22 Stunning Washington Summer Hikes to Explore

washington summer hikes wildflowers
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The state of Washington has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, let alone the US. There are numerous hiking trails with varying difficulties, natural paths, lakes, and gorgeous views.

No matter where in Washington you choose to explore the outdoors, you’re always going to experience something beautiful. Hiking is one of the best things to do in Seattle in the summer, and it’s hard to regret a hike after it’s done. There are plenty of Washington summer hikes to choose from that will take you on a wonderful adventure.

Washington Summer Hikes Near Seattle

You don’t have to go far to do a summer hike near Seattle. Some of these can even be done after you get off work.

1. Discovery Park

discovery park

Distance: 2.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 140 ft.
Difficulty: Easy

This hike isn’t long or challenging, but it’s a great easy Seattle hike that’s easy to do. It’s not far from the city, and virtually any day of the week you can head here for a moderate challenge and a great view. There are multiple trails of varying lengths to chose from, whether you want to stay in the woods, walk through the meadow, or head to the beach.

Switch up your normal after work happy hours for a hike in the park. With a sunset like that, there’s no way you won’t feel more relaxed after you’re done.

If you still feel like a beer and have your family with you, there are plenty of great kid-friendly Seattle breweries nearby.

2. Denny Creek

Denny Creek
Image via Flickr: erica.cooper

Distance: 6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1,345 ft.
Difficulty: Easy

This family-friendly hike is one of the best Washington summer hikes to enjoy on a hot summer day, as it’s an easy hike near Seattle. It’s only an hour away and part of the trail is an easy walk downwards – starting from the trailhead, of course.

Once you’ve traveled for about 1.5 miles, you’ll reach some amazing natural waterslides surrounded by the regrown Cascade forest. Here, you can take a rest, have a picnic, or even take a swim. From there the path up to Denny Creek is a bit rougher, but it’s still an easy and pleasant hike to the end.

I recommend bringing snacks on this hike, and you can check out this list of vegan backpacking food for some ideas.

3. Little Si

summer hikes in washington little si

Distance: 4.7 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1,300 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate

A very well-maintained trail with some of the best views in the surrounding region, Little Si is aptly named as the little sister to Mount Si. The toughest parts of the trail are at the beginning and at the end, while the rest of the trail is mostly a leisurely walk through gorgeous, deep woods.

The end of the trail is the star of the show, though, as the summit allows for sweeping views of the valley. A Discover Pass is required for hiking the trail, which you can buy in advance or for the day at the trailhead. Little Si is one of the best hikes in Washington because it’s good for a variety of hiking levels.

This is also a great Seattle hike with breweries nearby if you’re thirsty or hungry.

Buy your Discover Pass in advance so you don’t need to pay at the trailhead.

4. Rattlesnake Ledge

Rattlesnake Ledge
Image via Flickr: BRANDIlane

Distance: 4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1,160 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate

One of the more popular summer hikes in Washington, albeit a little crowded, this trail is just far enough from Seattle to feel as if you’re going on an adventure. The hike can easily still be done in half-a-day. The best time to do this hike is to start before 10 am when it’s not as populated with other hikers.

Going early allows you to enjoy this perfectly maintained trail almost all to yourself. At almost the half-point mark there is a rocky summit with excellent photo opportunities, which is frequently crowded with hikers snapping photos and selfies.

I love using AllTrails to download maps and stay on the trail during all my hikes.

5. Skyline Trail

skyline trail

Distance: 5.5 miles, loop
Elevation gain: 1,450 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate to hard

Located at Mount Rainier National Park, this is one of the most iconic trails in the region and therefore another great hike in Washington state. It’s an extremely rewarding, albeit a bit strenuous hike. It’s not only an excellent workout, but there are fantastic views of imposing glaciers, meadows, waterfalls, and even a volcano during your Mount Rainier day trip.

The Paradise Visitor Center is a great place to start. You can pick up a map and start the hike clockwise as most people do. However, counter-clockwise is often recommended because of fewer crowds. Whichever way you choose, be mindful of the steep climb. While it can be a challenge, but it’s not an impossible one.

Summer is a beautiful time to go on this trail, but it also makes for a stunning fall hike near Seattle.

Make sure you have your America the Beautiful Pass! For only one price, you can visit all the national parks over and over throughout the year. I renew mine every year.

6. Scenic Hot Springs

scenic hot springs cascades

Distance: 2.2 miles
Elevation gain: 1100 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate to hard

This is the only hike on this list that’s private, meaning you’ll need to make a reservation before heading out. Scenic Hot Springs is an amazing place to go year-round, so sign up a few months ahead of time.

