13 Amazing Waterfall Hikes Near Seattle You Need to Visit in 2024

waterfall hikes near seattle
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Living in Seattle means having an abundance of amazing hikes right at your fingertips. Seriously, you could hike a new trail every single day and still not see them all (which is my goal, eventually)! While I love hikes of all kinds, waterfall hikes near Seattle are my favorite ones to go to when I have time to hit the trails.

As a local who’s practically a hiking pro, I’ve made it my mission to explore as many Seattle waterfall hikes as humanly possible. There’s just something magical about these trails, and I find nothing more inspiring than hiking a few miles to be rewarded by a cascading waterfall. I challenge you to find a better spot to have a snack break!

You’ve probably seen epic waterfall photos when people post Instagrammable spots near Seattle and wondered where it was. That’s why I’m here to spill all the beans and share insider info on these Washington waterfall hikes. Hiking is my jam, and I’m always stoked to encourage others to get out there and experience the wonder for themselves.

My ultimate guide to the best waterfall hikes near Seattle will give you the lowdown on all the must-visit spots, including some hidden gems that will blow your mind. If you’re willing to drive a bit, I encourage you to explore some amazing waterfall hikes in Washington State in case you’re up for an adventure and want to explore even further. You’ll want to add some of these to your Washington State bucket list!

This post was first written in 2021 and last updated in 2023.

What to Pack for Seattle Waterfall Hikes

What you pack for visiting waterfalls near Seattle will depend on how far you’re going and how long the hike is. You might not need anything besides water and snacks if you’re doing short waterfall hikes near Seattle. However, I do recommend getting a raincoat for Seattle to stay dry from the mist.

Here is the bare minimum I recommend bringing for any hike:

If you will be hiking Seattle waterfalls in the winter, make sure to check out my comprehensive list of winter hiking clothes. This guide covers what extra clothes you’ll need to stay warm and dry as well as gear that can make your hike easier in the snow, such as microspikes or snowshoes.

When hiking around during a Seattle summer vacation, you’ll need to double the amount of water and sunscreen you have so you don’t get dehydrated or burned.

One of the best resources to look at for in-depth information on trails is the WTA. You can check out your specific hike and read the recent trip reports, which will let you know if there’s snow, the roads are drivable, and more.

13 Waterfall Hikes Near Seattle to Check Out

These waterfalls near Seattle, Washington are listed in order of proximity to Seattle, as everyone has a different idea of what “near Seattle” means. You can use it to pick easy waterfall hikes near Seattle or make a Seattle day trip out of it and go on some further waterfall hikes in Washington State.

1. Bridal Veil Falls

bridal veil falls hike

Location: Stevens Pass

Distance from Seattle: 56 miles

Length: 4.0 miles RT

Elevation gain: 1,000 feet

Another favorite by many locals, Bridal Veil Falls is one of the top waterfall hikes near Seattle to check out. Unlike some of the others on this list, you can get up right next to the falls during your hike thanks to the set of stairs that run next to them. It’s also not a bad rainy day hike in Seattle, as many parts of the trail are covered.

The water flows from nearby Lake Serene, so the more water the lake has, the stronger its waterfall. This is another hike that you’ll want to start early on due to how popular it is. If you want to extend your hike, head back to the fork on the trail that led you to Bridal Veil and continue on to Lake Serene.

When you’re done hiking, you’ll likely need to refuel, so head on over to Zeke’s Drive In, which has been an establishment in the area for as long as I can remember. Nothing is better than a huge burger and some fries after a hike, in my opinion!

2. Snoqualmie Falls

snoqualmie falls hike

Location: Snoqualmie

Distance from Seattle: 29 miles

Length: 1.4 miles RT

Elevation gain: 250 feet

Snoqualmie Falls is by no means a hidden gem, as it’s on almost everyone’s list that visits the area and is one of the most popular places to see in the Pacific Northwest. The hike is one of the best waterfall hikes near Seattle since it’s not only short but wheelchair accessible, so almost anyone can enjoy it. As you can see in the picture above, it’s also a beautiful fall hike in Washington when the leaves start to turn.

This hike is also one of the best winter hikes in Washington, as you don’t have to worry about snow being an issue when visiting. Some people choose to park at the top and just view the waterfall from the observation deck, but I recommend going down the trail to get a different vantage point at the bottom.

If you’re looking for romantic Seattle date ideas, you’ll want to book a stay at Salish Lodge here. I had a chance to stay here overnight last year, and it was one of the most relaxing stays of my life.

