9 Northwest Hikes You Need to Experience
Hiking and the Northwest are like peanut butter and jelly—you can’t have one without the other. The region has so many incredible adventures right at your doorstep that a trip isn’t complete without putting on your tennis shoes and getting outside. Washington is the most well-known destination for outdoor enthusiasts, but we have a few spots in neighboring states that are worth adding to your bucket list as well. Whether you’re a first-timer or you’ve hiked Machu Picchu, all of our favorites are easily accessible, have incredible views, and are the perfect break from the hustle and bustle of sightseeing in the city.
1. Wallace Falls State Park, Washington
Source: Northwest Landscapes
For those looking for a mild, scenic hike, Wallace Falls is the perfect option. Located just an hour from Seattle, the trail is one of the state's most popular attractions because of its nine waterfalls. The route has three viewpoints clearly marked—lower, middle, and upper falls—where hikers can catch their breath and take some pictures of the surroundings. The lower falls stop is a popular snack spot. Most say the middle overlook has the best view of the falls and tend to turn back there. The more determined hikers continue on the last steep half-mile of switchbacks to the top.
2. Oyster Dome, Washington
Source: Jeff and Elise
Hiking and oysters are pretty great on their own, but when combined, it's a Pacific Northwesterner's dream come true! Oyster Dome begins steep for the first mile and then evens out as it winds through vegetation and across a few creeks. Save energy for the last half mile, which takes you up an incline to a beautiful vantage point overlooking Samish Bay and Orcas Island. You can break for a mid-hike snack here before heading back down to the trailhead, but the fun isn't over yet! Just down the road is the perfect post-adventure treat—The Oyster Bar—a fairly fancy restaurant where hikers tend to pop in for a dozen oysters and rosé. Make sure to request a seat on the patio if it's a nice day to enjoy the view!
3. Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Source: Collage Vintage
Even though the falls are one of Oregon's most popular tourist attractions, a trip to the Northwest is not complete without making a stop to see this beauty. The Multnomah Falls are 30 minutes outside of Portland and tower over 600 feet tall. The viewpoint is just a quick walk from the visitor parking lot, but if you have more time and energy, hike a mile up from Benson Bridge to reach the top of the falls and be rewarded with a view of the Columbia Gorge.
4. Lake 22, Washington
Source: Our Space Between
Most Pacific Northwesterners have hiked up Mount Pilchuck, but the lesser known Lake 22 trail that runs along its base is a hidden gem in the North Cascades. At 5 miles roundtrip, you'll pass through rainforests, wetlands, and mountain views before reaching the lake surrounded by cliffs on three sides. Hungry on the way back to Seattle? Stop in Granite Falls for Mexican food at the local favorite, Playa Bonita.
5. Forest Park, Oregon
Source: Travel the World
If you're visiting Portland and need a break from city life, head just west of downtown to stretch your legs in Forest Park, one of the country's largest urban forest reserves. The park stretches 8 miles and overlooks the Willamette River. One of our favorite trails here is the Lower Macleay route that heads to the Pittock Mansion, a beautiful 1900s landmark and great spot for a mid-trek snack with a view.
6. Drift Creek Falls, Oregon
Source: Oregon Live
Drift Creek Falls is a uniquely perfect hike—you start off strolling downhill, winding along a creek until you reach "the bridge," a beautiful suspension bridge that catches you off guard when the stream plunges 75 feet into Drift Creek Canyon. After crossing, you can enjoy a relaxing lunch at the picnic tables on the other side. Unlike most hikes, the 1.5 miles back to the start is uphill, giving you a little post-meal workout, but it's well worth the trek.
7. Mount Si, Washington
The Mount Si trail is a Washington favorite—hard enough to count as your workout for the day, but not so difficult that it requires any training. Once you're at the top, you'll be able to take in arguably one of the best views of Mount Rainier and Seattle. The Haystack, Mount Si's true summit, is a short scramble away for the dare devils of your group. If that's not your speed, take a break on the rocky slope for a scenic snack.
8. Second Beach, Washington
Source: Sky News
Although you're still in Washington, heading to Second Beach on the Olympic Peninsula feels like you've traveled to a whole other world. The hike isn't difficult, about 4 miles round trip without much elevation, making it a great option for those interested in wearing a backpack and camping on the beach overnight. Once you arrive at the beach, head a bit north to the natural arch or a mile south along the sand to explore the coast.
9. Wizard Island, Oregon
Source: Kevin and Amanda
Although this takes a bit of effort to get to, the experience is well worth the trip. Wizard Island can be reached by boat: Volcano Boat Cruises heads there daily at 9:30 a.m. for $57 per person and returns back to mainland at 2:30 p.m. or 5 p.m., depending on how long you want to spend exploring. Once you're there, the hike is a quick but rocky climb along the Cleetwood Cove Trail to the top of the 90-foot-deep crater. After your hike, take time to explore the island and even take a dip on a hot day!