Day Hikes in Washington State

Brimming with mesmerizing Pacific Northwest landscapes, Washington State beckons both casual ramblers and hearty hikers. Organized by region, these day hikes are a treat for all of the senses.

The Islands:

Ebey’s Landing, Whidbey Island
Colonel Isaac Neff Ebey settled on Whidbey Island in the 1850s and built a blockhouse there to protect his land. Today, the structure still stands sentinel over prairies that have been farmed continually for 150 years at what is now called Ebey’s Landing. This stunning hike has a short climb up windswept coastal bluffs and past twisted firs, grass fields like a scene from The Lord of the Rings, and great views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The Volcanoes:

Burroughs Mountain Loop, Mount Rainier National Park
This trail is typically done as a 5-mile loop—although you can extend it to 7 miles. From the Sunrise parking lot, follow the Sourdough Ridge Trail to the junction at Frozen Lake, then climb the gradual slope of Burroughs Mountain to the summit of First Burroughs. Keep your eyes sharp here for mountain goats. The trail continues on up to Second Burroughs, which has a stunning view of Mount Rainier’s northeast flank. Stop here for photos and picnicking, then backtrack to continue down.

Peninsulas & Coast:

Shi Shi Beach, Olympic Peninsula
Added to Olympic National Park in 1976, Shi Shi has long been a favorite spot of naturalists, day-hikers, bird-watchers and surfers. Just meander through Sitka spruce, inch down a steep bluff trail and you’re there: staring south at 2 miles of one of the Northwest’s most beautiful beaches. It’s hard to imagine a better place on the Olympic Coast to take in the powerful, rugged beauty of the wilderness.

North Central:

Maple Pass
From the North Cascades Highway at Rainy Pass, this loop leads past old-growth groves, picturesque meadows and shimmering lakes; across melting snowfields blooming with glacier lilies; through fields abloom with paintbrush and penstemon; and to stunning Cascade vistas. If you don’t have time for the full loop, you can also do a short hike to Rainy Lake from this trailhead.

North Cascades:

Hidden Lake Lookout
Keep your eyes peeled on this sensational hike, featuring clear meadows, massive slabs of granite, a fire lookout and other visual riches. For the first two and a half miles, the route crosses and recrosses East Fork Sibley Creek and gains enough elevation to showcase Mount Baker to the west. At 3 miles, you may encounter a snow gully; don’t proceed without an ice ax. If the route is safe, hike on to more meadows and mountain views, then on up to the 6,890-foot knoll with its 1931 fire lookout.

The Gorge:

Silver Star Mountain
Traversing a meadow-lined ridge high above the Columbia River Gorge, where big-leaf maples, cottonwood and Oregon ash contrast dramatically against basalt cliffs and dark green conifers in autumn, this four-mile trail is a South Cascades favorite. The trail leads up to the Silver Star summit; at 4,300 feet, it has enough altitude to let you see all the way to Portland.

Wine Country:

Yakima Skyline Ridge Trail
Within the L. T. Murray State Wildlife Recreation Area, a desert trail cuts across rolling brown hills, featuring heady blooms and color in spring, plus a diversity of birds and mammals. You might see quail, partridges, hawks, elk, badgers and even bighorn sheep. Park at the trailhead, or stop a half mile short and climb the ridge straight in front of you for the best views; at the top, turn left to meet up with the official trail.


Liberty Lake Regional Park
Eight miles of trail lead along the valley floor, crossing the creek on footbridges, then climb up a series of steep switchbacks. Old-growth cedar—some of the last left in Spokane County—provides plenty of shade, while a waterfall that cascades throughout the year, but particularly in spring, is another trip highlight.


Palouse Falls
The waters of Palouse Falls plunge 198 feet into a cinder-rock bowl below. Drink in your fill of the majestic scenery, then follow the marked path north for a riot of colorful wildflowers in spring and early summer. The trail leads out of the parking area, across a plateau and alongside railroad tracks before looping back down for a nice 2-mile stroll.

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