11 Incredible Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is about my recommendations for Washington hikes. In particular, which trails I suggest for beginners and people just getting into hiking. So I have put together this blog post featuring the 11 BEST beginner friendly hikes here in Washington state!

In this article you will also find tips on how to plan hiking adventures, what to wear and pack on Washington hikes, and some handy trail etiquette tips.

Beginner Hikes in Washington

This blog post is in partnership with Backcountry.com, my go-to online retailer for all things adventure. They also offer free 2-day shipping on orders over $50, easy returns, 24/7 advice from their amazing Gearheads, and they support incredible causes like The Nature Conservancy. Backcountry have kindly offered my readers 15% off first-time online orders using code RENEE15! (some exclusions apply)

Beginner Hikes in Washington

Below I am sharing tips how how to plan hiking adventures in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington State. I am also featuring 11 of the best hiking trails for beginners. But keep in mind that these hiking trails are suitable for more experienced adventurers too! Then towards the end of this blog post you will find some handy packing tips for your next hike. So leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Beginner Hikes in Washington


Planning tips for beginner hikers

One of the most common misconceptions is that all beginner hikers only want do super easy trails. This isn’t true! A lot of beginner hikers have told me that they often want to be challenged but would prefer to stick to well maintained trails and hikes where they won’t be the only ones out there (in case they get into any difficulties).

Keeping that in mind, the following 11 beginner friendly Washington hikes range from easy to moderate, short to long, and are spread out across the state of Washington. All of these trails are relatively popular, well-maintained, mostly accessible via paved roads, and have facilities such as vault toilets at the trailheads.

Before you head out hiking for the first time you will need to:

  • Research your trail (use this guide plus other resources such as the Washington Trails Association).
  • Factor in overall distance, elevation gain, current conditions and your fitness when selecting a trail.
  • Start easy and gradually work your way up to longer and more challenging trails.
  • Be sure to wear and pack the appropriate items (more on this further down the blog post).
  • Print a physical map of the trail and/or download offline maps (I use the Gaia GPS app).
  • Tell someone your plans before heading off (where you are going and when you will be back).
  • Read up on Leave No Trace Principles.

I also have a guide to beginners hiking preparation if you want to check it out: Beginners Guide to Hiking.

Disclaimer: These hikes are suggestions for the summer months and early fall, with the exception of Artist Point as a winter alternative.


Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Barclay Lake

Washington Hikes #1: Barclay Lake

Barclay Lake trail is short in length, not very steep, and has an easy to follow route – making it the perfect beginner friendly Washington hike! It’s also a great one to access in late spring/early summer because the trail becomes snow-free before a lot of other hikes higher in the mountains. Those living on the northern side of Seattle can also make this an after-work hike in the middle of summer when the days are longer!

Insider’s tip – For those newer to the outdoors who are looking to test their backpacking skills and gear, Barclay Lake is also the perfect place to do it. There are a few designated areas close to the lake where you can set up for the night, and if for some reason things didn’t go to plan, it’s only a short walk back to the car.

Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Native lands: Coast Salish, Tulalip
Distance: 4.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 500 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Dirt forest road but 4×4 is not usually required

Latest trail conditions and more information


Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Marymere Falls Trail

Washington Hikes #2: Marymere Falls

Marymere Falls is a great hike for those wanting to stretch their legs after driving around the Olympic Peninsula. At less than two miles roundtrip, it winds through the forest and will you cross a beautiful stream on the way to the falls. Be sure to check out Lake Crescent and the picturesque Storm King Ranger Station while you are in the area. Check out this blog post for more recommendations!

Location: Olympic National Park
Native lands: Klallam
Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 500 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Pass/permit: National Parks Pass
Dogs: Not allowed
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information


Washington Hikes #3: Hoh Rain Forest Loop

The Hoh Rain Forest Loop is actually a combination of two shorter trails, Spruce Nature Trail and Hall of Mosses. They leave from the same parking lot and make a great pairing if you’re in the Hoh Rain Forest area of Olympic National Park. Being so flat and short in length, these trails can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone!

My favorite time to do this hike is in the spring when the greenery is in its prime, but it is still beautiful at any time of the year. Be sure to check out my Olympic National Park guide!

Location: Olympic National Park
Native lands: Hoh, Quinault
Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 100 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Pass/permit: National Park Pass
Dogs: No
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information

RELATED: Eco-Friendly Outdoor Hygiene Tips for Every Hiker and Camper


Washington Hikes #4: Heybrook Lookout

Heybrook Lookout might be the closest lookout tower to Seattle, and as a result is a great little after-work hike in the summer months. Don’t let the short length of this hike fool you though! There are a couple of sections that are quite steep, so make sure to pack some water and wear comfortable hiking clothes/shoes.

The lookout provides gorgeous views of Mt Index and the surrounding peaks, and there is also a picnic table at the bottom if you want to have a snack break. Sunset is a great time to be up at Heybrook Lookout as the light can be really stunning!

Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Native lands: Coast Salish, Snohomish, Tulalip
Distance: 2.6 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 850 feet
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Pass/permit: NA
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road 2×2 friendly
Insider’s tip: You can add on nearby Heybrook Ridge for a longer day of hiking

Latest trail conditions and more information


Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Rattlesnake Ledge Sunrise

Washington Hikes #5: Rattlesnake Ledge

Rattlesnake Ledge is a classic Washington hike for good reason! Being so close to Seattle (35 minutes from downtown) and having such great views of the cascades/Rattlesnake Lake below, it draws crowds from all over Puget Sound.

Keep in mind that this is not the hike to escape from crowds, but it is an excellent one to work on your cardio and hiking legs. Due to the relatively low elevation, this hike is also snow-free the majority of the year, allowing you to keep your fitness up during winter when many other hikes will be inaccessible without snowshoes.

