Washington is a large state in the Pacific Northwest, which shares its border with Canada. The state is composed of differing spectacular landscapes, and is also home to major cities like Seattle. Nature lovers can find mountains, high deserts, thick rainforests, and beaches along the coast. Most of the population is concentrated in the Seattle metropolitan area and as a result, hiking opportunities are abundant. Check out 5 of our favorite day hikes in Washington state.
Big Creek Falls
If you’re from the city, or are just familiar with the Seattle metro area and don’t want to venture too far, check out Big Creek Falls, which is also known as the Taylor River Trail. This trail offers the ultimate hiking experience due to the abundance of pristine waterfalls and stunning forest. The route is safe and easy to navigate, not to mention frequented much less by other hikers.
The best of Washington’s National Forest can be found along this trail. Majestic mountain views and sparkling glaciers are enough to mesmerize even the most seasoned backpackers. The trail is located on a small road off of Mt. Baker Highway 542. Hikers should be aware that this day hike involves crossing streams, so take precautions to ensure your safety. However, the risk is well worth the hike, as the state’s most cherished gems are sometimes the hardest to navigate.
John Wayne Pioneer Trail
This trail is recommended for experienced hikers due to the long distance. It stretches nearly halfway across Washington and is within close proximity of Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul-Pacific Railroad. Bikers will find a challenging experience enriched with the serene views of the Cascade Mountains. The enormous trail also becomes a winter lover’s paradise, which draws skiers, snowboarders, and all other types of winter recreationists.
Upper Dungeness River
Believe it or not, Washington state does have rainforest. Upper Dungeness River is located in Northeast Olympic National Forest, which can be accesses by FS Road #2870. Upon arrival, visitors will marvel at the forest canopy and river. The dry and wet seasons are both great opportunities to take day hikes in this region. Navigation is fairly easy due to its proximity to the river, and parking at the trailhead is allowed with a valid pass.
Lower South Fork Skokomish River
This is another stunning river trail located in the southeast section of Olympic National Forest. At 10 miles round-trip, it is a tad bit longer than Upper Dungeness River. Here you will encounter a majestic forest of giant old-growth Douglas Fir trees, some over 500 years old!
Washington’s massive rural landscape offers incredible opportunities for hiking and exploring nature, and these five trails are considered among the best in the state. As long as you plan for safety and nourishment, you will most certainly enjoy some unforgettable day hikes in one of the nation’s most beautiful regions.