Going for a hike near the city can often feel like you've joined a parade or a conga line. There are certainly the must-see spots, but there are plenty of places to find a breath of fresh air and leave some of the crowds behind. These hikes are close to Seattle and are often less traveled than their popular neighboring trails. And check out our companion guides for Portland and San Francisco if you're planning a trip there as well.
This 1.8-mile loop through third-growth forests down to Washington Lake is a great walk for the whole family. At this time of year, it's way too cold to swim in the lake, but dogs are allowed on the trail, and Fido may appreciate a little water time.
The Mercer Slough Nature Park is just south of Seattle. The 7-mile trail system is mostly boardwalk, and it is very stroller friendly. If you prefer to do some exploring by water, the slough itself is about 2.4-miles across and open to kayakers and canoers. There is also the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center and a small produce market, both worth a visit. Please check the holiday hours before planning your trip. Dogs are allowed in the nature park.
Located on Bainbridge Island on over a half-mile of Puget Sound beach, this park is a not only a great destination, but a fun family outing. Pack a picnic and ride the Bainbridge Ferry across the sound for a full day's adventure. Adirondack chairs will be waiting.
About 12 miles south of Bellingham on the banks of Samish Bay you'll find Blanchard Mountain and Oyster Dome. This trail is 6 miles there-and-back and gains about 2,000 feet on the 3-mile trek out. It has considerable elevation gain, but the trek is certainly worth it for the views at the top. The ledge at the top is quite abrupt, so we would not recommended it for small children. Dogs are allowed.
This waterfall trail is only 45 minutes east of Seattle and sees very little traffic. This is a 6-mile there-and-back trail that climbs about 1,500 feet. As with most climbs, the views and the waterfall are worth it at the end. There are a few points on the trail where hikers need to navigate around rocks, making this trail a little more difficult than others mentioned above. Dogs are allowed.