Washington is honestly one of the most beautiful places ever- especially if you get out on a hike.
“But I’ve never really hiked before. I’m nervous!”
“I’m soooo out of shape. I wouldn’t last on a hike!”
“I want to try it, but I don’t know which hike to start with that’s easy enough!”
If any of these questions sound familiar, I put this collection together for you. If you’re able bodied and want to try hiking but are not sure where to start, here are some of the easiest yet most beautiful hikes in Washington!
Hiking tips for beginners
But first, since this may be your first time, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Keep the trails clean! Don’t leave trash on the ground, do pick up after your dogs if they’re allowed on the trail, etc.
- Parking may be hard to find. Try to carpool if you can and be prepared to park outside of the lots if needed.
- Check the trail conditions on the Washington trail’s official site before you go. For example in winter, sometimes the trails can be closed because of snow, or in the spring, they may be closed due to mud or slipperiness when the snow melts.
- Stay hydrated!! Especially if you’re going in the summer, it can get really hot away from Seattle, and you don’t want heat stroke, dehydration, death, etc.
- Go at your own pace. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with the people around you. Take lots of breaks if needed- people make stops all the time.
- Be friendly to people. A lot of people are friendly on hikes and will smile and say hi, so don’t be afraid to greet them back.
Best Hikes in Washington for beginners
And now, for the actual hikes! These start off from easier to harder (with “harder” not meaning too much, because they’re all relatively approachable). These trails are all well maintained. If you’re going on the weekend, there will be other people around, so you won’t be alone. The hikes are all either short or don’t have too much elevation gain compared to other hikes- but still lead to some incredibly gorgeous views.
Length: 2 miles
Elevation Gain: 400 ft
We’re starting off with the absolute easiest. Franklin Falls can feel more like a leisurely walk in nature than a hike, since it’s mostly flat. Throughout the hike, you’re covered with shady trees and fresh air, and at the end, you’re rewarded with a beautiful waterfall. Probably the most dangerous thing here is that the rocks by the falls are slippery.
More information (including how to get to the trailhead and fees): https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/franklin-falls
Coal Creek Falls
Length: 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 412 ft
This is pretty similar to Franklin Falls in that it feels more like “walk in nature” rather than “hike”, you go through pretty shady fauna areas, and then it ends in a beautiful waterfall. It’s slightly longer though, which makes it a wee bit more challenging.
I think this hike is especially gorgeous in the fall with the leaves changing colors, if you can make it then.
More information (including how to get to the trailhead and fees): https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/coal-creek-falls
Length: 4.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1034 ft
Now that you’ve done some of the easier hikes, you’re ready for something with actual elevation gain! Heather Lake isn’t too long, but you do go up a bit. If you’re feeling up for more hiking after reaching the lake, you can also walk around the perimeter, which has so many beautiful areas and is a flat walk!
More information (including how to get to the trailhead and fees): https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/heather-lake-1
Length: 7.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1800 ft
Alpine lake hike. Doesn’t that sound so challenging and out of reach for beginners?? Not Snow Lake. The hardest part here for beginners is probably the length, but once you make it through, you get some incredible views of the lake and the mountains.
Random: This hike is what inspired me do this post! Compared to all the “hard”, obscure hikes I did, the amount of effort you put in for the amount of gorgeous you get doesn’t balance out like it did in Snow Lake.
More information (including how to get to the trailhead and fees): https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/snow-lake-1
Length: 4.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1300 ft
Even though we’re gaining elevation faster here, for perspective, I actually ditched my friends while on this trail to hike with an adorable 5 year old kid. If he can do it, we all can. EDIT: A mom just told me that all kids have a lot of energy and can do a lot, so that sentence may not mean much.
More information (including how to get to the trailhead and fees): https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/little-si
No pictures because I lost the phone I had at the time (if you didn’t post something on social media, did you really do it? ?).
Length: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1160 ft
This is the hike that most people will tell you to go on if you’re just starting, but honestly I think it’s also one of the harder ones on this list! During Rattlesnake Ledge, you gain elevation faster than the other hikes (even though it’s on the shorter side), which makes it a bit harder, at least in my opinion.
Before or after the hike, you can also hang out on the beautiful lake at the start of the trailhead!
More information (including how to get to the trailhead and fees): https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/rattle-snake-ledge
Have you tried any of these hikes before? Were you able to make it?? What other pretty hikes for beginners would you add to this list?