85 Best Outdoor Adventures: The Top Hikes, Beaches and Campsites Close to Seattle

We've got the scoop on the hikes, camping spots, beaches and adventures that are practically on our doorstep and will keep you outside all summer long

By Seattle Magazine Staff


May 30, 2018

This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article appears in print in the June 2018 issue, as part of the “85 Best Outdoor Adventures” cover story. Click here to subscribe.

By Sarah Edwards, Gwendolyn Elliott, Austin Iverson, Chelsea Lin,  Hilary Meyerson, Kristen Russell, Roddy Scheer and Megan Toal

There’s a reason our town is called the Emerald City: According to state conservation group Washington Wild, Seattle has more designated wilderness areas within a 100-mile radius than any city of comparable size—a whopping 3.6 million acres of it, in fact. But don’t let the “wild” in wilderness scare you: From pristine beaches to mountain trails, beautifully situated campsites to remote locales that turn pitch-black for amazing stargazing, we’ve compiled a summer’s worth of accessible, gorgeous places (some designated wilderness lands, some not) where you can get out there and enjoy it.

Hiking (Spotlight on Lake Serene)
Beach Going
Thrill Seeking
Rest Stops
Your Outdoors 10 Essentials

Check out more information on what you need and how to get involved below:

Take a Pass

To visit some of the sites in this feature, a Discover Pass or a Northwest Forest Pass is required; our listings indicate which one you’ll need. You can purchase a day-use or an annual Discover Pass, for $11.50 or $35 respectively, at store.discoverpass.wa.gov. A Northwest Forest Pass is $5 a day or $30 per year and is available at store.usgs.gov/forest-pass.

Getting There
For detailed directions on how to get to trailheads, go to Washington Trails Association website.

Work Party

Love the outdoors? These groups can help you show your love in a concrete way—by volunteering

Washington Coast Savers helps keep Pacific coastlines free of marine debris and trash. Upcoming cleanups are on July 5 at beaches along the southern Washington coast, and on September 15 for the International Coastal Cleanup at beaches along the entire Washington coastline; sign up at coastsavers.org.

Washington Trails Association (WTA), which works to protect the state’s hiking trails and encourage people to enjoy the outdoors, has volunteer opportunities weekly during the spring and summer. Volunteers help maintain trails throughout the state; sign up at wta.org.

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance strives to maintain the existing mountain biking trails of Washington and to open new ones to give enthusiasts more room to ride. The alliance hosts weekly work parties and events across Washington. Sign up at evergreenmtb.org.

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance wants to keep Puget Sound and its many rivers and streams free of pollution and debris, and to limit pollution by vessels. Volunteers help with kayak and boat patrols, beach cleanups and more. Sign up at pugetsoundkeeper.org.

Get Active

The Northwest is rich in groups advocating for wilderness protection, including these four:

Washington Wild’s mission is to protect and restore every aspect of Washington’s wilderness, from land to sea, through advocacy, civic engagement and education. To learn more and to volunteer for upcoming events, including those offered by the Brewshed Alliance—which highlights the overlapping interests between the conservation and beer communities—visit wawild.org.

Conservation Northwest seeks to protect and restore Washington wildlife and wildlands. One of its recent projects is the I-90 Wildlife Corridor Campaign, which is working to expand the state’s wilderness for wildlife. Learn more at conservationnw.org.

Forterra works to secure urban, rural and wild places in Washington state. Sign up to take part in restoration projects, invasive ivy removal and more at forterra.org.

Alpine Lakes Protection Society protects the beautiful lakes that make up the central region of the Cascade Mountain Range and the Cascade wilderness. Get more information about its work at alpinelakes.org.


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