If you live in Seattle or the surrounding area (like Bellevue, Kirkland, Sammamish, or beyond),
chances are you’re aware that you live in one of the country’s most underrated mountain towns. From our city, we’re just a stone’s throw away from two towering mountain ranges—the Olympics to the West and the Cascades to the East. With Mount Rainier looming over the skyline, it’s easy to understand why so many people flock to Seattle for its unapparelled outdoor access. Still, accessing Washington’s great outdoors takes a bit of effort and know-how. Just because you can see the mountains from the city doesn’t mean that moving here comes with instructions on how and where to enjoy them safely. If you’re new to the city, or you're just starting your journey exploring the outdoors, continue reading below for The Gearhouse Guide to the Best Day Hikes Near Seattle.
Closest Day Hike Near Seattle: Rattlesnake Ledge- Snoqualmie Pass
Trailhead I-90 Exit 32
Length: 4 miles round trip
Rattle Snake Ledge is one of the Seattle area’s most popular hikes. As soon as the first warm spring day arrives, you can expect to find hikers on the trail at Rattlesnake. With the trailhead just 40 minutes down I-90 from downtown, it’s easy to see why Rattlesnake Ledge is one of the most popular day hikes near Seattle. The hike begins next to Rattlesnake Lake and traces the water’s edge for half a mile before it rises sharply through a series of switchbacks. After 1,000 feet of vertical gain over 1.5 miles of forested trail, you’ll come to a rock outcrop with panoramic views of the surrounding snowcapped mountains and the lake below.
Little Si- Snoqualmie Pass
Trailhead: I-90 Exit 32
Length: 5 miles round trip
Little Si and Mount Si are some of the most beloved day hikes near Seattle. The trailhead is just over half an hour’s drive from downtown on I-90. Little Si is the less difficult of the two hikes and takes hikers on a 5-mile round trip trek with a 1200-foot elevation gain. The trailhead begins near the parking area and quickly travels into the dense forest near popular climbing routes. The trail leads to a stunning view of North Bend, the Upper Snoqualmie Valley, and the peak of Mount Si.
Mount Si- Snoqualmie Pass
Length: 8 miles round trip
Mount Si is a more difficult, yet far more rewarding, 8-mile round trip day hike near Seattle with an elevation gain of 3150 feet. Mount Si takes hikers up a steep incline to the summit, where they have the option to push on through a technical rock scramble. Mount Si is a popular training hike for more intensive backpacking and mountaineering.
Ebey’s Landing- Whidbey Island
Length: 3.4-5.6 miles round trip
With views of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains, it’s hard to beat hiking on Whidbey Island. The trailhead is located approximately 60 miles north of the city and includes a ferry ride to the island. The trail begins near Fort Ebey and passes along a coastal bluff where you can spot seals, sea lions, and the occasional orca below. At the end of the bluff, the trail runs into the island’s original homestead from 1850 and then descends the cliff to a rocky beach.
Colchuk Lake / the Enchantments- Central Cascades/ Leavenworth
Length: 9-18 miles
Perhaps one of the most scenic day hikes near Seattle is the arduous trek to Colchuk Lake along the Enchantments trail. Located just outside of Leavenworth, uner 3 hours from the city, this hike is well worth the journey. The hike to Colchuk Lake is a challenging 9-mile round trip out and back that climbs steeply through alpine forests to a stunning mountain lake. The Enchantments through hike is an 18-mile journey through the Cascades and is one of the most sought-after Washington backpacking routes. This specific backpacking route requires a permit which can only be obtained through a lottery system (join Gearhouse for permitting workshops and more if this is on your bucket list). While some hikers do it as a day hike (which doesn’t require a permit), it’s advised to take two days for this challenging route.
Hiking season has officially arrived in Washington. Gear up for your next epic day hike near Seattle or elsewhere with Gearhouse’s Full-Service Trip Planning, or join a group already heading out hiking. Find the gear and snacks you need and meet fellow adventure buddies at Seattle’s only social club for outdoorsy people.