3 Family-Friendly Seattle Hikes You Can Do In a Day

Hiking Friday, May 17, 2013 Written by

The mountain snow is melting, the sun is shining and the wildflowers are in bloom. And that means it’s time to head outdoors! To kick the summer hiking season off right, we’ve outlined three great Seattle hikes for you to consider. All have relatively easy terrain and are close to Seattle – perfect for a half-day adventure. So, load the family up, pack some snacks and water, and hit I-90 east for a quick drive.

Rattlesnake Ledge

Length: 4 miles round-trip
Directions and Trail information: Head over to Washington Trails Association.
Parking: Free (if the lot is full, park on the road right outside the gate).

Nowhere this close to Seattle will you find such sweeping views of the Snoqualmie Valley, especially after just a two-mile trek. Situated just past North Bend, the trail starts at Rattlesnake Lake, which is a popular summer picnic spot. As you make your way up through the trees, you’ll be surprised from time to time with unexpected gorgeous views of the bright blue lake below.

While the trail can be a bit steep for beginners and small kids, it’s well worth the effort. At the two-mile mark, you’ll find signs pointing to Rattlesnake Ledge. While the ledge can be crowded in the summer, it’s one of the most popular Seattle hikes for a reason: the views are astounding on a clear day. Look out to Mount Si, the Cascade Mountains, and the sparkling lake below. If you want to escape the crowds, continue on the trail upwards for a few hundred feet more. You’ll find a second lookout with far fewer people. It’s a great place to get some sun or stop for a picnic lunch. Once you’re down from the trail, the park has expansive green lawns that are great for lounging in the sun or tossing a Frisbee.

Twin Falls

Length: 3 miles round-trip
Directions and Trail information: Head over to Washington Trails Association.
Parking: Discover Pass needed.

This Twin Falls hike is one of many within Olallie State Park, which is six miles east of North Bend at the foothills of the Cascades. The park is filled with old-growth trees, as well as popular fishing and rock-climbing destinations. You’ll find the Twin Falls trail on the northwest side of the park, where the trail follows the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

The trail is truly a crowd pleaser – perfect for younger kids who are new to hiking. You’ll have your first photo opportunity a few minutes in as a set of stairs descend to a viewpoint of the Lower Falls plunging over a 135-foot cliff. If you hike another quarter-mile, you’ll come to a bridge that spans the narrow Twin Falls canyon for a view of the Upper Falls. The trail then continues another mile where it intersects with the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Turn around here if you’re finished with your day hike. If you want to continue your journey, you can head down the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, which gives hikers access to hundreds of miles of trails throughout the state. The adventure opportunities are endless!

Tiger Mountain – Poo Poo Point

Length: 7.4 miles round-trip
Directions and Trail information: Head over to Washington Trails Association.
Parking: Discover Pass needed.

Tiger Mountain in Issaquah is one of the closest Seattle hikes and has numerous trails of varying difficulty. Starting at Issaquah High School, the Poo Poo Point trail is a great choice for the whole family. At just over three miles to the top, the trail takes you through dense forest and scenic water crossings to Poo Poo Point, a popular destination for paraglider pilots to start their descent. After the tough climb up, enjoy an afternoon on the grassy point and take in views of Lake Sammamish, the Bellevue skyline and Mount Baker as you watch paragliders take off from the hill.

For an overview of Poo Poo Point and sites along the trail, check out this video from Tmber, a Northwest hiking site.

If you’re looking for a shorter hike, West Tiger 3 is only five miles round-trip, though it does have a bit more elevation gain. The trail offers great views of nearby mountains and Poo Poo Point once you reach the summit.

These are some of our favorite Seattle hikes – well, hikes you can get to easily from Seattle, anyway. What are yours?