Location: Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area
Native lands: Coast Salish, Duwamish
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1160
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Pass/permit: NA
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly
Winter tip: Take shoe traction such as microspikes

Latest trail conditions and more information


Washington Hikes #6: Lake Twenty-Two

Lake Twenty-Two is one of Washington’s classic beginner-friendly alpine lake hikes. Located along Mountain Loop Hwy, it’s easy to access and has a well maintained trail. This one is a good one to “graduate” to once you feel comfortable on shorter hikes such as Rattlesnake Ledge, Barclay Lake etc… or for those who are coming into hiking already relatively fit.

The trail can be rocky and root covered in parts, so be sure to watch your step. The views at the top are beautiful and you will come out of the trees to a clear alpine lake surrounded by towering peaks. This is a great spot for a snack or some lunch before heading back down to the car. Do note that parking lot can fill quite early, so plan to get there bright and early OR later once the day-trippers are coming down from lunch.

Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Native lands: Coast Salish, Snohomish, Tulalip
Distance: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1350 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly
Insider’s tip: The parking lot can fill quite early, so plan to get there bright and early.

Latest trail conditions and more information

RELATED: Leave No Trace: The Seven Principles


Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Mount Rainier Skyline Loop

Washington Hikes #7: Skyline Loop Trail

Skyline Loop Trail is the perfect hike for getting up-close and personal with Mount Rainier! You will leave from the bustling Paradise parking lot, but the crowds will disperse once you get further out on the trail. This is one of my favorite summer hikes when the wildflowers are peaking (July/August) as the flowers are abundant and SO vibrant!

If you do the whole loop there is quite a climb to reach the highest point, so make sure to bring some snacks and water. The beginning of this loop is actually paved, and a good one to take older relatives who might have a hard time on regular trails. Be sure to check out my Mount Rainier National Park comprehensive guide!

Location: Mount Rainier National Park
Native lands: Puyallup
Distance: 5.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1450 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Pass/permit: National Park Pass
Dogs: No
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information


Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Heather Maple Pass Loop

Washington Hikes #8: Heather-Maple Pass Loop

Heather-Maple Pass Loop is one of my favorite hikes in Washington. It’s more challenging than some others on this list, but it’s easily accessible, relatively well-trafficked, and relatively easy to navigate. Be prepared for an uphill climb to the top, but the views are absolutely worth it! I recommend this hike for those who have a little more experience under their belt as the elevation gain can be challenging for some.

Keep in mind that there are a couple of points where the trail breaks off in other directions, so having a map is recommended for those unfamiliar with the area. Being a few hours away from Seattle, I recommend camping at one of the nearby campgrounds and making a fun getaway out of it!

Location: Okanogan – Wenatchee National Forest
Native lands: Nlaka’pamux, Okanagan, Chelan
Distance: 7.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 2000 feet
Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information

RELATED: 7 Best Outdoor Things To Do During Fall In Washington State


Washington Hikes #9: Mount Pilchuck

Mount Pilchuck might be the most popular fire lookout hike in Washington, and having done this a few times I can see why. The 360 degree views up the top of the cascades, Mount Rainier and Glacier Peak are incredible! This hike covers a decent amount of elevation gain, so I would definitely put it in the moderate – strenuous category. It’s a good one to undertake once you feel confident on some of the previously suggested easier hikes.

This hike is best done from July-October when it’s more likely to be snow-free, but it can also be a nice late spring hike with the right equipment for light snow travel. Like many of the other hikes on this list, the parking lot can be quite busy so I suggest getting there first thing so you are not disappointed (or go later in the afternoon).

Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Native lands: Coast Salish, Snohomish, Tulalip
Distance: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 2300 feet
Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road most of the way, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information


Washington Hikes #10: Colchuck Lake

Colchuck Lake is the most strenuous hike on this list, but it’s a popular and maintained trail that is easy to access. If you are new to hiking, I wouldn’t do this as your first trail, but I’d definitely recommend it once you clock up some miles! The views of Colchuck Lake at the top are some of the best in Washington, and on a warm summer day you can even jump in the lake to cool off.

To camp here you must have a permit (obtained through a lottery system), but day hikers are permitted. Be aware that the parking lot often fills up very early, so plan to arrive as early as possible (especially if you are visiting on a weekend). This hike is also best done as a summer hike once the snow clears out, so plan to hike from June – October depending on snow conditions. I also recommend visiting the nearby town of Leavenworth after your hike for a delicious meal before heading back to Seattle!

Location: Okanogon – Wenatchee National Forest
Native lands: Yakima, Wenatchi
Distance: 8 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 2280 feet
Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: No
Road access: Paved road most of the way, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information


Washington Hikes #11: Artist Point

*This is a beginner friendly WINTER hike!

This is probably my favorite accessible winter activity in Washington. During summer you can drive right up to Artist Point, but in winter the road is closed about 2 miles from the top and you need to park at Bagley Lake trail head. This is definitely a hike for those who are a little more experienced as there’s a small amount of route finding, and you will need to wear snowshoes. Check out my in depth blog post on this winter adventure!

Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Native lands: Nlaka’pamux, Coast Salish, Nooksack
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1000 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road but beware of snowy conditions

Latest trail conditions and more information

RELATED: Ultimate Winter Hiking and Camping Guide


What to wear hiking in Washington

It can be confusing to know what to wear when first getting into hiking! The key considerations are comfort and safety but keep in mind that this can look a little different for everyone.

For years now I have purchased my hiking gear from Backcountry.com. They offer free 2-day shipping on order over $50, easy returns, and they often have amazing sales. If there isn’t a sale going on you can opt to use the code RENEE15 for 15% off your first order (some exclusions apply).

Here are my top recommendations for what to wear hiking in Washington. Keep it mind that these are 3 season recommendations, not winter. Check out this winter specific post if you plan to take some winter hiking adventures.

Hiking shoes

Hiking shoes are very person specific. Some people love wearing trail runners and others prefer boots. Some people prefer heavier waterproof boots and others prefer lighter options. When hiking in Washington I usually opt for a waterproof boot with ankle support, but something that isn’t too heavy, like the Danner Adrika Hiker Boot or the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX Hiking Boots. Once the trails become dryer I sometimes opt for a pair of trail runners like the La Sportiva Bushido II Trail Running Shoe.

