The Parker Blog:

Short Winter Hikes Near Seattle To Chase Away The Blues

Are you feeling the winter slump? Miss being out and connecting to nature? Summer is still months away and many are feeling the effects of the Seattle gloom. We’ve collected seven hikes under six miles that are perfect winter getaways and all within driving distance of Seattle!

 

1) Wallace Falls State Park

Wallace Falls State Park is one of Washington’s most popular destinations. Hikers who want to avoid the crowds should plan on arriving early. There is moderate elevation through a series of switch backs and multiple trails. One trail that is very popular is the Woody Trail, this gorgeous trail is surrounded by beautiful forests and runs along the Wallace River. From there you are led to the impressive nine waterfalls the park is named for.

  • Drive from Seattle: 1 hr.
  • Length: 5.6 miles roundtrip
  • Park Type: State
  • Fees: Discover Day Pass $10 or the Discover Annual Pass $30, both of which can be purchased here.
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate- Hard

 

2) Franklin Falls Trail

Located in the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Franklin Falls is a popular destination that offers hikes for all skill levels. Noted for its beautiful waterfall and forests, this hike has been described as a winter wonderland. Before heading out to this spot you should consider investing in snow shoes ,or sturdy hiking boots and poles. Check the forecast ahead of time and come prepared for cold weather.

  • Drive from Seattle: 1.5 hrs.
  • Trail Length: 2 miles round-trip
  • Park Type: National Park
  • Fees: Northwest Forest Pass $5 for day pass or $30 for annual pass. This pass can be purchased here.
  • Level of difficulty: All Levels

 

3) Deception Pass State Park

The Deception Pass State Park has 4,134 acres of marine and camping park with 77,00 feet of saltwater shoreline, 3 lakes, and old growth forests. The abundant wildlife and beautiful views make this park a popular destination for hikers. This is a great weekend hiking spot with three trails that have both beach and old growth forest paths. The three main hikes include Headlands, Rosario Head and Lighthouse Point. These trails are a great opportunity to see the rugged beauty of the Puget sound in winter without having to worry about the snow. Make sure to keep an eye out for marine wildlife including Harbor Seals!

  • Drive from Seattle: 1.5 hrs.
  • Length: 5 miles round-trip
  • Park Type: Washington State Park
  • Fees: Discover Day Pass $10 or Discover Annual Pass $30
  • Level of difficulty: Easy-Moderate

 

4) Hoh River Trail

The Hoh River Trail is located within the Olympic National Park and leads to the Mount Olympus Blue Glacier. The Olympic Peninsula is known as the wettest region in the lower 48 states. While this hike is farther away from Seattle than most, it is an amazing area that is worth the drive! The area is famous for its incredible temperate rain forest and beautiful river views. The river trail is well maintained and has multiple offshoot trails that range from easy to hard hikes. The most popular and accessible hike is the Hall of Moss. Bring rain jackets, and hiking boots that can withstand the wet terrain.

  • Drive from Seattle: 4 hrs.
  • Length: Total 32.8 miles
  • Park Type: National Park
  • Fees: $30 per vehicle or $55 for an annual park pass, see purchase options here.
  • Level of difficulty: Varied

 

5) Tiger Mountain State Forest: Around the Lake Trail

Tiger Mountain State Forest is a natural preserve of over 14,000 acres that includes the West Tiger Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area. The “Around the Lake Trail” is a 1.5-mile loop trail that is located near Issaquah, Washington. This trail is good for all skill levels and is dog friendly if they are leashed. Remember to always leash your dog!

  • Drive from Seattle: 1 hr.
  • Length: 1.5 miles
  • Park Type: State Park
  • Fees: Discover Day Pass $10 or Discover Annual Pass $30
  • Level of difficulty: All Levels

 

6) Ebey’s Landing Trail

Perched on a bluff overlooking the beautiful Puget Sound is the Ebey’s Landing Trail. Located on Whidbey Island, this coastal trail is outside the rain shadow and will provide some much-needed vitamin D! The trail also provides easy beach access via switchbacks and is a great spot for bird watching. This is a wonderful place to hike all year round. While you are on the island make sure to check out the coastal town of Coupeville and see the working farms located in the area.

  • Drive from Seattle: 2 hrs.
  • Length: 5.6 miles round-trip
  • Park Type: State Par
  • Fees: Discover Day Pass $10 or Discover Annual Pass $30
  • Level of difficulty: Easy-Moderate

 

Photo Credit: J Brink

7) Cedar and Pine Lakes

Located in the Bellingham, WA, this trail is located within a beautiful shady forest and leads you around the Cedar and Pine lakes. Other views include Mount Baker and the Puget Sound. During winter, the trees are often dusted with snow. While the main trail circles around the lakes, there are offshoot trails for hikers to explore.

  • Drive from Seattle: 2 hrs.
  • Length: 5 miles round-trip
  • Park Type: State Park
  • Fees: Discover Day Pass $10 or Discover Annual Pass $30
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate

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