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7 Easy Hikes in Washington for Enjoying the Pacific Northwest

7 Easy Hikes in Washington for Enjoying the Pacific Northwest

If you want to find easy hikes in Washington, you may feel a bit worried that you’ll miss out on the stunning beauty that defines the Pacific Northwest. Don’t worry. The easy trails are stunning, too. You’ll enjoy the same beauty that comes with the toughest of hikes.

Let’s explore seven easy hikes in Washington that will give you a great taste of this beautiful state.

What to Expect When Hiking in the PNW

Hiking in the Pacific Northwest can pose a challenge, not because of the terrain, but because of the thousands of miles of trails to choose from. And while you may not know what you’ll experience, we can tell you to expect stunning scenery, forested mountains, views of the Pacific Ocean, and possible challenging terrain, as well. 

With an average of 73 inches of rain per year, you can also expect wet conditions. But that rain brings about an abundance of trees, streams, lakes, and greenery so luscious and vibrant that the entire hiking experience may seem unreal.

You should also expect crowds on these popular trails. But don’t let the people keep you away. They want to experience the same beauty as you.

The Adventure Begins - Driving to Washington & Our RV Lithium Battery Install | Go North Ep 4

7 Easy & Scenic Hikes in Washington State

Whether you’ve got an hour or three or more, you’ll find hundreds of miles of easy trails to choose from. You’ll come across waterfalls, lush green forests, mountain rivers, wildflowers, and so much more. But how do you choose which trail to start your adventures on? We’ve got seven easy and scenic hikes in Washington State listed for you right here.

1. Skyline Trail to Myrtle Falls, Mt. Rainier National Park

About This Hike: With a round trip total of 0.8 a mile, this popular out-and-back paved trail should take around 30 minutes to complete. But with 150 ft of elevation gain with an average of a 6% grade, it can feel harder than you think and may take a bit longer.

How to Get to the Trailhead: The Skyline Trailhead starts right outside the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center in Mt. Rainier National Park

Don’t Miss: Hiking this easy trail in Washington will reward you with views of Mt. Rainier and its surrounding vista. And, of course, you’ll see the beauty of Myrtle Falls, complete with a boardwalk platform crossing over the top of the falls for a birds-eye view.

Pro Tip: Need somewhere to stay while hiking in Washington? Check out these 9 Best Parks for Camping on the Washington Coast.

Woman hiking in Mt. Rainier National Park.
Enjoy stunning views while hiking through Mt. Rainier National Park.

2. Trail of the Cedars, North Cascades National Park

About This Hike: North Cascades National Park has many trails to choose from. However, Trail of the Cedar, one of the most popular and scenic hikes, contains many wonders.

Clocking in at 1.7 miles round trip, you’ll find fewer people on this trail but the same Pacific Northwest beauty. With only 72 ft of elevation gain, you can expect to complete this trail in under an hour.

How to Get to the Trailhead: Trail of the Cedars starts just left of the Nehalem Campsite in Cascades National Park.

Don’t Miss: The don’t miss features of this easy hike in Washington start immediately with the suspension bridge that leads to the trail. While hiking, you’ll enjoy the education and informative nature signage guiding you along the way.

And with the Skagit River alongside you and the giant Western red cedar trees to keep you company, this easy hike in Washington will not disappoint.

3. Hall of Mosses Trail, Olympic National Park

About This Hike: The Hall of Mosses Trail in Olympic National Park is another easy, very popular trail. It extends less than a mile with only 78 ft of elevation gain, taking less than 30 minutes to complete.

How to Get to the Trailhead: Located in Olympic National Park, the Hall of Mosses Trailhead sits next to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center at the end of the Upper Hoh Road.

Don’t Miss: This easy Washington hike is the quintessential Pacific Northwest trail. On this hike, the Hoh Rain Forest will cover you with a lush canopy of moss-covered trees. The beauty of the varying species of mosses and ferns here may keep you enchanted for hours.

