5 of the Best Hikes/Trails in Washington State

andrewling

Whether you were born and raised in Washington State or just moved here, these are five beautiful hikes you can get out and do. Although there are countless beautiful hikes throughout the state, we complied this list based on lesser known (more secret-ish) hikes that aren't as jam packed as some of the overpopulated trails!

Note that many of these hikes are best accesssed in the summer, so save this page for next season, or if you're feeling adventerous, get out there now and really beat the crowds!

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Photo: Washington Trails Association

1. Park Butte (North Cascades, Mount Baker Area) 7.5 miles, roundtrip. Elevation gain, 2200 feet. Highest point, 5450 feet. Best season, summer to fall.

This stunning hike is just south of Mount Baker. It is a great place for a day hike, or backpack in and spend the night here. Along with panoramic views of Mount Baker and the North Cascade range, the route up to Park Butte offers campsites, wildflower filled meadows, waterfalls, and a variety of mushroom species!

Photo: Washington Trails Association

2. Kendall Katwalk (Central Cascades, Snoqualmie Pass. Length, 12.0 miles, roundtrip. Elevation gain, 2,600 feet. Highest point, 5,400 feet. Best Season, July to September.

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Photo: Washington Trails Association

Kendall Katwalk is actually a section of the famous Pacifict Crest Trail (PCT) just north of Snoqualmie Pass. This can be a narrow and rocky trail at times, so it may not be for the faint of heart! The beautiful trail includes old-growth forest, wildflowers, and stunning panoramic views of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

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Photo: Washington Trails Association

3. Olympic Peninsula (Varous areas around the coast, up to 37.0 miles roundtrip. Elevation gain, up to 3,700 feet. Highest point, up to 4,300 feet. Year round!).

There is just something magical about Washington's coast. Maybe it was that scenes from Twilight were filmed here. The Olympic Peninsula in Washington is home to the Hoh rainforest, with huge trees, cascading moss, herds of elk, and the Olympic Mountains rising above it all. In between the land sits a broad river valley filled with salmon migrating upriver throughout the year to spawn (several different species including Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Chum, etc.).

With so many hikes to choose from, many people forget about the coast itself, also great for kids! Many other activities here in addition to hiking are available--such as fishing, camping, clamming, tidepooling, stargazing, etc.! This whole area can be great/enjoyed year-round. It will definitely be chilly/windy in the fall/winter though, so dress appropriatey!

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Photo: Washington Trails Association

4. Burroughs Mountain (Mount Rainier National Park) Length, 9.0 miles, roundtrip. Elevation gain, 2,500 feet. Highest point, 7,828 feet. Best season, July to October.

Start from the Sunrise Visitor Center (open only during late summer/early fall!) inside Mount Rainier National Park. This is one of the most iconic Mount Rainier hikes. The Burroughs trail will get you very up close and personal with the mountain, so close you feel like you can almost touch it. The Burroughs Mountain trail is a well-rounded hike out of the dozens of spectacular hikes inside the park.

Nearby, also check out the hike to Sunrise Lookout if you have time!

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Photo: Washington Trails Association

5. Gothic Basin (North Cascades, Mountain Loop Highway). Length, 9.2 miles roundtrip. Elevation gain, 2,840 feet. Highest point, 5,200 feet. Best season, Late July to Mid October.

This is one of the most challenging hikes listed, a true thrill for backpackers and dayhikers alike. While it may look like an easy hike from the moderately rated elevation gain and length, it is anything but. This trail was originally constructed by miners who had little time for switchbacks or nicely graded trails. With that said, those who make it to the top will be met with unmatched views.

Please note that if you do visit this area, Gothic Basin is an extremely fragile area! Be sure you are camping/set up camp on an established site or strudy surface such as rock or dirt, and avoid camping in meadows or grasses as this can damage the ecosystem. Enjoy!

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