Our curated list of the best hikes for your Seattle summer.
The Pacific Northwest is well known for its salmon-filled lakes, towering evergreens and snow-packed mountains, so when the sun finally comes out and the rain comes to a halt for summer, it’s time to take advantage of the beautiful scenery that surrounds Seattle! There are endless hikes and trails to choose from, so here are some of our favorites:
This popular hike is great for all ages ranging from toddlers to seniors. Names for the way the trail snakes up the mountain, Rattlesnake Ledge is 2 miles each way and offers spectacular views of the Snoqualmie Region. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to continue your journey, continue out to East Peak, which is 2.4 miles away, or the ridge traverse to Snoqualmie Park, which is 8.3 miles away. Rattlesnake Ledge is very popular so be sure to plan for a small amount of traffic and lots of fellow hikers if it’s a nice day. Lastly, sitting at the bottom of the hike, Rattlesnake Lake is a beautiful place to bring the family or some friends for a nice “beach” day. Don’t forget sunscreen and snacks!
Bandera Mountain offers the best of both worlds to its hikers… It starts with an easy and open path, but halfway through it becomes a bit less groomed and more rough. This change of pace is marked by a footbridge, which is open during all seasons. We recommend you start at Ira Trail; the Ira Trail is quite popular and shares a trailhead with equally popular hikes, Mason Lake and Mount Defiance. Make sure you sneak some peeks at Mt. Rainier through the breaks in the trees! If you’re coming for the full experience, don’t be fooled by Little Bandera — a false summit where many people picnic and enjoy the views before turning back. If you’d like to push onto the official summit, note that the rest of the trail becomes hard to follow and is disguised by many rocks. Also know that the official summit is forested and doesn’t offer a better view than Little Bandera. Remember to bring water for this 8 mile journey!
Poo Poo Point
Next up is another popular hike that offers amazing views of Rainier. Poo Poo Point is just over 7 miles but feels way shorter. It’s a great hike to leisurely stroll, picnic at the top and gawk at how incredible Mt. Rainier looks in the summertime. Although it gets its fair share of laughs, Poo Poo Point was named after the steam whistle sounds of a logging corporation back in the 70s. A spot for paragliders was cleared due to this deforestation, and you can commonly see them shooting off the top. Not only is this trail popular with hikers, but there’s also an abundance of wildlife and fauna. It’s not common, but watch out for bears and cougars. Also keep an eye open for trillium, bleeding heart & yellow violets in early spring and salmonberries or thimble berries in the summer. The hike traverses a number of creeks, which is the perfect background noise for a morning of forest-bathing!
Probably the most difficult on this list — but just as popular — is Mount Si. Starting off gently for the first 1.5 miles, this trail then levels out in a forest of old-growth trees that have survived both fire and logging. Beyond this grove, the trail steepens until about mile 3.5 where there’s a break in the trees and you’re awarded your first view of the horizon, including Mt. Rainier of course. Many hikers turn around at this picnic spot; however, the trail continues. At the peak of Mount Si you’ll enjoy sights of Seattle, the Olympics and the Snoqualmie Valley. The trail may likely be greeted by mountain goats who are common summer visitors and will undoubtedly show anyone up with their climbing skills! A common practice ground for adventurers wanting to hike Mt. Rainier, Mount Si’s trail is a the perfect medium between a tough trail for novice hikers but not too challenging that visitors are scared away.
A huge part of living in Seattle is taking in the breathtaking views and enjoying the short-lived summer to its fullest extent. These are just a few of the hundreds of trails that the areas around Seattle offer to it nature-loving citizens! For information on these trails and more, as well as updated weather and accessibility data, visit WTA.org Be safe and enjoy!