Attractions January 11, 2017
10 Hikes In Washington For Mere Mortals That Lead To Mystifying Destinations
Washington has some gorgeous hiking trails, many of which are best left to the experts. Still, those of us who love to hike but prefer a relaxing trail have some beautiful options, many of which come with breathtaking views, waterfalls and wildflowers. These are 10 of them.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Paradise Valley Conservation Area
This conservation area started out as a working farm and timber producing homestead over a century ago, and it’s now in the process of returning to the wild. The trails are all well marked and easy to navigate, and the entire parameter is about five miles. To reach the trail, take Highway 9 south from Snohomish, turn left onto Maltby Road, follow it east for 1.5 miles and cross the railroad tracks.
2. Boulder River Waterfall Trail, North Cascades
The hike around Boulder River is a long one, about 8 miles. But the path is both easy and beautiful. It starts on a nice, wide path, passes by a river and leads to a waterfall. To get there, take I-5 to Highway 530. Turn right onto French Creek Road after milepost 41.
3. Ancient Lakes, Wenatchee
The Ancient Lakes area should be explored by every Washingtonian. The trail starts near the head of Potholes Coulee, where the Missoula flood spilled out of the Quincy Basin into the Columbia Gorge. The hike continues westward all the way to the Columbia River, but you can stop and enjoy the scenery anytime.
4. Catherine Creek, Columbia River Gorge
If you can hike this well-maintained 1.5 mile loop in the spring, you’ll be treated to over 90 varieties of wildflowers in bloom. But the stunning views and open grasslands are available all year. The Catherine Creek Trail is located in Southwest Washington. Drive east on Highway 14 until you see a junction for Country Road 1230, take a left and drive 1.5 miles until you reach the parking lot for Catherine Creek.
5. Franklin Falls, Snoqualmie Pass
Franklin Falls is definitely one of the more popular trails in Western Washington, but the 2 mile trek is also one of the most scenic hikes in the state. Arriving early will help you beat the crowds and find parking. From Seattle, head east on I-90 and take Exit 47 to Forest Road 58 to reach the trail.
6. Sol Duc Falls, Olympic Peninsula
This is a 5.6 mile loop from the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort that’s perfect for both early and late season hiking. You’ll start by hiking over the Sol Duc River Bridge and follow the river past RV parks and campgrounds before coming to the falls. So if you’re considering a good spring or summer camping destination, this area makes a great natural retreat.
7. Lower Falls Creek Trail
Lower Falls Creek Trail is located near Carson in the Columbia River Gorge area. The 5 mile trail includes plenty of stunning scenery, including a waterfall.
8. Anderson and Watson Lakes, Mount Baker
The trail here features plenty of variety, with destinations spaced perfectly (so your hike can be as short or as long as you’d like). You begin by hiking through a beautiful forest of second-growth hemlock with boardwalks to help mark the path. You might find some steep hikes, but you won’t encounter anything terribly tough. To reach the trail, take Exit 230 from I-5 and head east on Highway 20 for 23 miles. Turn left on Baker Lake Road, then right onto Baker Lake Dam Road.
9. Twin Falls Trail
Located near North Bend in Twin Falls State Park, this is an easy and scenic trail that’s about 1.5 miles in length. Not only is it easy to navigate, it’s easy to find—the Twin Falls Trailhead has parking off I-90 Exit 34.
10. Naches Peak Loop Trail
There are dozens of beautiful hiking trails in Mount Rainier National Park, but the Naches Peak Loop Trail, located near Enumclaw, has to be one of the best. The 3.4 mile loop is great for all skill levels—in fact, it’s the perfect trail to get a first-timer hooked on hiking.
Where will you hike in Washington this year?
These beautiful trails are all under 5 miles in length.