Explore Washington's vast and varied landscape on these 5 stunning day hikes.
Washington State's landscape is vast and varied. While it is home to a major population hub in the Seattle Metro Area, even just a few minutes outside of Seattle, the forests are deep, and the mountains soar into the sky. Since the population is so concentrated in essentially one major metropolitan area, much of the rest of the state is covered in vast, untrammeled wilderness.
When most people think of Washington, they envision the dark, wet rainforests found along the coast. And while this is one key part of Washington's landscape and a part featured heavily in this guidebook, the state is also home to towering mountains and high alpine regions, including massive volcanoes. Mount Rainier, in particular, is not only the most glaciated peak in the Lower 48, but it's the most prominent mountain in the continental United States, towering 13,210 feet over the surrounding landscape and rising to a max height of 14,411 feet above sea level.
From coast to forest to glacier-covered mountains, Washington is home to many lifetimes' worth of adventure. It's impossible to narrow the thousands of miles of trails down to a mere Top 5 list, yet all five of these day hikes easily demand a spot on your bucket list.
To enjoy views of the massive Mount Rainier, hike the renowned Skyline Trail to Panorama Point. For epic mountain views closer to Seattle (and an even shorter hike), try checking out Rattlesnake Ledge.
If you would like to stand on a volcano instead of just looking at one, climb to the rim of Mount Saint Helen’s volcanic crater via the Monitor Ridge Route.
Is long-distance cross-country hiking more your thing? Then the Cascade Pass trail will be right up your alley.
Finally, if you want a taste of a classic Washington rainforest, hike a portion of the renowned Hoh River Trail in Olympic National Park.
Looking for a little more challenge? Check out our list of the top five backpacking routes in Washington!