It’s impossible to visit Seattle and not feel the pull of the mountains. Lucky for us, trails abound and you don’t even have to leave city limits to enjoy that hiking high. A variety of routes appeal to all ages and fitness levels, but a couple of things are constant: fresh air and stunning panoramas.
Just northwest of downtown Seattle, Discovery Park (3801 Discovery Park Blvd) is a gem any time of year. Its relatively flat loop trail measures 2.8 miles long and passes through picturesque forestland and meadow. Consider packing a picnic to enjoy beachside, served with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. For another flat urban hike, head to Olympic Sculpture Park (*2901 Western Ave; seattleartmuseum.org) and stroll the waterside Elliott Bay Trail.
To gain some elevation, head 30 miles east of Seattle to the popular but steep Mount Si. The eight-mile out-and-back trail gains 3,100 feet and offers beautiful views from the top. Nearby, Rattlesnake Ledge consistently sees steady foot traffic and is a perfect pick for beginners thanks to its relatively easy, two-mile trail and exquisite perspective. On the way back to Seattle, refuel at the Salish Lodge, where a meal can be enjoyed overlooking the mighty Snoqualmie Falls (snoqualmiefalls.com), which has its own family-friendly hiking path, too.
Stay in the Cascade foothills to explore the Issaquah Alps on trails like Tiger Mountain. Here views come throughout the journey rather than only at the final destination. Instead of one pinnacle lookout, glimpse wildlife and wildflowers along 15 meandering miles of trail. Summit Poo Poo Point (7.4 miles roundtrip) for the inspiring sight of vibrant paragliders taking flight from the top.
For more about hiking, visit the Washington Trails Association (wta.org) or the Outdoor Recreation Information Center inside REI (*222 Yale Ave N; rei.com).
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