You are here

Elle Ossello | 10.06.2016

The upper-left corner of the United States is a study in variety and stunning beauty. From the sweeping, arid plains of Eastern Washington to the dripping, mossy rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula, and from the jagged granite peaks of the North Cascades to the behemoth Columbia River Gorge, Washington State is wild.

Compiling a list of this massive state's best hikes is no easy feat, and it's bound to be contentious—there's no way we could include everyone's favorite. What we did do, though, was slice the state into nine regions and select hikes within each area that showcase the beauty of the region as well as represent an array of difficulty, accessibility, and popularity. 

Note that some spectacular hikes like the Moments in Time Interpretive Trail were left off the list because the round-trip distance is shorter than 0.5 miles. Likewise, breathtaking views like those earned at The Enchantment Lakes via Colchuck Lake were disregarded because round-trip distance exceeds 14 miles, and it's better explored as a backpacking trip.

Gather your adventure buddies, crack some beers, lay out a topo map, and dive further into Outdoor Project to better acquaint yourself with your growing bucket list, because almost every single one of these day hikes is a must-not-miss.

Columbia River Gorge

View near the top of Beacon Rock looking east into the Columbia River Gorge. Photo by Tyson Gillard.
  1. Cape Horn Loop Hike
  2. Hamilton Mountain Hike
  3. Little Hamilton Mountain Hike
  4. Beacon Rock Hike
  5. Wind Mountain
  6. Dog Mountain Hiking Loop
  7. Coyote Wall Hiking Trail
  8. Catherine Creek Hiking Trail
  9. Table Mountain

Southwestern Washington

Stunning views of Mount St. Helens via Norway Pass. Photo by Daniel Sherman.
  1. Lewis River Falls
  2. Silver Star Mountain via Ed's Trail + Silver Star Mountain
  3. Mount Margaret via Norway Pass
  4. Mount St. Helens Worm Flows Hike
  5. Mount St. Helens Hike, Monitor Ridge Route
  6. Ape Canyon
  7. Falls Creek Falls
  8. Siouxon Creek Hike
  9. Soda Peaks Lake

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

View to the south toward Mount Adams (12,280 ft) on the trail to Goat Lake. Photo by Tyson Gillard.
  1. High Rock Lookout Tower Hike
  2. Killen Creek to High Camp, Mount Adams
  3. Goat Lake
  4. Sleeping Beauty Hike
  5. Juniper Peak Hike
  6. Angel Falls and Covell Creek Loop Hike
  7. Cispus Point from Jackpot Lake Hike

Mount Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness

Sunset from Mount Adams, South Climb. Photo by Shane Kucera.
  1. Mount Adams, South Climb
  2. Bird Creek Meadows
  3. Round the Mountain Trail
  4. Clear Lake
  5. Cultus Creek to Lemei Rock
  6. Nannie Peak Hike

Mount Rainier National Park

View toward Eunice Lake and Mount Rainier from Tolmie Peak. Photo by Tyson Gillard.
  1. Tolmie Peak Hike
  2. Tipsoo Lake + Naches Peak Loop Trail
  3. Skyline Trail Hike
  4. Palisades Lake Trail
  5. Spray Waterfall + Spray Park Hike
  6. Tamanos Mountian Hike
  7. Sunrise Rim Trail Hike
  8. Dewey + Anderson Lakes
  9. Mount Margaret
  10. Summerland + Panhandle Gap
  11. Burroughs Mountain Hike
  12. Silver Forest Trail
  13. High Rock Lookout Tower Hike

Western Olympic Peninsula

Sol Duc Falls. Photo by Daniel Sherman.
  1. Klahhane Ridge Trail + Sunrise Point
  2. Hurricane Hill Trail
  3. Elwha River Trail, Goblin Gates + Humes Ranch Loop
  4. Hoh Rainforest, Hall of Moss Trail
  5. Sol Duc Falls

Hood Canal + Eastern Olympic Peninsula

The views from Royal Lake offer campers a glimpse at some of the peaks in the area. Photo by Matthew Williams.
  1. Royal Basin Falls
  2. Mount Ellinor Via Upper Trailhead
  3. Jefferson Ridge Hike
  4. Lena Lake Hike
  5. Upper Lena Lake Hike
  6. Enchanted Valley Trail to Pony Bridge
  7. Mount Angeles Via Switchback Trail

The Coast

A perfect camping spot at La Push, Second Beach. Photo by Daniel Sherman.
  1. Shi Shi Beach Hike
  2. Point of the Arches Via Shi Shi Beach
  3. Ozette Triangle Loop Trail
  4. Ozette, North Sand Point Trail
  5. La Push, Third Beach
  6. Damon Point Hike
  7. Leadbetter Point Loop Hiking Trail
  8. McKenzie + North Head Hiking Trails

North Cascades

Lake Ann from the Maple Pass Trail. Photo by Brandon Fralic.
  1. Blue Lake Hike
  2. Lake Ann
  3. Colchuck Lake Trail
  4. Granite Mountain Lookout
  5. Eagle Lake
  6. Bridal Veil Falls
  7. Gem Lake + Wright Mountain Hike
  8. Bear + Deer Lakes
  9. Commonwealth Basin Trail to Red Pass
  10. Mount Defiance
  11. Umtanum Ridge Crest Trail
  12. Thornton Lakes Trail + Trappers Peak

Mount Baker Area

Mount Baker from Table Mountain. Photo by Brandon Fralic.
  1. Lake Ann
  2. Chain Lakes Loop Trail
  3. Table Mountain
  4. Dock Butte Hike
  5. Railroad Grade Trail


This list is exactly what I needed. I am a Seattleite of two years and haven't done nearly enough hiking.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.