Washington State Hiking Trails

Mary Gormandy White

Hiking Options in Washington State

There are many beautiful hiking trails in Washington State, providing outdoors enthusiasts to take in the spectacular scenery of the Pacific Northwest. Whether you're looking to spend a day on the trails want to hike into the backcountry to enjoy primitive camping, there's a perfect trail for you in this spectacular state.

Fort Worden Historical State Park

Fort Worden Historical State Park in Port Townsend, Washington offers excellent opportunities for hiking along Puget Sound, with a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains in the distance. The park is more than 430 acres with two miles of shoreline. There are a number of trails in this park, over 11 miles of hiking trails (2.6 miles of which are ADA accessible) and 8.3 miles of biking trails. Download a complete trail map of the park to help map out your hiking route.

Olympic National Park

Washington's Olympic National Park is a hiker's dream. The Port Angeles park is over 900,000 acres with 70+ miles of wilderness shoreline, thousands of miles of streams and rivers, and 60+ glaciers. There are 64 trailheads in the park, with more than 600 total miles of trails. Trail options vary greatly in length, difficulty, terrain, and scenery. With dozens of species of mammals and hundreds of bird species living here, you never know what kind of wildlife you'll see when you go day hiking in this spectacular park..

Mount Rainier

At an impressive 14,410 elevation Mount Rainier is a stunning sight on its own, even from a distance. It's even more impressive when viewed from within Mount Rainier National Park. The park has 260+ miles of developed hiking trails, though visitors should be aware that bicycles and pets are prohibited on the trails. There are a number of family-friendly trails here, as well as a variety of more rugged backcountry options and, of course, the ultimate multi-day mountaineering climb to the summit of Mount Rainier.

Sunrise in Mount Rainier National Park

If you want to see the sights in Mount Rainier National Park from the highest elevation possible without actually having to tackle a steep climb, you'll be glad to know that you can drive your car up to the park's Sunrise Day Lodge and Visitor Center. Situated at an elevation of 6.400 feet, the day lodge is the highest point in the park that is accessible by car. Drive to Sunrise and hike the trail system that starts there for breathtaking views of sub-alpine scenery, Emmons Glacier, and nearby volcanoes. One caveat: It's only open during the summer.

North Cascades National Park

If you are a fan of mountain terrain, you are sure to love hiking in North Cascades National Park. The majority of the park is designated as a wilderness, so it's in pristine, natural condition. Hiking opportunities abound, from short, fairly easy trails that allow visitors to take in the park's incredible scenery to steep hikes that will challenge even the most fit hikers and climbers. There are both developed and backcountry trails.

Mount Baker National Recreation Area 

Mount Baker National Recreation Area is a designated wilderness in the northern part of Washington State where visitors can enjoy day hiking and backpacking, as well as numerous other recreational activities (horseback riding, camping, mountain biking, snowmobiling, etc.) as the seasons allow. There are several great day hiking options here, with some trails suitable for all skill levels and others that are much more rugged. Some of the day use trails are accessible. There are also a number of backpacking trails for those who want a true backcountry experience.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Located in the southwestern part of Washington State, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is made up of more than 1.3 million miles of designated wilderness. Opportunities for day hiking and backpacking for all skill levels abound, including portions of the Pacific Crest Trail. Scenery includes forests, waterfalls, mountains, volcanoes, and more. This incredibly beautiful region that highlights the unique natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Penrose Point State Park

Washington also has an impressive State Park system that offers terrific hiking opportunities. One such example is Penrose Point State Park. Located on Puget Sound, this lovely park sits on 2.5 acres in Bremerton. Hikers and mountain bikers alike can enjoy 2.5 miles of developed trails within the park. Boating and camping are also popular here. There is also a really short (.2 mile) interpretive trail that was put in as an Eagle Scout project.

Discovery Park in Seattle

You don't have to go to a state park or federally protected area to enjoy hiking in Washington State. Located in Seattle, Discovery Park consists of 534 acres and has nearly 12 miles of beautiful trails to explore. Park visitors enjoy hiking to the lighthouse and taking in the bluff view. You can hike the 2.8 mile Discover Park Loop. With only a mild elevation change (just 140 feet), it is suitable for hikers of most skill levels. The park is also home to a short boardwalk over a wetland area that makes a great spot to hike.

Enjoy Outdoors Adventures in Washington State

With so many incredible hiking trails, campgrounds, and other attractions to choose among in Washington, it's a good idea to use a hiking app with expert guidebooks like Trails.com when planning your trip. This can be a great way to help narrow your options to choose the best trails for your skill level and interests, as well as to leave trip reports and upload pictures to help other hikers! What better way to help make the most of your time in the Pacific Northwest?

Mary Gormandy White
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Washington State Hiking Trails