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3. Cherry Creek Falls

cherry creek falls

Location: Duvall

Distance from Seattle: 30 miles

Length: 5.0 miles RT

Elevation gain: 450 feet

Cherry Creek Falls is a popular summer hike in Washington due to being one of the closer waterfall hikes near Seattle. You’ll follow the creek for the majority of the hike until you get to the waterfall. There’s also a bridge along the way if you’re looking for more photo-ops.

You can technically cool off in the water in the summer, but don’t get near the waterfall to stay safe. Most people just enjoy grabbing a spot by the falls and having their snack or lunch before they head back. Halfway through the hike, there’s a loop that will lead you to the waterfalls, and you can either come back the way you came or complete the loop to connect with the main trail again.

You’ll be just south of Monroe when you do this hike, so make sure to head up after to grab some fish and chips or see the other things to do in Monroe.

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

4. Twin Falls

twin falls hike

Location: North Bend

Distance from Seattle: 36 miles

Length: 2.6 miles RT

Elevation gain: 500 feet

One of the best waterfalls near Seattle is Twin Falls, as it’s close to the city and short. I like this hike because you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take photos of the water, as there are different spots along the trail that it peeks out.

While you may be tempted to stop the first time you see the waterfall, I encourage you to continue on the trail to see both the lower and upper parts. In the end, you’ll cross a large bridge to see what’s technically the third part of this waterfall.

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

5. Teneriffe Falls

teneriffe falls
Image via Flickr by Trailspotter

Location: North Bend

Distance from Seattle: 36 miles

Length: 5.6 miles RT

Elevation gain: 1,585 feet

Hikers looking for waterfall hikes near Seattle, Washington, that will get their legs burning will love the elevation gained in a short period of time at Teneriffe Falls. There can be snow on this hike during the winter, so you might want to wait until late spring to have an easier time climbing it. That said, it’s a beautiful Washington spring hike to go on.

With 22 switchbacks, you’re bound to get in a workout to be proud of. You’ll see parts of the falls as you go up the trail, but keep going until you reach the viewing area for the upper falls.

6. Wallace Falls

Location: Gold Bar

Distance from Seattle: 47 miles

Length: 5.6 miles RT

Elevation gain: 1,300 feet

Wallace Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the area because there are so many different areas to take effortless photos. For this reason, I recommend starting early if possible to beat the crowds (especially in the summer!). It’s also one of the best winter hikes in Washington, as it rarely gets snow.

There are nine different waterfalls in the park, so make sure you keep going to see all of them if you’re up for it. This alone is what makes it one of the most beautiful waterfall hikes near Seattle. Many people only go to the Lower Falls or Middle Falls, but I highly encourage you to also go to the Upper Falls if you have the time.

If you’re looking for a good Seattle hike and brewery combination, you can check out Timber Monster Brewing Company on the way back. They have a variety of beer and food to fuel up after your hike.

7. Franklin Falls

franklin falls hike

Location: Snoqualmie Pass

Distance from Seattle: 51 miles

Length: 2.0 miles RT (or 8 miles RT in the winter)

Elevation gain: 400 feet

You can visit Twin Falls all throughout the year, and in the summer or spring in Washington, it’s only a short two-mile hike. This makes it great for beginner hikers or families, and you’ll love the reward at the end.

However, I personally think visiting in the winter is the most magical time to visit. As you can see in the photo above, part of the waterfall becomes frozen and gives it a fun look. You should note that the main road is closed during this season, so you’ll have to park outside of it and account for an extra three miles each way.

While you don’t have too much elevation gain, you’ll want to make sure you bring your winter gear, such as winter hiking boots or snowshoes, if the snow is deep. This gear will help you have traction on the inclines.

8. Coal Creek Falls

coal creek falls
Image via Flickr by Orion Kahza

Location: Bellevue

Distance from Seattle: 13 miles

Length: 2.5 miles RT

Elevation gain: 416 feet

When you’re looking for waterfalls near Seattle that won’t take up much of your time, you’ll want to check out Coal Creek Falls. This hike is the closest one to the city on this list, so you can easily do it in the morning or even after work. Many people also love that this is one of the shorter Seattle waterfall hikes and an easy Washington hike with kids.

You’ll be in the beautiful Cougar Mountain area but feel like you’re far away from the city. This area used to be full of coal miners, so look around during your trip to these waterfalls in the Seattle area. If you look closely along the trail, you can see large holes from the old days when miners got coal out underneath.