Beginner Hikes in Washington Beginner Hikes in WashingtonBeginner Hikes in Washington

READ NEXT: The Best Hiking Shoes for Men and Women

Hiking socks

Don’t overlook the importance of having socks that fit correctly and are comfortable to wear for a long time. Over the years I have found that merino wool socks from Darn Tough, Smartwool, and Icebreaker are the most durable, least smelly and most comfortable for hiking.

Beginner Hikes in Washington  Beginner Hikes in WashingtonBeginner Hikes in Washington

Hiking bottoms

What you wear for bottoms is a personal preference. If you’re a pant kind of person then I would suggest the Arc’teryx Gamma LT Softshell Pant or something similar. If you prefer leggings then I would suggest the Backcountry Active Leggings (with side pockets!) If you’re more of a shorts person then you can’t go past the Backcountry Olympus Lightweight Short. I personally prefer to keep my legs covered to protect from sunburn, tics, mosquitoes, and scratches. Another option is wearing convertible pants that you can easily switch to shorts, such as theOutdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pant.

Beginner Hikes in Washington Beginner Hikes in WashingtonBeginner Hikes in Washington

Hiking shirt

For hiking shirts you can either go with short sleeve, long sleeve, or a tank options. For cooler hikes or those where I am worried about sunburn I will usually opt for longer sleeves and wear something like the Smartwool Merino 150 Long Sleeve Top. Otherwise you will usually find me in one of the Icebreaker Tech Lite SS Low Crewe Shirts. Natural fibers like merino wool are my go-to for hiking tops due to the odor-reducing properties and overall comfort.

Smartwool Long Sleeve Icebreaker Tank Icebreaker Tank

Hat

I recommend you wear some kind of hat on the trail to protect you from the sun, especially during the warmer months of July and August. Some popular options are caps such as the Patagonia P-6 Label Trad Cap or wider hats such as the Patagonia Baggies Brimmer Hat. If you just want to keep hair out of your face then I would recommend a headband like the Prana Jacquard Headband.

Patagonia Cap Patagonia Baggies Hat Beginner Hikes in Washington Beginner Hikes in Washington Prana headband

Sunglasses

Having sunglasses makes hiking a LOT more enjoyable on a sunny day (or when it’s overcast with a lot of glare). In addition, polarized sunglasses will cut the reflections and glare on those beautiful lakes you are looking at (bonus!) My go-to sunglasses brands are Sunski, SMITH and RAEN.

Smith Sunglasses Sunski Sunglasses Raen Sunglasses

Trekking poles

Not everyone enjoys using trekking poles but I personally find them helpful for Washington hikes with considerable elevation gain, or if the terrain is unsteady. My go-to poles are the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles as they are lightweight and comfortable to use. Some more affordable option are the LEKI Voyager Trekking Poles and the Black Diamond Trail Sport 2 Trekking Poles.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles Leki Voyager Trekking Poles Black Diamond Trail Sport Trekking Poles


What to pack for day hikes

Now that you’re sorted on what to wear hiking in Washington, you probably want to know what to pack! Below I have listed some recommended items. In terms of what gear is absolutely essential for survival versus “nice to have”. I would first make sure you have the 10 essentials: navigation, sun protection, insulation, headlamp, first aid supplies, fire starter, shelter, repair kit, food, and water.

Backpack

You could technically hike without a daypack, but it might be challenging to carry your drink bottle, layers snacks, etc. without a small space to store them. I would recommend you use a backpack that you already have at home or invest in one that is made for hiking. Key features include adjustable straps, waist belt/strap, chest strap, and somewhere to easily access your water bottle or water bladder. I swear by my Osprey Tempest 20L Daypack (comes in 9L, 20L, 30L, 40L, and a 6L lumbar pack for trail runners). Another good option is the Patagonia Nine Trails 20L Backpack, or sometimes I opt to use my camera bag if it’s a short hike (the Peak Design Everyday 30L Camera Backpack).

Osprey Tempest 20L Patagonia Nine Trails 20L Peak Design Camera Bag

Warm layers

You will want to pack some sort of insulation layer in case it gets cold, even if it seems like a sunny day! The weather can change very fast in the mountains of Washington. A nice breathable mid layer I love is the Patagonia R1 Fleece and I will even hike in this on cooler days. Another one of my favorites is the Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece Jacket, but keep in mind that it is heavier and also warmer than the R1.

For an additional warmth layer I would suggest something like the Arc’teryx Atom LT Jacket or the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Down Jacket (an investment but SO worth it for such a feather-light warm jacket in my opinion). I pretty much take my Cerium LT everywhere I go. A more affordable option is the Patagonia Down Sweater.

A Beginners Guide To Backcountry Camping - Patagonia R1 FleeceArcteryx Atom LTGet Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking

Rain & wind protection

I rarely go on Washington hike without a rain jacket. You just never know when the weather will turn! My go-to is the Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket and I also like the Patagonia Torrentshell. Both are lightweight and will keep you dry in a downpour. I also usually pack a lightweight wind jacket. This is completely optional but I find these are often the perfect thing to throw over a t-shirt when there is wind chill but it’s too hot for a fleece. Plus they stop mosquitoes biting you! Over the years I have owned the Arc’teryx Squamish hooded jacket, Patagonia Houdini Jacket, and the Backcountry Canyonlands Jacket and they all do a brilliant job.

Patagonia TorrentshellGet Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking

Water bottle

A water bottle or hydration bladder is an absolute must when hiking! Dehydration can be a killer so it’s not something to skimp on. I personally haven’t had a great experience using hydration bladders so I stick with my trusted Hydroflask and Nalgene water bottles. Hydroflask’s will keep your water cool (or warm) for an entire day whereas Nalgene’s are more of a regular style water bottle.

A Beginners Guide To Backcountry Camping - Hydroflask Holy Grail Hiking and Camping Gear - 2019 Edition - NalgeneMount Rainier National Park Guide - Hydroflask

Snacks

Hiking snacks are a personal preference and the amount you pack will depend on the length and difficulty of trail. I will typically pack some granola bars, protein bars, energy chews, homemade trail mix, gummy worms, nut butter sachets, wafers, or dark chocolate. If I want something more substantial I will pack a bagel or fresh bread and cheese.

