16 Best Rainy Day Hikes Near Seattle You Should Try

rainy day hikes near seattle
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When you live in the Pacific Northwest and love hiking, you don’t just hike in the summer. We have some of the best hikes in the country, so it’d be a waste not to hike the rest of the year. While it does rain, I decided to compile a list of some of the most common rainy day hikes near Seattle so you can still get out there if you choose.

While I prefer sunny days to hike, there’s only so long I can wait for the rain to stop, so I’ve learned to suck it up, grab my rain gear, and head out to explore a new trail. An advantage of many of these hikes is they’re largely covered with trees, so you don’t get as wet as you would out in the open.

Some of these are a short drive from Seattle, while other rainy day hikes in Washington are a bit farther. I’ve listed everything you need to know to make a decision, such as where they’re located, how long they are, and if there’s any elevation gain.

With that, let’s get into some of the best Seattle rainy day hikes to do during the “off-season.” They’re perfect for keeping up your training year-round if you plan on doing longer hikes in the summer or if you just feel like getting out of the house.

16 Best Rainy Day Hikes Near Seattle

rain gear pacific northwest

Here are some of the best rainy day hiking spots near Seattle that you will absolutely love.

1. Murhut Falls

Murhut Falls
Image via Flickr by U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region.

Location: Olympic Peninsula, Hood Canal

Length: 1.6 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 250 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pass: None

Murhut Falls Trailhead is one of the best rainy-day hikes near Seattle. Not only is it short and relatively easy, but it also ends with a captivating waterfall. The best part is that you won’t have to break a sweat to reach the two-tiered cascades, as it’s an easy 250-foot climb to reach them.

Spring in Seattle is the best time to hike the Murhut Falls Trailhead. There is an abundance of rainfall, and you’ll get to stroll through gorgeous pink bursts of Pacific rhododendrons splashed against a verdant forest. The trail gets muddy in the rain, so make sure you have your rain boots on.

2. Old Sauk River Trail

sauk river

Location: Mountain Loop Highway

Length: 6 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 150 feet

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

The Old Sauk River Trail is the best Seattle rainy day hike for nature lovers. This moderately challenging hike is a flat walk meandering through a lush forest dotted with moss-covered maple and cedar trees – not to mention the soothing sounds of the flowing Old Sauk River nearby.

Rainy days are especially a delight to hike this trail. You’ll spot salmon-loving Bald Eagles nesting by the river bed, mushrooms, and wildflowers like trillium sprouting on the forest floor.

Note: The Old Sauk River trail hugs the riverbed for most of its length, so you should always exercise caution as the rocks along the path can get slippery.

Buy your Northwest Forest Pass in advance so you don’t have to buy it at the trailhead.

3. Lime Kiln Trail

lime kiln winter hike in washington

Location: Robe Canyon Historic Park, close to Granite Falls

Length: 7 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 625 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pass: None

Take an unusual rainy-day hike through a dense mossy forest and narrow river canyon along the Lime Kiln Trail. True to its name, the trailhead meanders through old limestone mining land and features a 20-foot-tall lime kiln that still stands today.

Along the forest, you’ll come across beautiful emerald ferns that reach up to the big-leaf maples, red cedars, and Douglas firs. There are also informative signs about the area’s history lining this path. It’s the first hike I did post-baby, and I found it to be a great easy Washington hike.

I also love that you can meander as far as you want and either go the entire way or just explore some of the old artifacts and then turn around.

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

4. Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary

Location: Everett

Length: 2.0 miles of trails around the wetlands

Elevation Gain: 0 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pass: None

If you’re looking to escape the city’s hustle and bustle and want a rainy day hike in Seattle, the Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary is where you want to go for a leisurely walk on a rainy day. The serene 48-acre sanctuary offers two hiking loops to stroll through and fascinating views of the birdlife.

The Boardwalk Trail is popular as it runs through the sanctuary. It’s lined with interpretative signs about the wildlife and the wetlands. 

You’ll find benches to rest on and take in the calming surroundings, and you may spot frogs, birds, and beavers among the cedar and alder trees.

Note: The Boardwalk Trail can get quite slippery in the rain or freezing temperatures.

5. Marymere Falls

marymere falls easy washington hikes

Location: Olympic National Park

Length: 1.8 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 500 feet

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Pass: Olympic National Park Entrance Fee

Make your way through the old-growth forest at Olympic National Park to the tumbling Marymere Falls to one of my favorite rainy day hikes near Seattle. This is a popular rainy-day hike near Seattle. It’s an easy and flat walk along a paved path until you reach the set of natural stairs to the first viewpoint along the Falls Loop.

I’ve done Marymere Falls so many times – it’s well-suited to most fitness levels, and it was the first trail that my oldest kid walked the majority of himself due to how flat it is. The main elevation gain is at the end of the trail when you walk up to see the falls, and it’s one of the best waterfall hikes near Seattle.

