Seattle is a wonderful place to live in, especially if you are a fan of the great outdoors. Whether you’re a Seattleite or just visiting the area from out of state, you most likely know that there is an incredible variety of hikes within easy reach. So if you find yourself looking for an escape from the city but are overwhelmed by the huge selection of the trails that can be found online, let me make this a little harder for you. There are quite a few easy and popular trails such as Rattlesnake, Franklin Falls, or Poo Poo Point, and while these trails are lovely, you might find yourself “in line” fighting for a good spot to enjoy the view, particularly on a nice day. I think it’s safe to say that most of the hikes on my list can get a little crowded on a nice weekend so if you’re not a big fan of people I suggest sacrificing a few hours of sleep and hitting the trails before they get congested.
1. Heather Lake
4.6 miles round-trip; 80-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Moderate
I recommend going early in the morning for perfect reflections (that is if you’re hiking it late spring-fall, otherwise it’ll most likely be frozen).
2. Mount Pilchuck
5.4 miles round-trip; 100-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Difficult
If you can find it in yourself to wake up in time to hike this for sunrise, I can promise you won’t regret it.
3. Dirty Harry’s Balcony
6.0 miles round-trip, 43-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Moderate
I would suggest hitting this trail in the wintertime because, well, see for yourself.
4. Lake 22
5.4 miles round-trip; 80-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Moderate
If you’re as tacky as me and haven’t turned 22 yet, you should hike this on your 22nd birthday.
5. Mount Catherine
3.0 miles round-trip; 71-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Moderate
I suggest hiking this trail in the summer just because nothing beats the wildflowers growing among the rocks.
6. Rachel Lake
8.0 miles round-trip; 83-minute drive from Seattle; Difficult level: Difficult
Hopefully, you’ll get lucky with the incredible cloud reflections in the perfectly still lake.
7. Snow Lake
7.2 miles round-trip; 55-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Moderate
One of my all time favorites: rain or shine, this hike is always wonderful.
8. Oyster Dome Trail
5.0 miles round-trip; 140-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Moderate
This trail is a lovely change of scenery from the North Cascades and the Snoqualmie Region.
9. Annette Lake
7.5 miles round-trip; 51-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Moderate
Make sure to grab your swimwear if you hit this trail on a nice summer day.
10. Heybrook Lookout
2.6 miles round-trip; 75-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Easy
I highly recommend stopping by the lovely small town of Index on your way back from the hike.
11. Summit Lake
6.1 miles round-trip; 114-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Easy
This is one of my favorite hikes to enjoy the fall colors. P.S. watch out for some treacherous potholes.
12. Bandera Mountain
8.0 miles round-trip; 57-minute drive from Seattle; Difficulty level: Difficult
I’m not big on sunset hikes but if any hike is worth going down in the dark for, it’s this one.
I hope that at least one of these trails has caught your eye and you are planning on checking it out sometime this year. If you need the exact coordinates of the trailheads or are just looking for the most recent conditions of the hike, visit www.wta.org and/or http://www.alltrails.com/.