While the hike is moderately steep, the reward at the top is three pools of hot water that you get to soak in. You can be there as long as you want, plus coming down is much easier.

While it’s a great hike to do during the summer, many people love the challenge of going on one of the more scenic winter hikes in Washington.

7. Snoqualmie Falls

summer hikes in washington snoqualmie falls

Distance: 1.4 miles
Elevation gain: 250 ft.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

This is the shortest Washington summer hike on the list, but one of the best waterfall hikes near Seattle. Park in the parking lot at the bottom of Snoqualmie Falls, and head to the river first to walk along the boardwalk. You get a view of the falls from below, which is pretty astonishing depending on how much water is flowing through at the time.

While it’s a short hike, beware that you do gain elevation quickly when walking to the top of the falls. When you’re done, head up the trail to the top for some stunning views from above. There’s a gift shop and the famous Salish Lodge to check out as well when you’re done (read my Salish review for more details).

Hotels Nearby

Maxwell Hotel – This is a fun hotel to stay at downtown with a heated pool to relax in after your hike. You can walk to both the waterfront and South Lake Union from here.

Motif Seattle – Located in the middle of downtown, you can easily walk to Pike Place, the Space Needle, and other Seattle attractions when you stay here. They also have a rooftop bar, so make sure to stop there for happy hour after your hike.

Summer Hikes Near the Washington Coast

Some of the most beautiful Washington summer hikes are on the coast.

8. Cape Disappointment North Head Lighthouse and Bell’s Overlook

Cape Disappointment North Head Lighthouse and Bell's Overlook
Image via Flickr: DrBjorn

Distance: 0.75 miles
Elevation gain: 25 ft.
Difficulty: Easy

Located at the very southwestern corner of the state, you’ll most likely want to stay in Long Beach for a weekend to fully enjoy it. Check out the trails around Cape Disappointment while you’re there.

You get small views of the ocean like above when walking the trails. There’s several you can take, but I recommend heading to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse to really be wowed.

The end of the trail overlooks the Pacific Ocean as far as you can see, and possibly even Oregon on a clear day. It’s an easy hike with the exception of the last few hundred feet being pretty steep, so anyone who’s someone fit can do it.

9. Hole-in-the-Wall, Rialto Beach

summer hikes in washington on the coast

Distance: 4 miles
Elevation gain: none
Difficulty: Easy

The coast of Washington is absolutely stunning during the entire year, let alone in the summer. One of the best Washington summer hikes is also one of the best trails in Olympic National Park– a nice relaxing walk on the beach. If you go on a 3 day trip to the Olympic Peninsula, make sure to put this on your list.

The main attraction of this trail is the sheer scenic diversity, like rock formations, the nearby islands, and the wildlife scurrying about. The show’s main star is the titular Hole in the Wall – a literal hole in a large stone wall almost framing the view behind it. While it might be a bit far away for just a day trip to Olympic, you’ll love doing this if you have more time.

10. Leadbetter Point Loop

Leadbetter Point Loop
Image via Flickr: vanderfrog

Distance: 2.9 miles, loop
Elevation gain: 60 ft.
Difficulty: Easy

Another unconditionally beautiful hiking trail, this one comes with a trick up its sleeve. While the scenic views are definitely amazing, such as the Willapa Hills, this trail can get a little tricky to navigate in high tide or after rainfall. Make sure to consult a tide map and visit this beautiful destination in low tide, which is easily one of the best Washington summer hikes.

11. Second Beach, La Push

washington summer hikes coast

Distance: 4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 310 ft.
Difficulty: Easy

Another perfect hike in Washington, this trail has it all – scenic views, unique highlights such as tide pool, and an amazing beach as the crowning jewel. You’ll constantly be surrounded by gorgeous nature. For your reward at the end, you’ll be greeted by the towering sea stacks off the coast. Just be mindful that the tide can be a factor.

Washington Summer Hiking in Northern Washington

There are some beautiful Washington summer hikes in the northern part of the state that are worth checking out. Some of my favorites are North Cascades hikes (and I highly encourage you to spend one day at North Cascades National Park if you haven’t), but here are several other ones.

12. East Bank Baker Lake

East Bank Baker Lake
Image via Flickr: picklerichards81

Distance: 9 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 500 ft.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

This is a great hike to start the summer with, as it’s a relatively flat hike with some amazing scenery, and a unique highlight – an old campground called Maple Grove.