A little further along the sword-fern-lined route, you’ll find the lower and upper viewpoints of Marymere Falls with breathtaking views. The carpet of moss complements the canopy of conifers and maples surrounding Lake Crescent.

This is also the perfect addition to a drive around Olympic National Park, or a beautiful Washington fall hike if you’re looking for foliage.

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. Boulder River Trail

Boulder River Trail
Image via Flickr by Krystal.Hamlin

Location: North Cascades

Length: 8.6 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 700 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pass: None

From the beginning of the trailhead, you’re greeted with sounds of gurgling water as the path softly hugs the Boulder River. The lush trailhead is lined with sword ferns, old cedars, and cliffside waterfalls plunging into the river on this Washington rainy day hike.

This is a popular Seattle hike for rainy days. You’ll enjoy taking photos of the drenched mossy trees dripping from the rain and the waterfalls filled with spring snowmelt. The trailhead comes to a dead end, where you’ll find a nice spot to rest or grab a bite before grading back.

7. Paradise Valley Conservation Area

Paradise Valley Conservation Area
Image via Flickr by Terri Stewart

Location: Paradise Lake Rd, Woodinville

Length: 5 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 150 feet

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Pass: None

Paradise Valley Conservation Area is a gorgeous 793-acre park, and it offers a rich biodiversity with abundant forests, wetlands, and streams. You’ll find more than 13 miles of designated multi-use trails for hikers, bikers, and equestrian riders. This is an ideal winter hike in Washington, as it rarely gets snow.

The area is also a sanctuary for wildlife, such as bears, cougars, and deer. With so many hiking trails to choose from and such fantastic natural scenery to immerse yourself in, it’s safe to say this is one of the best rainy day activities in Seattle.

8. North Creek Trail

Location: Bothell, Washington

Length: 4.8 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 78.7 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pass: None 

The North Creek Trail is an urban oasis linking three cities; Bothell, Mill Creek, and Everett. It has two segments, the southern and northern segments, and is perfect for a rainy day hike in Washington.

The northern segment is a beautiful wide, shaded path that leads from McCollum Park to the city center. It meanders along wetlands, crosses a creek, and leads you past some Mill Creek restaurants and cafes — a perfect spot to warm up with coffee.

North Creek Trail’s shorter southern segment is mostly boardwalk and can be slippery in heavy rain, so please take caution on one of the best rainy day hikes near Seattle. Starting from Bothell’s North Creek Park, this segment of the wetland offers sightings of herons, hawks, and many other birds.

9. Little Mashel Falls

Mashel River
Image via Flickr by Upupa4me.

Location: Pack Forest

Length: 5 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 500 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pass: None

The Little Mashel River Waterfalls offer an excellent opportunity to explore Seattle’s southern surroundings on a rainy day. This verdant area features three waterfalls, multiple viewpoints, and two different trailheads, providing a great choice for a road trip from Seattle.

The two trailheads, Pack Forest and Bud Blancher, meet at a three-way junction between the Lower and Middle Falls. Each features a thrilling trek walking over a crushed rock path for much of the route.

Pack Forest has no facilities but gives you access to scenic views unavailable from the Blancher Trail, like the snow-capped Mount Rainier and a breathtaking terraced cascade.

Note: Exercise caution along the Pack Forest Trail, as it comprises old roads. It’s helpful to have a map; you can grab one from the Pack Forest kiosk.

10. Talus Rocks Loop Trail

Location: Tiger Mountain

Length: 0.6 miles, one-way

Elevation Gain: 305 feet

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Pass: Discover Pass

Hiking the Talus Rocks Loop Trail is one of the best things to do in Seattle. This popular hiking path attracts many people, even on rainy days.

The loop runs along a verdant forest packed with bouldering rocks, pretty wildflowers, and hidden caves. Most of the trail is not paved, so you should always exercise caution.

You’ll find plenty of interesting things along the route as birds serenade you with their lovely tunes. Then, admire stunning scenes of a rock-face waterfall running through the middle of house-sized boulders.

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

11. Rattlesnake Ledge

Rattlesnake Ledge View

Location: Rattlesnake Mountain, south of North Bend

Length: 4 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1,160 feet

Difficulty: Moderate to hard

Pass: None

If you’re looking for epic natural scenery with stunning views of the turquoise Rattlesnake Lake, this is the rainy day hike for you. Many people consider this one of the best hikes in Washington due to its close proximity to Seattle. I always recommend this hike to people who are visiting Seattle for a weekend, as it won’t take up more than half a day.

While the lake may be the main attraction, this great hike along a well-maintained trail also attracts hikers with its gorgeous view of peaks like Mount Si and Mount Washington. You’ll also see the Cedar River watershed and Chester Morse Lake.

Getting to these viewpoints is nothing short of an adventure. From the parking lot, you’ll get a view of Rattlesnake Ledge’s rock face across the lake. On the lake’s northwest side, you’ll find porta-potties and an informative kiosk with maps, trail information, and the area’s history.