A Beginners Guide To Backcountry Camping - Clifbar A Beginners Guide To Backcountry Camping - Pro Bar Bolts A Beginners Guide To Backcountry Camping - Stinger Wafer

Navigation

Another one of the “10 Essentials” is a means of navigation. A great starting place is purchasing or printing a topographic map for the area you will be hiking (keep it inside a protective/waterproof sleeve). It’s also a great idea to bring along a compass and have some basic skills to use it. In addition to this, it’s a good idea to save some offline maps to your phone. For instance, I use apps like Gaia and Maps.Me for hiking and backcountry trips.

Get-Outside-Beginners-Guide-to-Camping-6)

Emergency device

This isn’t a “must have” but more a piece-of-mind item that is good to have if you can afford it. Emergency devices essentially provide a means to call for help if you find yourself in a precarious situation. You may be taking local trips where you have phone service, but if not it might be worth investing in a device that has an SOS feature and tracker, like the Garmin InReach Explorer+ or SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger. My husband and I didn’t make this purchase for quite some time after we got into hiking and backcountry camping, but it now gives us peace of mind on longer treks and more risky hikes.

Garmin InReach Explorer 

First Aid

I typically take a small and lightweight first aid kit on hiking trips. You just never know when it will come in handy for yourself or your hiking partner. I really like the range by Adventure Medial Kits as they are ultralight and waterproof. I always throw in a couple of extra blister-pads too, just in case!

Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking

Bug protection

Depending on where you are hiking, it’s probably a good idea to take some bug spray with you. Ticks and mosquito-born diseases are no joke in many places around the world so best to be prepared! As I said above, I often choose to hike in full-length clothes to avoid wearing bug spray and I sometimes wash my clothes in mosquito deterring solution/spray for longer trips. I also nearly always take a bug headnet with me.

*Also be sure to wear sunscreen!

Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking

Gloves & Beanie

Even during Washington’s summer months I will often pack a pair of lightweight gloves and a beanie if I am going on a early morning or late afternoon hike. The weather can change very fast in the mountains and I personally get cold easily, so it’s worth the extra weight for me. Do what suits you! The North Face and Icebreaker both make a range of good glove choices. But for beanies I usually opt for my Pendleton Cable Hat.

Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking Pendelton Cable Hat

Extra items

If you plan to stay out for sunset or will be hiking up pre-sunrise, then I would highly suggest packing a headlamp. My go-to is the Petzl Actik Headlamp. Some extra “just in case” items you may consider bringing along are an emergency blanket/bivy, means to start a fire, a knife or multi-tool, and a whistle.

Holy Grail Hiking and Camping Gear - 2019 Edition - Petzl Actik HeadlampEmergency bivy 

Day Hiking Packing List Free Download - Renee Roaming


Washington hiking etiquette

When accessing these beginner friendly Washington hikes it’s important to demonstrate appropriate hiking etiquette. By this I am referring to:

  • Unless signed otherwise, give way to hikers coming uphill and always yield to horses and other pack stock.
  • Say a friendly “hello” to other hikers so that they know you are approaching (and to create a welcoming atmosphere on the trail).
  • Don’t speak loudly on the phone, repeatedly shout to your friends, or play music out loud on the trail (no speakers please!) Be respectful of other hikers and wildlife by keeping noise to a minimum. Many wildlife species rely on natural sounds for communication purposes, and disrupting those sounds can hurt their chances of survival.
  • Stay on the trail unless it’s absolutely necessary when yielding. Going off trail can damage plant or animal species and hurt the trails ecosystems.
  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles (more on that below): leave rocks, vegetation, and artifacts where you find them for others to enjoy.
  • Give wildlife space by keeping an appropriate distance and not abruptly startling them. NEVER feed wild animals.

Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Lake 22 Trail

Leave No Trace

If you’re going to be out in nature, it’s important that you strive to protect it and follow Leave No Trace principles. In addition, please be sure to educate yourself before heading out. Find out more information via the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics or read my in-depth blog post on the subject.


More Pacific Northwest inspiration


PIN to read later!

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is about my recommendations for Washington hikes. In particular, which trails I suggest for beginners. So I have put together this blog post featuring the 11 BEST beginner friendly hikes here in Washington state! In this article you will also find tips on how to plan hiking adventures, what to wear and pack on Washington hikes, and some trail etiquette tips. #WashingtonHikes #BeginnerHikes #Hiking #PNW #Washington


Disclaimer: Thank you to Backcountry for collaborating on this blog post about beginner friendly Washington hikes. The offer of 15% off does not apply on top of any other offer or discount, and it’s one use per customer. As always, all opinions are my own. This post does contain some affiliate links,  which means if you buy something my blog will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

11 Incredible Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is about my recommendations for Washington hikes. In particular, which trails I suggest for beginners and people just getting into hiking. So I have put together this blog post featuring the 11 BEST beginner friendly hikes here in Washington state!

In this article you will also find tips on how to plan hiking adventures, what to wear and pack on Washington hikes, and some handy trail etiquette tips.

Beginner Hikes in Washington

This blog post is in partnership with Backcountry.com, my go-to online retailer for all things adventure. They also offer free 2-day shipping on orders over $50, easy returns, 24/7 advice from their amazing Gearheads, and they support incredible causes like The Nature Conservancy. Backcountry have kindly offered my readers 15% off first-time online orders using code RENEE15! (some exclusions apply)

Beginner Hikes in Washington

Below I am sharing tips how how to plan hiking adventures in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington State. I am also featuring 11 of the best hiking trails for beginners. But keep in mind that these hiking trails are suitable for more experienced adventurers too! Then towards the end of this blog post you will find some handy packing tips for your next hike. So leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Beginner Hikes in Washington


Planning tips for beginner hikers

One of the most common misconceptions is that all beginner hikers only want do super easy trails. This isn’t true! A lot of beginner hikers have told me that they often want to be challenged but would prefer to stick to well maintained trails and hikes where they won’t be the only ones out there (in case they get into any difficulties).

