains cleave the state in two, with the land to the west exposed to weather fronts rolling in off the Pacific, whilst the drier lands to the east remain sheltered. The North Cascades National Park boasts the most rugged mountains on mainland USA. Many of the best hiking trails in Washington explore these spectacular peaks, whilst their 300 glaciers feed the majestic waterfalls, rushing rivers and turquoise lakes the region is known for.

To the west of Seattle and the complex, fjord-like stretch of Puget Sound is the magnificently diverse Olympic National Park. The mossy trails that explore the temperate Hoh Rainforest are uniquely charming. As well as this, there’s almost a million acres of wilderness, glacier-capped peaks and dense coniferous forest, meaning you’ll never run out of opportunities for adventure. And let’s not forget the 70 miles of wild Pacific coastline, featuring beautiful beaches and rocky island sentinels that rise dramatically just off the shoreline.

When to strap those hiking boots on

Hikes in Washington are most popular during the drier months of July and August. If you don’t mind occasionally braving the elements, spring is the time when glacial melt sets the waterfalls in motion, whilst autumn’s colours are magical well into October.

Parks remain open during the winter, but snowfall does often limit road access and makes higher trails impassable to all but skilled and equipped mountaineers. As for year-round accommodation, Washington’s inns and lodges offer a comfy bed, great food and that famously friendly American hospitality.


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