9. Comet and Christine Falls

christine falls rainier

Location: Mount Rainier

Distance from Seattle: 100 miles

Length: 4.4 miles RT

Elevation gain: 1,361 feet

These are some of the most impressive waterfalls in Washington, and you can walk from one to the other. You will need to pay the $30 entrance fee to get into the park, or you can use your America the Beautiful pass.

If you want to make a weekend out of it and explore more hikes in the area, you can check out some of the cute Mount Rainier cabins in the area. Mount Rainier has plenty to do and see, so you’ll want to spend some time here if you can.

Before visiting a national park, I always recommend checking out the U.S. National Park Service website to see any important updates or closures regarding the park. This is especially true in winter, as some of the entrances are completely closed for the season.

10. Marymere Falls

Location: Olympic National Park

Distance from Seattle: 102 miles

Length: 1.8 miles RT

Elevation gain: 500 feet

Marymere Falls is an easy hike to get to if you’re already on the Olympic Peninsula spending one day in Olympic National Park. Due to its short distance, it’s also one of the most suitable family-friendly waterfall hikes near Seattle. Many people also consider it one of the best hikes in Olympic National Park due to how accessible it is.

While going during the summer means the trail won’t be as muddy, don’t rule out visiting in the wintertime. The waterfall is usually at its strongest then with an increase in water, making it one of the best waterfall hikes in Washington when looking for winter activities near Seattle. It’s also an ideal thing to do in the fall in Seattle when you’re looking to get out for the day.

If you want to check out more waterfalls while you’re in the area, plan an Olympic National Park road trip to see some beautiful hikes! You can also look at places to stay in Olympic National Park if you want to make it a multi-day trip.

11. Myrtle Falls

Location: Mount Rainier

Distance from Seattle: 108 miles

Length: 0.8 miles RT

Elevation gain: none

Myrtle Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Washington, so going here is a must when you spend one day at Mount Rainier. One of my favorite waterfall hikes in Washington, this has a completely flat trail that’s also paved, so wheelchairs and strollers can even go on it.

It’s one of the few places in Rainier where you have to put in little effort to see a stunning sight. You’ll park at the Paradise parking lot and walk to the right of the mountain to get here. It’s even doable to see during winter in Mount Rainier as long as you have snowshoes to get there.

If you want to extend your Washington hike, I recommend continuing to the 5-mile Skyline Trail, which is by far my favorite in the park. You’ll go through meadows, see wildflowers if you’re there mid-summer, and get up close and personal with the mountain before looping back down to the parking lot.

12. Silver Falls Loop

Location: Mount Rainier

Distance from Seattle: 139 miles

Length: 3.0 miles RT

Elevation gain: 600 feet

One of the most scenic Mount Rainier hikes is Silver Falls Loop, which has multiple entrances in the southeast part of the park. I love going on this trail because you can either make it a short hike and just visit the falls or do the whole loop, which I’ve also found kid-friendly.

There are several viewpoints to see the waterfall from, and you’ll definitely want to bring your camera and tripod to get some amazing shots. I spent at least an hour last time when I was here on a weekday and had most of it to myself. As it’s not one of the more popular parts of the park, you’ll likely be able to enjoy parts of it to yourself as well.

13. Sol Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls

Location: Olympic National Park

Distance from Seattle: 180 miles

Length: 1.6 miles RT

Elevation gain: 200 feet

This waterfall hike by Seattle is a bit of a drive to get to, but very much worth it. I went here a few years ago when we were staying in Port Angeles for my birthday weekend, and we decided to wake up one morning and make the drive over to Sol Duc. I had this on my list forever, but always hesitated because it’s a good 40-minute drive once you get off 101.

However, it’s absolutely worth it – there’s very little elevation gain, and you don’t have to walk far to see the falls. I recommend taking your time to walk over the bridge that goes over the fall as well as past that for different viewpoints. My young kids were able to easily do it, so it’s great for all skill levels.

Whether you pick one of these waterfall hikes near Seattle or decide to explore them all, you’ll end up with some beautiful photos to share. Enjoy!

5 thoughts on “13 Amazing Waterfall Hikes Near Seattle You Need to Visit in 2024

  1. Sherri says:

    I am headed to Seattle to visit my daughter for a weekend. This article has really helped me find something interesting and outdoorsy to do! Thanks!

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