Keeping that in mind, the following 11 beginner friendly Washington hikes range from easy to moderate, short to long, and are spread out across the state of Washington. All of these trails are relatively popular, well-maintained, mostly accessible via paved roads, and have facilities such as vault toilets at the trailheads.

Before you head out hiking for the first time you will need to:

  • Research your trail (use this guide plus other resources such as the Washington Trails Association).
  • Factor in overall distance, elevation gain, current conditions and your fitness when selecting a trail.
  • Start easy and gradually work your way up to longer and more challenging trails.
  • Be sure to wear and pack the appropriate items (more on this further down the blog post).
  • Print a physical map of the trail and/or download offline maps (I use the Gaia GPS app).
  • Tell someone your plans before heading off (where you are going and when you will be back).
  • Read up on Leave No Trace Principles.

I also have a guide to beginners hiking preparation if you want to check it out: Beginners Guide to Hiking.

Disclaimer: These hikes are suggestions for the summer months and early fall, with the exception of Artist Point as a winter alternative.


Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Barclay Lake

Washington Hikes #1: Barclay Lake

Barclay Lake trail is short in length, not very steep, and has an easy to follow route – making it the perfect beginner friendly Washington hike! It’s also a great one to access in late spring/early summer because the trail becomes snow-free before a lot of other hikes higher in the mountains. Those living on the northern side of Seattle can also make this an after-work hike in the middle of summer when the days are longer!

Insider’s tip – For those newer to the outdoors who are looking to test their backpacking skills and gear, Barclay Lake is also the perfect place to do it. There are a few designated areas close to the lake where you can set up for the night, and if for some reason things didn’t go to plan, it’s only a short walk back to the car.

Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Native lands: Coast Salish, Tulalip
Distance: 4.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 500 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Dirt forest road but 4×4 is not usually required

Latest trail conditions and more information


Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Marymere Falls Trail

Washington Hikes #2: Marymere Falls

Marymere Falls is a great hike for those wanting to stretch their legs after driving around the Olympic Peninsula. At less than two miles roundtrip, it winds through the forest and will you cross a beautiful stream on the way to the falls. Be sure to check out Lake Crescent and the picturesque Storm King Ranger Station while you are in the area. Check out this blog post for more recommendations!

Location: Olympic National Park
Native lands: Klallam
Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 500 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Pass/permit: National Parks Pass
Dogs: Not allowed
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information


Washington Hikes #3: Hoh Rain Forest Loop

The Hoh Rain Forest Loop is actually a combination of two shorter trails, Spruce Nature Trail and Hall of Mosses. They leave from the same parking lot and make a great pairing if you’re in the Hoh Rain Forest area of Olympic National Park. Being so flat and short in length, these trails can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone!

My favorite time to do this hike is in the spring when the greenery is in its prime, but it is still beautiful at any time of the year. Be sure to check out my Olympic National Park guide!

Location: Olympic National Park
Native lands: Hoh, Quinault
Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 100 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Pass/permit: National Park Pass
Dogs: No
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information

RELATED: Eco-Friendly Outdoor Hygiene Tips for Every Hiker and Camper


Washington Hikes #4: Heybrook Lookout

Heybrook Lookout might be the closest lookout tower to Seattle, and as a result is a great little after-work hike in the summer months. Don’t let the short length of this hike fool you though! There are a couple of sections that are quite steep, so make sure to pack some water and wear comfortable hiking clothes/shoes.

The lookout provides gorgeous views of Mt Index and the surrounding peaks, and there is also a picnic table at the bottom if you want to have a snack break. Sunset is a great time to be up at Heybrook Lookout as the light can be really stunning!

Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Native lands: Coast Salish, Snohomish, Tulalip
Distance: 2.6 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 850 feet
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Pass/permit: NA
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road 2×2 friendly
Insider’s tip: You can add on nearby Heybrook Ridge for a longer day of hiking

Latest trail conditions and more information


Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Rattlesnake Ledge Sunrise

Washington Hikes #5: Rattlesnake Ledge

Rattlesnake Ledge is a classic Washington hike for good reason! Being so close to Seattle (35 minutes from downtown) and having such great views of the cascades/Rattlesnake Lake below, it draws crowds from all over Puget Sound.

Keep in mind that this is not the hike to escape from crowds, but it is an excellent one to work on your cardio and hiking legs. Due to the relatively low elevation, this hike is also snow-free the majority of the year, allowing you to keep your fitness up during winter when many other hikes will be inaccessible without snowshoes.

Location: Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area
Native lands: Coast Salish, Duwamish
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1160
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Pass/permit: NA
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly
Winter tip: Take shoe traction such as microspikes

Latest trail conditions and more information


Washington Hikes #6: Lake Twenty-Two

Lake Twenty-Two is one of Washington’s classic beginner-friendly alpine lake hikes. Located along Mountain Loop Hwy, it’s easy to access and has a well maintained trail. This one is a good one to “graduate” to once you feel comfortable on shorter hikes such as Rattlesnake Ledge, Barclay Lake etc… or for those who are coming into hiking already relatively fit.

The trail can be rocky and root covered in parts, so be sure to watch your step. The views at the top are beautiful and you will come out of the trees to a clear alpine lake surrounded by towering peaks. This is a great spot for a snack or some lunch before heading back down to the car. Do note that parking lot can fill quite early, so plan to get there bright and early OR later once the day-trippers are coming down from lunch.

Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Native lands: Coast Salish, Snohomish, Tulalip
Distance: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1350 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly
Insider’s tip: The parking lot can fill quite early, so plan to get there bright and early.

Latest trail conditions and more information

RELATED: Leave No Trace: The Seven Principles


Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Mount Rainier Skyline Loop

Washington Hikes #7: Skyline Loop Trail

Skyline Loop Trail is the perfect hike for getting up-close and personal with Mount Rainier! You will leave from the bustling Paradise parking lot, but the crowds will disperse once you get further out on the trail. This is one of my favorite summer hikes when the wildflowers are peaking (July/August) as the flowers are abundant and SO vibrant!

