Have you dusted off your hiking boots for the season yet? Summer is finally almost here in Washington, and we have so many trails around the state, you could take one somewhere new every single day. With so many options, it can almost be impossible to decide where to hike next – but here are 15 scenic routes in particular that should definitely be on your list.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Artist Ridge Trail
At the end of Mount Baker Highway, you can park and take this short trail out to catch stunning views of the mountains. The path goes for a little over a mile, offering an up-close perspective of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker.
2. Icicle Ridge
Icicle Ridge isn't an easy walk in the park, but it does reward you with a sweeping outlook over Leavenworth and Tumwater Canyon. As you're climbing up, the views just get better and better, and in the spring you'll even pass by gorgeous, colorful wildflowers along the way.
3. Chelan Lakeshore Trail
You'll want to hop on the "Lady of the Lake" ferry over Lake Chelan to kick off this classic hike. The trail winds along the shores between Stehekin and Prince Creek for 18 miles total, with never-ending views of the natural lake and nearby mountains.
4. Lake Serene (& Bridal Veil Falls)
Lake Serene offers just what you might expect: complete serenity. Located off Stevens Pass Highway, the trail passes through old-growth forest before arriving at the deep blue lake, nestled at the base of Mount Index. Before reaching the water, though, you won't want to miss the 1/2-mile side path that leads up to Bridal Veil Falls.
5. Harry's Ridge Trail
Harry's Ridge Trail is an 8-mile trip with outstanding views of Mount St. Helens and Spirit Lake. The route's actually named after a man, Harry Randall Truman, who refused to leave his home despite evacuation orders and died when the volcano erupted on May 18, 1980.
6. Franklin Falls
A short, two-mile hike will bring you to this 70-foot cascade on the south fork of the Snoqualmie River. It's thought to be hidden in plain sight, between the elevated roadway of I-90 and old Denny Creek Wagon Trail.
7. Noble Knob Trail
The Noble Knob Trail offers a pleasant 4-mile hike near Chinook Pass. It climbs through dense forest and alpine meadows, topped off with impressive views of our grandest peak.
8. Lake of the Angels
Lake of the Angels is surrounded by an area known as the "Valley of Heaven" - so you know the scenery is well worth the sweat. Nestled beneath Mount Skokomish, the crystal clear alpine lake can be reached by a challenging and steep 8-mile hike.
9. Umtanum Creek Canyon
Umtanum Creek Canyon provides an easy-going, six-and-a-half-mile hike just south of Ellensburg. The trail kicks off by heading over a bouncy suspension bridge, then through open fields dotted with bright wildflowers in the spring.
10. Lake Ingalls
The trail to Lake Ingalls is one of the most popular in the Alpine Lake Wilderness. It's easy to see why; the vibrant blue lake and backdrop of Mount Stuart are too pretty for words. It winds through a variety of scenery, from a shaded, dense forest out through rocky meadows.
11. Hamilton Mountain
You can find some of the most impressive views of the Columbia Gorge on top of Hamilton Mountain. The 7-and-a-half mile trail in Beacon Rock State Park is also filled with blooming wildflowers in the spring, and passes by two waterfalls on the way up.
12. Thunder Knob Trail
The Thunder Knob Trail offers an easy afternoon hike the whole family can enjoy. The short, 3.6-mile trip ascends to a viewpoint where you'll find benches to sit and take in the views of Lake Diablo and surrounding peaks.
13. Marymere Falls
If you're looking for more of an easy nature walk, try the short hike out to Marymere Falls. The enchanting, 90-foot cascade is just off Highway 101 south of Lake Crescent, and can be reached by a 1.8-mile trail through lush old-growth forest.
14. John Wayne Pioneer Trail
The John Wayne Pioneer Trail spans 285 miles total on the former Milwaukee Road railway bed. Of course, you don't have to go the whole way (unless you're up for a
real challenge) - but the stretch in Iron Horse State Park does offer a quiet, remote path to walk or bike for miles.
15. Snow Lake
Snow Lake is a popular destination near Snoqualmie Pass, for good reason. The trail is nicely maintained, and pretty easy to follow as it heads up a ridge that overlooks the water. After you reach the viewpoint at the top, you can continue down to the basin and walk right along the alpine lake.