Pro Tip: Keep your eyes peeled for these 23 Best Olympic National Park Animals to Look Out For.

hoh rainforest trail
Hug a tree while hiking through the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park.

4. Riverside State Park, Spokane

About This Hike: Washington may have stunning national parks, but don’t ignore the state parks. Riverside State Park has 55 miles of trails and 17 labeled as easy. You could spend days exploring here. From the Spokane Riverside Trail at half of a mile long up to the Seven Mile Loop Trail for a total distance of 12 miles, you can hike for 30 minutes or 6 hours.

How to Get to the Trailhead: Riverside State Park is just 9 miles northwest of Spokane, just off North Aubrey L. White Parkway.

Don’t Miss: This Washington State park has a lot to offer, no matter what trail you choose. From rivers and forested tree canopies to mountain vistas, your eyes will feast upon bountiful scenic views. And don’t miss the swinging bridge or the Spokane River with its various outlooks.

5. Twin Sisters, Wallula Gap

About This Hike: Try this short 0.6-mile out-and-back hike. This half-mile hike may still pose a challenge as it has 104 ft of elevation gain. However, it should only take about 30 minutes, leaving you with plenty of time to linger in awe at the Twin Sisters.

How to Get to the Trailhead: The Twin Sisters Trail offers a nice getaway from the Tri-Cities area in southeastern Washington. It starts just off of the junction of U.S. Highways 12 and 730. However, you can easily miss the parking area as it is just a spot alongside the curve of the road.

Don’t Miss: The Twin Sisters are two massive pillars of rocks that jut straight out of the mountains above the Columbia River. You may feel the views overlooking the canyon and the cliffs make the elevation gain worth it.

Palouse Falls in Washington
Ready to be speechless? Hike to see Palouse Falls in Washington!

6. Palouse Falls

About This Hike: You may not think this is the easiest hike in Washington, but it is only a mile out and back. The Palouse Falls Trail is labeled hard due to the steep rocky terrain upon entrance to the falls.

If you only want to see the falls, then head on over to the Palouse Falls Overlook instead. You’ll only walk about a tenth of a mile but still have incredible views.

How to Get to the Trailhead: Palouse Falls, located in Palouse Falls State Park in southeastern Washington, lies 100 miles southwest of Spokane. You’ll go through Washtucna, a small town known as the Gateway to Palouse Falls. From there, travel another 17 miles just off Washington State Road 261. 

Don’t Miss: Washington state has named Palouse Falls the official waterfall of Washington. This iconic waterfall stands 198 ft tall, surrounded by majestic cliffs.

Along with this towering sight, you’ll also experience the power of Palouse and Snake Rivers as they combine their forces within Palouse Falls State Park.

Man at the peak of Snoqualmie National Forest
Hike to the top of Snoqualmie National Forest for breathtaking views.

7. Franklin Falls Trail, Snoqualmie National Forest

About This Hike: For our last easy hikes in Washington, try the popular Franklin Falls Trail. This 2-mile total out-and-back excursion has 364 ft of elevation gain and should take less than an hour to complete.

How to Get to the Trailhead: The trailhead lies near Snoqualmie Pass in Snoqualmie National Forest, just off of I-90 at exit 47. From there, go about 2.5 miles down Denny Creek Forest Service Road 58.

Don’t Miss: This hike follows the south fork of the Snoqualmie River, ending at Franklin Falls, a 70 ft waterfall. Along the way, you’ll catch glimpses of misty water pools while hiking through forests and under canopies of vibrant green evergreens.

Adventures in Eastern Washington | Travel to Spokane and Quincy | Vlog 69

Nowhere to Be But Trekking in Washington

Washington State and the Pacific Northwest may have an abundance of rain, but we wouldn’t have the waterfalls and radiant forests that we love without it.

Hiking amidst the rain forests throughout Washington gives you breathtaking scenery with the many majestic waterfalls, lush forests, and expansive views of valleys, mountains, and canyons. There’s nowhere else we’d rather be than trekking on these seven easy hikes in Washington.

What hike would you like to do first? Drop a comment below!

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
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