If you do the whole loop there is quite a climb to reach the highest point, so make sure to bring some snacks and water. The beginning of this loop is actually paved, and a good one to take older relatives who might have a hard time on regular trails. Be sure to check out my Mount Rainier National Park comprehensive guide!

Location: Mount Rainier National Park
Native lands: Puyallup
Distance: 5.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1450 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Pass/permit: National Park Pass
Dogs: No
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information


Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Heather Maple Pass Loop

Washington Hikes #8: Heather-Maple Pass Loop

Heather-Maple Pass Loop is one of my favorite hikes in Washington. It’s more challenging than some others on this list, but it’s easily accessible, relatively well-trafficked, and relatively easy to navigate. Be prepared for an uphill climb to the top, but the views are absolutely worth it! I recommend this hike for those who have a little more experience under their belt as the elevation gain can be challenging for some.

Keep in mind that there are a couple of points where the trail breaks off in other directions, so having a map is recommended for those unfamiliar with the area. Being a few hours away from Seattle, I recommend camping at one of the nearby campgrounds and making a fun getaway out of it!

Location: Okanogan – Wenatchee National Forest
Native lands: Nlaka’pamux, Okanagan, Chelan
Distance: 7.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 2000 feet
Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information

RELATED: 7 Best Outdoor Things To Do During Fall In Washington State


Washington Hikes #9: Mount Pilchuck

Mount Pilchuck might be the most popular fire lookout hike in Washington, and having done this a few times I can see why. The 360 degree views up the top of the cascades, Mount Rainier and Glacier Peak are incredible! This hike covers a decent amount of elevation gain, so I would definitely put it in the moderate – strenuous category. It’s a good one to undertake once you feel confident on some of the previously suggested easier hikes.

This hike is best done from July-October when it’s more likely to be snow-free, but it can also be a nice late spring hike with the right equipment for light snow travel. Like many of the other hikes on this list, the parking lot can be quite busy so I suggest getting there first thing so you are not disappointed (or go later in the afternoon).

Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Native lands: Coast Salish, Snohomish, Tulalip
Distance: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 2300 feet
Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road most of the way, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information


Washington Hikes #10: Colchuck Lake

Colchuck Lake is the most strenuous hike on this list, but it’s a popular and maintained trail that is easy to access. If you are new to hiking, I wouldn’t do this as your first trail, but I’d definitely recommend it once you clock up some miles! The views of Colchuck Lake at the top are some of the best in Washington, and on a warm summer day you can even jump in the lake to cool off.

To camp here you must have a permit (obtained through a lottery system), but day hikers are permitted. Be aware that the parking lot often fills up very early, so plan to arrive as early as possible (especially if you are visiting on a weekend). This hike is also best done as a summer hike once the snow clears out, so plan to hike from June – October depending on snow conditions. I also recommend visiting the nearby town of Leavenworth after your hike for a delicious meal before heading back to Seattle!

Location: Okanogon – Wenatchee National Forest
Native lands: Yakima, Wenatchi
Distance: 8 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 2280 feet
Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: No
Road access: Paved road most of the way, 2×2 friendly

Latest trail conditions and more information


Washington Hikes #11: Artist Point

*This is a beginner friendly WINTER hike!

This is probably my favorite accessible winter activity in Washington. During summer you can drive right up to Artist Point, but in winter the road is closed about 2 miles from the top and you need to park at Bagley Lake trail head. This is definitely a hike for those who are a little more experienced as there’s a small amount of route finding, and you will need to wear snowshoes. Check out my in depth blog post on this winter adventure!

Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
Native lands: Nlaka’pamux, Coast Salish, Nooksack
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1000 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dogs: Yes, leashed
Road access: Paved road but beware of snowy conditions

Latest trail conditions and more information

RELATED: Ultimate Winter Hiking and Camping Guide


What to wear hiking in Washington

It can be confusing to know what to wear when first getting into hiking! The key considerations are comfort and safety but keep in mind that this can look a little different for everyone.

For years now I have purchased my hiking gear from Backcountry.com. They offer free 2-day shipping on order over $50, easy returns, and they often have amazing sales. If there isn’t a sale going on you can opt to use the code RENEE15 for 15% off your first order (some exclusions apply).

Here are my top recommendations for what to wear hiking in Washington. Keep it mind that these are 3 season recommendations, not winter. Check out this winter specific post if you plan to take some winter hiking adventures.

Hiking shoes

Hiking shoes are very person specific. Some people love wearing trail runners and others prefer boots. Some people prefer heavier waterproof boots and others prefer lighter options. When hiking in Washington I usually opt for a waterproof boot with ankle support, but something that isn’t too heavy, like the Danner Adrika Hiker Boot or the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX Hiking Boots. Once the trails become dryer I sometimes opt for a pair of trail runners like the La Sportiva Bushido II Trail Running Shoe.

Beginner Hikes in Washington Beginner Hikes in WashingtonBeginner Hikes in Washington

READ NEXT: The Best Hiking Shoes for Men and Women

Hiking socks

Don’t overlook the importance of having socks that fit correctly and are comfortable to wear for a long time. Over the years I have found that merino wool socks from Darn Tough, Smartwool, and Icebreaker are the most durable, least smelly and most comfortable for hiking.

Beginner Hikes in Washington  Beginner Hikes in WashingtonBeginner Hikes in Washington

Hiking bottoms

What you wear for bottoms is a personal preference. If you’re a pant kind of person then I would suggest the Arc’teryx Gamma LT Softshell Pant or something similar. If you prefer leggings then I would suggest the Backcountry Active Leggings (with side pockets!) If you’re more of a shorts person then you can’t go past the Backcountry Olympus Lightweight Short. I personally prefer to keep my legs covered to protect from sunburn, tics, mosquitoes, and scratches. Another option is wearing convertible pants that you can easily switch to shorts, such as theOutdoor Research Ferrosi Convertible Pant.