While the trail itself is easy and relatively straightforward, it can take a lot of time to complete it. If you do follow the trail all the way to the end, you’ll be greeted by the astounding Baker Lake, making this one of the best Washington summer hikes.

13. Thunder Knob

Thunder Knob
Image via Flickr: daveynin

Distance: 3.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 635 ft.
Difficulty: Easy

An amazing family-friendly hike, this is a trail that just throws excellent views at you practically every other minute. It might be a relatively short trail, but every sight is a picturesque one and each one will remain with you for a long time. Thunder Knob is worth taking out the time for it, as it’s just the perfect Washington summer hike.

14. Oyster Dome

oyster dome hike

Distance: 5.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1,050 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate

I went to college in Bellingham at Western Washington University, so I’m biased to any hikes in this area. This is one of my favorite hikes though– at 6.5 miles roundtrip, it’s challenging, has several viewpoints throughout the hike that shows the ocean, and the end is extremely rewarding.

You can even see Vancouver Island from here on a clear day. Bring a lunch, as you’ll want to enjoy your viewpoint at the end of the hike. Stop by Boundary Bay Brewing after for a cold pint after completing this item on your Washington state bucket list.

15. Fourth of July Pass via Thunder Creek

Fourth of July Pass via Thunder Creek
Image via Flickr: Laurel Fan

Distance: 11.2 miles
Elevation gain: 2,400 ft.
Difficulty: Hard

A challenging, but very rewarding, trail that can take a lot of time, this trail is the seasoned hiker’s dream. While the climb is steep at times, you’ll be constantly awarded with sweeping views of the region.

Do be careful, though, as there are water crossings, and the occasional snow, so don’t forget your backpack. You’ll also need a backcountry permit too.

16. Mt. Constitution

things to do on orcas island

Distance: 6.7 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1,500 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate to hard

Camping at Moran State Park on Orcas Island is a new tradition I’ve started with my friends. The trailhead for Mt. Constitution is right at our camp, so there’s no reason not to go on this hike. This is one of my favorite things to do on Orcas Island.

We always bring our dogs, so they get an extra workout in and sleep well later that night. Depending on where you start the hike from, it’s about 8 miles roundtrip.

The last mile gets pretty steep, so save your energy. You can drive to the top, but don’t do that – it’s much more rewarding to get there panting with your legs burning, knowing you just got yourself to the very top. The view overlooks other San Juan Islands and parts of Canada.

Washington Summer Hikes in Central Washington

Going on a summer hike in Central Washington can easily be done in a day depending on where you live.

17. Cooper River Trail

Cooper River Trail
Image via Flickr: Martin Bravenboer

Distance: 7.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 400 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate

This is the perfect Washington summer hike that allows you to explore natural deep woods, ones that are filled with numerous species of birds and animals. The trail might not steep, but it can get a bit rough, and do be mindful of the river.

The valley widens enough at times so that you’ll be able to hear and even see surrounding traffic, but that is only a distraction from the stunning nature around you.

18. Manastash Ridge

Distance: 4 miles
Elevation gain: 1,700 ft.
Difficulty: Hard

A generally steep trail with an elevation gain that can be easily qualified as a good workout, Manastash Ridge is beautiful, rugged, and challenging. A perfect Washington summer hike for the seasoned hiker.

The area is filled with beautiful wildflowers, making it a perfect wildflower hike in Washington. While the main trail is 4 miles long, there are several others around, with the longest one being 15 miles.

19. Coal Mines Trail

washington summer hikes trail

Distance: 4.7 miles, one way
Elevation gain: 450 ft.
Difficulty: Easy

This trail is dedicated to the pioneer that first settled these lands, as it’s the route the miners from the past used to take in order to reach the mines. While the hike isn’t a difficult one, it’s a trail filled with history, and the scenery is verdant, diverse, and stunning. It’s also a large trail that’s open for multi-use, and is definitely a great summer hike in Washington.

Washington Summer Hikes in Eastern Washington

Don’t discount the hikes in Eastern Washington, as the terrain is completely different than ones on the west part of the state.

20. Quartzite Mountain

Distance: 3 miles
Elevation gain: 3,700 ft.
Difficulty: Medium to hard

Definitely one of the best Washington summer hikes, this one feel daunting and hard, but due to the trail being short, it can be easily surmounted. The summit is the star of the show, though, and the sweeping views available from there are a reward like no other. Once you’re looking at the town of Chewelah, you’ll immediately agree this is an amazing summer hike in Washington.

