6 hikes within 60 minutes of the city
Washington State is well known for it’s hiking and beautiful wilderness. Likewise, the city of Seattle is well known for it’s exciting culture and opportunity. It’s been said many times, but the truly great thing about living in Seattle is that you don’t have to give up your love of the outdoors for the niceties of living in the city. Here you can have both because a number of national parks and some the best hiking on this side of the country are right in your backyard. No need for overnight trips or paid time off; you can get knee-deep in the real wilderness in less than an hour outside the city. Here’s 6 of the best hikes near Seattle, all of them within sixty minutes of the city.
If you’re looking for a short hike near Seattle, Rattlesnake Ledge is a fine and rewarding choice. The only problem is that it’s a choice many tend to make. If solitude is what you’re after on your afternoon jaunt out of town, then you may want to venture elsewhere. But, if you’re looking for a well-maintained and relatively easy hike that’ll provide you with some breathtaking views and a few friendly passers-by, then this trail is your best bet. 30-minutes east on I-90 from Seattle, and you’re there. Rattlesnake also gets bonus points for being one for closest dog-friendly hikes near Seattle!
Bandera mountain is fickle. At the outset and for the first couple of miles, you might describe it as a short and relatively easy hike, as you don’t gain much elevation very quickly. Then, it suddenly changes, growing impressively steep with looping switchback trails that can require some effort. But the effort is worth it, even if you don’t reach the final summit. About three and a half miles in, you’ll reach a high sloping meadow sporting wildflowers (if the season’s right) and bleached-white stumps left over from a fire some years ago. This is Little Bandera, technically a false summit, where many tend to stop as the gain in elevation can be a bit extreme. But the views of Mt. Rainier and McClellan Butte from here will give you little reason to press on, as the true summit of Bandera is only 100 feet higher without providing the same sights.
Mount Si is truly one of the best hikes near Seattle, and probably the most popular. Hundreds of years ago it was known as a legendary place among the Snoqualmie people. These days, it is still revered, albeit much differently. Current estimates have 100,000 people traversing Mount Si’s trail every year, and these hikers treasure it in many different ways. Due to its close proximity to town (30-40 minutes if traffic allows), many hit the trail for a quick afternoon workout. Other’s take the day to ease up and down the mountain, savoring the views of Seattle, Snoqualmie Valley, and the Olympics from the top. Some even train in hopes to ascend Mt. Rainier. It’s seen as the gateway to the cascade mountains by many, but many more know it as the perfect moderate hike, challenging but not too challenging, and FUN!
4) Melawka Lake
The trail to Melawka Lake is quite unique in its versatility. It’s well maintained and well utilized, but that shouldn’t shy you away. At the outset of the hike you’ll find yourself in a lush forest with an easy walk as you actually pass under the I-90 going east. It can be a bit noisy, but the noises of cars passing overhead are soon overtaken by the sounds of Denny Creek-the tail end of the lake’s outlet. For most of the year the stream is low and the rocks provide a couple of shallow spots to dip your feet as well as terrain for picnics. Continue on and you’ll find a relatively easy hike up to a view of the waterfall above the creek-Keekwulee Falls. As you pass the view of the falls on the right, you can split off the trail to hike back down the flat area above the waterfall, another popular picnic and swimming spot. Continue up well past the Falls to Hemlock Pass, the highest point of elevation at 4600 ft. Another half mile and you’ll reach Melawka Lake. All the way up to the lake results in a trip of 8.5 miles, which may feel long to some, but it’s well spread over a gain of 2500 ft. And if you prefer a little more privacy to the families and crowds you may find earlier on the trail, it’s worth it.
5) Annette Lake
Not quite as popular as some of the other’s on our list, but nonetheless Annette Lake deserves some credit for really delivering the goods: a wonderful alpine lake, breathtaking views of surrounding mountains, a relatively easy gain of 1400ft over 3 and a half miles, lush forests, and wildflowers (if the season’s right). You start with a steady elevation within a sheltering forest, which eventually opens up to reveal views of Granite Mountain and Humpback Mountain. After the last of a slope switchback, you’ll find a nice flat hike to the north end of Annette Lake. From here you get views of Silver Peak and Abiel Peak. There’s an additional loop, the Asahel Curtis Nature Trail, which provides some good snapshots. There’s also spots to camp for those who backpack in.
Another dog- friendly hike near Seattle, WA to add to the list! And one of the more difficult. Granite Mountain provides epic mountainscape views from an old fire lookout near the top. It is well-maintained and well-used, but the average elevation gain is nearly 1000 feet per mile, making it a little bit of a strenuous journey for some. There is a well known avalanche chute near the beginning of the trail, making this hike season-dependant, unless you have avalanche gear. A few challenging switchbacks provide the first views of the many far-off summits you’ll see along the trail. Eventually, you’ll spy the lookout that is your destination, and the hike’s premiere viewpoint, but a caution: it’s still an additional mile of some rocky terrain before you reach the top.
At Eleanor Apartments, we’re dedicated to providing our residents with a complete and authentic experience of life in Seattle. That includes the experience within and outside the residence as well as within and outside of the city. We want you to thrive here by enjoying all this town has to offer, both natural and otherwise. From Eleanor’s Roosevelt locale, some of the best hikes near Seattle are less than an hour away. Thanks to the Washington Trails Association, if you need additional info on any of these hikes, visit their site.