Beginner Hikes in Washington Beginner Hikes in WashingtonBeginner Hikes in Washington

Hiking shirt

For hiking shirts you can either go with short sleeve, long sleeve, or a tank options. For cooler hikes or those where I am worried about sunburn I will usually opt for longer sleeves and wear something like the Smartwool Merino 150 Long Sleeve Top. Otherwise you will usually find me in one of the Icebreaker Tech Lite SS Low Crewe Shirts. Natural fibers like merino wool are my go-to for hiking tops due to the odor-reducing properties and overall comfort.

Smartwool Long Sleeve Icebreaker Tank Icebreaker Tank

Hat

I recommend you wear some kind of hat on the trail to protect you from the sun, especially during the warmer months of July and August. Some popular options are caps such as the Patagonia P-6 Label Trad Cap or wider hats such as the Patagonia Baggies Brimmer Hat. If you just want to keep hair out of your face then I would recommend a headband like the Prana Jacquard Headband.

Patagonia Cap Patagonia Baggies Hat Beginner Hikes in Washington Beginner Hikes in Washington Prana headband

Sunglasses

Having sunglasses makes hiking a LOT more enjoyable on a sunny day (or when it’s overcast with a lot of glare). In addition, polarized sunglasses will cut the reflections and glare on those beautiful lakes you are looking at (bonus!) My go-to sunglasses brands are Sunski, SMITH and RAEN.

Smith Sunglasses Sunski Sunglasses Raen Sunglasses

Trekking poles

Not everyone enjoys using trekking poles but I personally find them helpful for Washington hikes with considerable elevation gain, or if the terrain is unsteady. My go-to poles are the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles as they are lightweight and comfortable to use. Some more affordable option are the LEKI Voyager Trekking Poles and the Black Diamond Trail Sport 2 Trekking Poles.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles Leki Voyager Trekking Poles Black Diamond Trail Sport Trekking Poles


What to pack for day hikes

Now that you’re sorted on what to wear hiking in Washington, you probably want to know what to pack! Below I have listed some recommended items. In terms of what gear is absolutely essential for survival versus “nice to have”. I would first make sure you have the 10 essentials: navigation, sun protection, insulation, headlamp, first aid supplies, fire starter, shelter, repair kit, food, and water.

Backpack

You could technically hike without a daypack, but it might be challenging to carry your drink bottle, layers snacks, etc. without a small space to store them. I would recommend you use a backpack that you already have at home or invest in one that is made for hiking. Key features include adjustable straps, waist belt/strap, chest strap, and somewhere to easily access your water bottle or water bladder. I swear by my Osprey Tempest 20L Daypack (comes in 9L, 20L, 30L, 40L, and a 6L lumbar pack for trail runners). Another good option is the Patagonia Nine Trails 20L Backpack, or sometimes I opt to use my camera bag if it’s a short hike (the Peak Design Everyday 30L Camera Backpack).

Osprey Tempest 20L Patagonia Nine Trails 20L Peak Design Camera Bag

Warm layers

You will want to pack some sort of insulation layer in case it gets cold, even if it seems like a sunny day! The weather can change very fast in the mountains of Washington. A nice breathable mid layer I love is the Patagonia R1 Fleece and I will even hike in this on cooler days. Another one of my favorites is the Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece Jacket, but keep in mind that it is heavier and also warmer than the R1.

For an additional warmth layer I would suggest something like the Arc’teryx Atom LT Jacket or the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Down Jacket (an investment but SO worth it for such a feather-light warm jacket in my opinion). I pretty much take my Cerium LT everywhere I go. A more affordable option is the Patagonia Down Sweater.

A Beginners Guide To Backcountry Camping - Patagonia R1 FleeceArcteryx Atom LTGet Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking

Rain & wind protection

I rarely go on Washington hike without a rain jacket. You just never know when the weather will turn! My go-to is the Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket and I also like the Patagonia Torrentshell. Both are lightweight and will keep you dry in a downpour. I also usually pack a lightweight wind jacket. This is completely optional but I find these are often the perfect thing to throw over a t-shirt when there is wind chill but it’s too hot for a fleece. Plus they stop mosquitoes biting you! Over the years I have owned the Arc’teryx Squamish hooded jacket, Patagonia Houdini Jacket, and the Backcountry Canyonlands Jacket and they all do a brilliant job.

Patagonia TorrentshellGet Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking

Water bottle

A water bottle or hydration bladder is an absolute must when hiking! Dehydration can be a killer so it’s not something to skimp on. I personally haven’t had a great experience using hydration bladders so I stick with my trusted Hydroflask and Nalgene water bottles. Hydroflask’s will keep your water cool (or warm) for an entire day whereas Nalgene’s are more of a regular style water bottle.

A Beginners Guide To Backcountry Camping - Hydroflask Holy Grail Hiking and Camping Gear - 2019 Edition - NalgeneMount Rainier National Park Guide - Hydroflask

Snacks

Hiking snacks are a personal preference and the amount you pack will depend on the length and difficulty of trail. I will typically pack some granola bars, protein bars, energy chews, homemade trail mix, gummy worms, nut butter sachets, wafers, or dark chocolate. If I want something more substantial I will pack a bagel or fresh bread and cheese.

A Beginners Guide To Backcountry Camping - Clifbar A Beginners Guide To Backcountry Camping - Pro Bar Bolts A Beginners Guide To Backcountry Camping - Stinger Wafer

Navigation

Another one of the “10 Essentials” is a means of navigation. A great starting place is purchasing or printing a topographic map for the area you will be hiking (keep it inside a protective/waterproof sleeve). It’s also a great idea to bring along a compass and have some basic skills to use it. In addition to this, it’s a good idea to save some offline maps to your phone. For instance, I use apps like Gaia and Maps.Me for hiking and backcountry trips.