I will warn you that this trail is popular throughout the year, so I’d plan on getting here early if you don’t want to fight for a parking spot.

12. Middle Fork Snoqualmie Trailhead

Middle Fork Snoqualmie Trailhead
Image via Flickr by Peter Stevens

Location: North Bend

Length: 12 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1,650 feet

Difficulty: Hard

Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

Hiking the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Trailhead is quite an adventure. The long and challenging trek has many nooks and crannies, like the Stegosaurus Butte, that make it a memorable day trip from Seattle.

Thanks to Friends of the Trail volunteers, the route now features a footbridge that’s a perfect spot to admire the flowing stream. It also allows hikers easy access to the other side of the river. The murmuring river is the only sound to break the silence as the trail winds through a quiet forest. It’s also one of the best scenic drives in Washington to go on.

Note: Keep in mind that this trail can get a bit muddy, and the rocks along the river are slippery on rainy days.

13. Wallace Falls

wallace falls

Location: Wallace Lake Road, Gold Bar

Length: 5.6 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Pass: Discover Pass

Despite seasonal heavy foot traffic, Wallace Falls is one of the top places to visit in Washington in the spring. The trail is excellent for hiking veterans and novices alike, offering stunning views of the Wallace River and nearby tumbling waterfalls.

Even though it’s popular, I always recommend it to people looking for a beautiful hike because you walk along the river for the majority of it and can either go all the way to the Upper Falls or just stop at the Lower (although I recommend the Middle if you can make it because that’s my personal favorite one).

Get here early and enjoy unspoiled serenity along the gorgeous Woody Trail as it meanders across the Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls. These cataract waterfalls are even more stunning in the spring when they’re swollen with snowmelt.

Read this guide on climbing Mount Saint Helens, which was one of my favorite hikes ever.

14. Swamp Trail

Tradtion Lake
Image via Flickr by jc.winkler

Location: Issaquah, north of Tradition Lake

Length: 1 mile, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 75 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pass: Discover Pass

The Swamp Trail is the perfect introduction for inexperienced hikers. This half-mile trail through the swampy northern parts of Traditional Lake boasts verdant scenery and a stable wooden path.

This hike is great for rainy days, as the elevated wooden path is perfectly drained and manages to stay puddle free. You’ll find interpretative signs along the route, sharing information about the area’s history and an intriguing story about Zoe, the Swamp Monster.

15. Licorice Fern Trail

Licorice Fern Trail
Image via Flickr by Peter Stevens

Location: Cougar Mountain

Length: 3.8 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 200 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pass: None

The Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is the largest “urban wildland” in the United States, boasting 3,000 acres of lush forest with 38 miles of hiking trails. Hiking the Licorice Fern Trail is a great way to see this park’s stunning biodiversity and one of the best rainy day hikes near Seattle.

From the mossy alders and thick vine maples and ferns to the scenic needle-like cascades tumbling over rocks, you’ll have so much to see on this rainy day hike near Seattle. If your furry friend also likes walking in the rain, all you need is a leash, and the adventure is ready to begin.

Want to head north for an adventure? Here are the best rainy day activities in Vancouver.

16. McCollum Park Forest Loop Trail

Location: McCollum Park Athletic Field, Everett

Length: 1.2 miles, roundtrip

Elevation Gain: 40 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Pass: None

The McCollum Park Forest Loop Trail is famous for its level forest path along a green creek. It’s arguably one of the best fall hikes in Washington, thanks to its colorful fall foliage and abundant ferns.

While the main route garners the most attention, the small off-shoot paths are also worth exploring. Keep your eyes peeled for birdlife and plenty of squirrels that come out during the day.

You can visit the Northwest Stream Center, where you can learn more about the ecosystem and the wildlife frequently spotted on camera, like black bears, coyotes, and otters. When you’re done, there are several breweries near Seattle to check out nearby.

What to Pack for Rainy Day Hikes Near Seattle

best pacific northwest rain gear

Hiking in the rain is a fun-filled adventure that every outdoor enthusiast should try. Just imagine it. You are strolling through nature with a petrichor aroma and a fresh breeze of cool air. 

The only thing that can make this experience better is having the right rainy-day hike gear.

Here are a few must-have rainy-day hiking accessories that will make your trek unforgettable:

  • Waterproof clothing – Walking in the rain may be fun but getting soaked is not. That is why it is essential to wear water-resistant garments during your hike.
  • Lightweight dry sacks – If you are taking light snacks, water, or hiking accessories on your hike, you’ll need a water-repellent bag to ensure all your things are dry and ready for use.
  • Sturdy hiking boots – Your rainy-day hiking experience is only as good as your shoes. You’ll need waterproof boots that are comfortable, durable, flexible, and lightweight.

Note: Winter months bring the wettest days to Seattle, and a rainy-day hike is a fantastic outdoor activity, but I recommend you try out these places to visit near Seattle in winter.

Which one of these rainy day hikes near Seattle do you want to do the most?

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