Best Northwest Hikes and Walks

Find serenity, soaring views—and a sweet workout—on these 20 spectacular trails.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

A sweeping glacial vista on a bluebird afternoon…an ancient rain forest, trees dripping with moss…the fecund scent of a deep mountain meadow…come July, our hearts yearn for the sweet sylvan dream that is Northwest hiking. Like nowhere else in the world, here, a short drive and an adventurous spirit are all it takes to transport you to a place of incomparable beauty. Whether you seek a hard-fought climb to rarified air or a simple, in-city stroll amongst towering old-growth trees, there’s a hike or walk here to suit your mood, energy level and time. So strike out on the path of your choosing; you’ll find serenity, soaring views—and a sweet workout—on these 20 spectacular trails. Just click through the following links to find wonderful hikes for all skill levels. First, just pick your favorite brand of natural beauty:

Beautiful Views
Featuring Mount Constitution, Elliott Bay Trail and Second Beach

Old Growth
Featuring the Grove of the Patriarchs, Hall of Mosses and Seward Park 

Wildflowers
Featuring Sourdough Ridge Trail and Winds of Change Trail.

Color show
Featuring Heather Meadows, Washington Park Arboretum and Lake Ingalls

Waterfalls
Featuring Twin Falls, Franklin Falls and Silver Falls

Wildlife
Featuring Golden Gate Trail, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and Juanita Bay Park 

Alpine Lakes
Featuring Lake Serene, Rainy Lake and Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap

 

Before you go...

Download maps, field and trail guides and more:

nps.gov The National Park Service provides information about hikes in National Parks.

fws.gov The US Fish and Wildlife Service provides more on hikes through federally managed land.

wta.org The nonprofit hiking club, Washington Trails Association, offers trip reports, trail summaries and more on its excellent website; members receive a bi-monthly magazine.

Trail Passes
Cars parked at many trailheads require one of these three passes. Always check before you go; skipping the pass can result in a ticket.

Discover Pass: Needed for all state-run trails, including state parks and DNR lands. $10/day or $30/year plus handling fees; purchase in advance; discoverpass.wa.gov

National Parks Pass: Needed for access to Mount Rainier and other National Parks; $30/year or $15/carload for a 7-day pass; sold at park entrances.

Northwest Forest Pass: Needed for NWFS trailheads. Day pass, $5; annual pass, $30; purchase in advance; fs.fed.us/passespermits/

Dogs
Prohibited on all National Parks trails, except on the Pacific Crest Trail (see Sheep Lake). On state-run lands and in-city trails, dogs must be on a leash at all times.

Road Trip: Concrete and East Skagit County

Road Trip: Concrete and East Skagit County

Enjoy a scenic drive and stay out in eagle country
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 
View the eagles during the Skagit Eagle Festival; snap a pic and enter it by January 15 in the Skagit River Bald Eagle Center’s 20th anniversary photo contest. Go win it!

WHERE: Concrete and east Skagit County.

WHY: Eagles are flocking to their spectacular winter getaway—why not join them? The Skagit Eagle Festival (1/1–1/31; concrete-wa.com) happens every January weekend, and your car makes a perfect blind for snapping pictures without scaring off these magnificent birds. Celebrate along the Skagit River with arts and crafts, wine tasting, photography tours and river rafting for eagle spotters.

NIGHT OWLS: Check out the Concrete Theatre, built in 1923 (45920 Main St.; 360.941.0403; concrete-theatre.com), updated for films, live music and events during the festival. early birds: Stop by 5b’s Bakery (45597 Main St.; 360.853.8700; 5bsbakery.com) for quality gluten-free baked goods and more for breakfast or lunch. For dinner, there’s Annie’s Pizza Station (44568 State Route 20; 360.853.7227; anniespizzastation.net), whose handcrafted cuisine would be a hit even in a town bigger than Concrete, population 753.

RULE THE ROOST: Spend the night in one of Ovenell’s Heritage Inn log cabins, located on a historic ranch across the river (46276 Concrete Sauk Valley Road; 360.853.8494; ovenells-inn.com). Pick up a steak or two—the cows are raised right there on the ranch—and throw them on the provided barbecue. Had enough of eagles? Elk, deer and coyotes are known to roam the ranch on a daily basis.