Get-Outside-Beginners-Guide-to-Camping-6)

Emergency device

This isn’t a “must have” but more a piece-of-mind item that is good to have if you can afford it. Emergency devices essentially provide a means to call for help if you find yourself in a precarious situation. You may be taking local trips where you have phone service, but if not it might be worth investing in a device that has an SOS feature and tracker, like the Garmin InReach Explorer+ or SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger. My husband and I didn’t make this purchase for quite some time after we got into hiking and backcountry camping, but it now gives us peace of mind on longer treks and more risky hikes.

Garmin InReach Explorer 

First Aid

I typically take a small and lightweight first aid kit on hiking trips. You just never know when it will come in handy for yourself or your hiking partner. I really like the range by Adventure Medial Kits as they are ultralight and waterproof. I always throw in a couple of extra blister-pads too, just in case!

Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking

Bug protection

Depending on where you are hiking, it’s probably a good idea to take some bug spray with you. Ticks and mosquito-born diseases are no joke in many places around the world so best to be prepared! As I said above, I often choose to hike in full-length clothes to avoid wearing bug spray and I sometimes wash my clothes in mosquito deterring solution/spray for longer trips. I also nearly always take a bug headnet with me.

*Also be sure to wear sunscreen!

Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking

Gloves & Beanie

Even during Washington’s summer months I will often pack a pair of lightweight gloves and a beanie if I am going on a early morning or late afternoon hike. The weather can change very fast in the mountains and I personally get cold easily, so it’s worth the extra weight for me. Do what suits you! The North Face and Icebreaker both make a range of good glove choices. But for beanies I usually opt for my Pendleton Cable Hat.

Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking Get Outside: Beginners Guide to Hiking Pendelton Cable Hat

Extra items

If you plan to stay out for sunset or will be hiking up pre-sunrise, then I would highly suggest packing a headlamp. My go-to is the Petzl Actik Headlamp. Some extra “just in case” items you may consider bringing along are an emergency blanket/bivy, means to start a fire, a knife or multi-tool, and a whistle.

Holy Grail Hiking and Camping Gear - 2019 Edition - Petzl Actik HeadlampEmergency bivy 

Day Hiking Packing List Free Download - Renee Roaming


Washington hiking etiquette

When accessing these beginner friendly Washington hikes it’s important to demonstrate appropriate hiking etiquette. By this I am referring to:

  • Unless signed otherwise, give way to hikers coming uphill and always yield to horses and other pack stock.
  • Say a friendly “hello” to other hikers so that they know you are approaching (and to create a welcoming atmosphere on the trail).
  • Don’t speak loudly on the phone, repeatedly shout to your friends, or play music out loud on the trail (no speakers please!) Be respectful of other hikers and wildlife by keeping noise to a minimum. Many wildlife species rely on natural sounds for communication purposes, and disrupting those sounds can hurt their chances of survival.
  • Stay on the trail unless it’s absolutely necessary when yielding. Going off trail can damage plant or animal species and hurt the trails ecosystems.
  • Always practice Leave No Trace principles (more on that below): leave rocks, vegetation, and artifacts where you find them for others to enjoy.
  • Give wildlife space by keeping an appropriate distance and not abruptly startling them. NEVER feed wild animals.

Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington State - Lake 22 Trail

Leave No Trace

If you’re going to be out in nature, it’s important that you strive to protect it and follow Leave No Trace principles. In addition, please be sure to educate yourself before heading out. Find out more information via the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics or read my in-depth blog post on the subject.


More Pacific Northwest inspiration


PIN to read later!

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is about my recommendations for Washington hikes. In particular, which trails I suggest for beginners. So I have put together this blog post featuring the 11 BEST beginner friendly hikes here in Washington state! In this article you will also find tips on how to plan hiking adventures, what to wear and pack on Washington hikes, and some trail etiquette tips. #WashingtonHikes #BeginnerHikes #Hiking #PNW #Washington


Disclaimer: Thank you to Backcountry for collaborating on this blog post about beginner friendly Washington hikes. The offer of 15% off does not apply on top of any other offer or discount, and it’s one use per customer. As always, all opinions are my own. This post does contain some affiliate links,  which means if you buy something my blog will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

11 Incredible Beginner Friendly Hikes in Washington

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Renee Hahnel

Hi! My name is Renee and I'm an Australian photographer, blogger & travel addict. I now call the U.S.A home but you can usually find me wandering the globe with a camera in hand โœˆ Let's get lost!

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12 Comments

  1. Kathryn Baranoski on July 2, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    This is such great information, and I love that you include info about Native lands!

    • Renee Hahnel on July 2, 2020 at 10:55 pm

      Thanks Kathryn!

  2. Desert safari Dubai on July 3, 2020 at 1:32 am

    Such a great post for beginners who like travelling and hiking. Your articles inspire me to start blogs about travel.

    • Renee Hahnel on July 3, 2020 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you!!

  3. Anonymous on July 5, 2020 at 3:31 am

    Another great post, very helpful – thks Renee

    • Renee Hahnel on July 5, 2020 at 7:38 am

      Glad you found it helpful โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

  4. Anonymous on July 6, 2020 at 1:20 am

    Awesome resource!! Thank you!!

    • Renee Hahnel on July 6, 2020 at 2:38 am

      Youโ€™re welcome! So glad you find it helpful โ˜บ๏ธ

  5. Tiffany Dinh on August 11, 2020 at 3:04 am

    This is so helpful! I live in Texas and plan on moving to Washington soon. Can you make a list for beginner hiking trails near Portland?

    • Renee Hahnel on August 12, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      It’s on my list! I do have a Oregon 7 day road trip guide if that is helpful, it does suggest some hikes ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Megan on September 6, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    I love your posts! I live in Washington and love to hike. I love how you give great outdoor tips AND amazing style/comfort tips. Thank you!

    • Renee Hahnel on September 9, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      Yay! So glad you find them helpful ๐Ÿ™‚

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Renee Hahnel

Hi! My name is Renee and I'm an Australian photographer, blogger & travel addict. I now call the U.S.A home but you can usually find me wandering the globe with a camera in hand โœˆ Let's get lost!

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What To Wear Hiking As A Woman

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