21. Icicle Ridge

Icicle Ridge
Image via Flickr: ahwildman

Distance: 6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1,800 ft.
Difficulty: Medium

While not an easy trail, this easily falls in the category of best Washington summer hikes. You can stay in the nearby town of Leavenworth for the weekend to make a vacation out of it. This hike is not only a good workout, but you’ll be constantly rewarded with views that will make the sweat worth it.

The surrounding mountains, the practically infinite amount of gorgeous wildflowers, and landscape like no other. This perfect Washington summer hike is one that will be remembered for years to come.

22. Umtanum Creek Canyon

central washington summer hike

Distance: 6.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 500 ft.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Colorful, vibrant, and unforgettable, this delightful Washington summer hike is simply stunning. You’ll be treated to large basalt formations, a tranquil creek, and even the opportunity to see bighorn sheep.

This is a very easy and straightforward hike in the summer, but it possible for the stream to be swollen even in late spring, and signs of snow in fall. Other than that, there is a $5 parking fee at the trailhead, as it’s owned by the Bureau of Land Management.

Washington State is amazing when it comes to nature, landscapes, and hiking trails. You can hike near Seattle if you’re only visiting for a couple of days, or you can even dedicate an extended period of time to explore the innumerable amazing hiking trails in the state.

52 thoughts on “22 Stunning Washington Summer Hikes to Explore

  1. Chrissy says:

    These all seem awesome but Snoqualmie Falls looks so beautiful – definitely a place I’d love visiting!

  2. Kristin Goodson says:

    I would love a new pair of hiking boots! I would love to wear them when I take my son camping this summer.

  3. Dana says:

    Your photos from the hikes all look so beautiful! I wish there were decent places to hike where I live in S Fl. It’s so flat LOL

  4. Postcards To Seattle says:

    Thanks Dana! That’s true about Florida, but I love the Everglades down there!

  5. Rosie says:

    I would love to have these hiking boots! I’m hoping to get to Cape Breton Highlands and hike in the national park. These pictures are sooo pretty! Wow!

  6. Cheryl B. says:

    I would love to win these. They would be perfect for my geocaching and hiking adventures, this Summer. Not to mention the hike to 3 lighthouses, I will be visiting this year.

  7. Carmen Baguio says:

    Definitely some places I want to go to the next time I’m in Washington. Pinned it!

  8. Farah says:

    I want these boots for an upcoming visit to the very hilly, very hikeable South Korea!!

  9. Brenda Haines says:

    I could really use a nice new pair of hiking boots! We live near the Oregon coast and are always going on trail hikes and to the beach. My favorite beach is agate beach near Port Orford. I adore small towns!

  10. Angie Scheie says:

    Great post! I’m making my summer hiking bucket list this month so it comes at the perfect time!

  11. Sharon Rooney says:

    I would like to win because these would be great for hiking in my local park. The parks here have paths that go down to the river and it sometime gets wet and slippery

  12. Alita Alexander says:

    Hiking in the PNW of course! I’m on the other side of the sound and can’t wait to get up to Hurricane Ridge!

  13. Carolsue says:

    I’d like to win because I don’t really have any hiking boots — I kind of make do with some good athletic sneakers I have. I would use them to hike around Yosemite this summer.

  14. Postcards To Seattle says:

    Hurricane Ridge is on my list to go to this year! I haven’t been since I was little.

  15. robin says:

    I live in Israel,I would love a pair of hiking boots,they are so expensive here and I love to hike in the Carmel forest here.

  16. Julie B says:

    I would love a pair of hiking boots to plod around our neck of the woods, which is near you in The PNW!

  17. Lara says:

    I really, really want to hike to Grand Park under Mount Rainier! These boots would be awesome for it!

  18. Clarissa Ma says:

    I would love to win these boots and take my two boys (2 and 5) for some beautiful hikes around Seattle!

  19. elise says:

    I totally need a new pair of hiking boots! The last few hikes I’ve been on I wore athletic shoes and my feet were not happy with me.

  20. amanda whitley says:

    i would like to win these to have a decent pair of hiking shoes, i would wear them to the local park.

  21. Alexa @ Millennial Empire Builders says:

    Oh man… This looks amazing! I’m going to have to add Washington to my list of places to visit this year.

  22. Jamie says:

    What a beautiful state! I can’t believe I haven’t been yet. Bookmarking this for a trip I’m hoping to take this summer. Thanks for the info.

  23. Veronika Sykorova says:

    I’d so go on a hike somewhere like this! I really want to go on a road trip across the US one day and hit all the places on my list.

  24. Valerie says:

    These are some great hikes! I need to get out and hike a bit more this summer… how about in Alaska?? 😉

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