Best Northwest Hikes and Walks

Find serenity, soaring views—and a sweet workout—on these 20 spectacular trails.

A sweeping glacial vista on a bluebird afternoon…an ancient rain forest, trees dripping with moss…the fecund scent of a deep mountain meadow…come July, our hearts yearn for the sweet sylvan dream that is Northwest hiking. Like nowhere else in the world, here, a short drive and an adventurous spirit are all it takes to transport you to a place of incomparable beauty. Whether you seek a hard-fought climb to rarified air or a simple, in-city stroll amongst towering old-growth trees, there’s a hike or walk here to suit your mood, energy level and time. So strike out on the path of your choosing; you’ll find serenity, soaring views—and a sweet workout—on these 20 spectacular trails. Just click through the following links to find wonderful hikes for all skill levels. First, just pick your favorite brand of natural beauty:

Beautiful Views
Featuring Mount Constitution, Elliott Bay Trail and Second Beach

Old Growth
Featuring the Grove of the Patriarchs, Hall of Mosses and Seward Park 

Featuring Sourdough Ridge Trail and Winds of Change Trail.

Color show
Featuring Heather Meadows, Washington Park Arboretum and Lake Ingalls

Featuring Twin Falls, Franklin Falls and Silver Falls

Featuring Golden Gate Trail, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge and Juanita Bay Park 

Alpine Lakes
Featuring Lake Serene, Rainy Lake and Sheep Lake and Sourdough Gap


Before you go...

Download maps, field and trail guides and more: The National Park Service provides information about hikes in National Parks. The US Fish and Wildlife Service provides more on hikes through federally managed land. The nonprofit hiking club, Washington Trails Association, offers trip reports, trail summaries and more on its excellent website; members receive a bi-monthly magazine.

Trail Passes
Cars parked at many trailheads require one of these three passes. Always check before you go; skipping the pass can result in a ticket.

Discover Pass: Needed for all state-run trails, including state parks and DNR lands. $10/day or $30/year plus handling fees; purchase in advance;

National Parks Pass: Needed for access to Mount Rainier and other National Parks; $30/year or $15/carload for a 7-day pass; sold at park entrances.

Northwest Forest Pass: Needed for NWFS trailheads. Day pass, $5; annual pass, $30; purchase in advance;

Prohibited on all National Parks trails, except on the Pacific Crest Trail (see Sheep Lake). On state-run lands and in-city trails, dogs must be on a leash at all times.

Why Olympia's 222 Market is Worth the Trip

Why Olympia's 222 Market is Worth the Trip

Olympia’s new artisan food market puts the capital city on the culinary map
Sofie's Scoops at the 222 Market

Olympians, we apologize for invading your downtown parking. But, an artisan-style food hall like 222 Market (Olympia, 222 Capitol Way N; is an exciting destination and one we food lovers think is worth the drive.

At press time, the 15,000-square-foot building was scheduled to open in September, showcasing artisan food and beverage producers from around the Pacific Northwest, including Broth Bar By Salt Fire & Time; small-batch gelateria Sofie’s Scoops; and the city’s first oyster bar.

The 1940s-era building was originally the home of Olympia’s Packard car dealership and over the years has housed a variety of businesses. But, with renowned bakery The Bread Peddler as an anchor tenant for more than a decade, the building’s owners, Gray and Joy Graham, saw potential for a full-fledged food hall. They partnered with Olympia chef Lela Cross (co-owner of Capitale, Cielo Blu and Dillinger’s Cocktails & Kitchen) to handpick local, independent merchants, including a florist (Fleurae), and then hired green architect firm Artisans Group, which gutted and opened up the building’s interior, repurposing recycled lumber and Douglas fir into tables and countertops.

222 Market certainly plays a vital role in downtown Olympia’s revitalization, but it’s also pretty great for the destination-dining Seattleite. Here’s what to eat.

Photos: Sofie’s Scoops: Sofie Landis; Broth Bar: John Valls; Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar: Courtesy of Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar; Blind Pig Spirits and the Bread Peddler Crepe: Piper Backholm