By Sarah Edwards, Gwendolyn Elliott, Austin Iverson, Chelsea Lin, Hilary Meyerson, Kristen Russell, Roddy Scheer and Megan Toal
There’s a reason our town is called the Emerald City: According to state conservation group Washington Wild, Seattle has more designated wilderness areas within a 100-mile radius than any city of comparable size—a whopping 3.6 million acres of it, in fact. But don’t let the “wild” in wilderness scare you: From pristine beaches to mountain trails, beautifully situated campsites to remote locales that turn pitch-black for amazing stargazing, we’ve compiled a summer’s worth of accessible, gorgeous places (some designated wilderness lands, some not) where you can get out there and enjoy it.
Check out more information on what you need and how to get involved below:
Take a Pass
To visit some of the sites in this feature, a Discover Pass or a Northwest Forest Pass is required; our listings indicate which one you'll need. You can purchase a day-use or an annual Discover Pass, for $11.50 or $35 respectively, at store.discoverpass.wa.gov. A Northwest Forest Pass is $5 a day or $30 per year and is available at store.usgs.gov/forest-pass.
Love the outdoors? These groups can help you show your love in a concrete way—by volunteering
Washington Coast Savers helps keep Pacific coastlines free of marine debris and trash. Upcoming cleanups are on July 5 at beaches along the southern Washington coast, and on September 15 for the International Coastal Cleanup at beaches along the entire Washington coastline; sign up at coastsavers.org.
Washington Trails Association (WTA), which works to protect the state’s hiking trails and encourage people to enjoy the outdoors, has volunteer opportunities weekly during the spring and summer. Volunteers help maintain trails throughout the state; sign up at wta.org.
Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance strives to maintain the existing mountain biking trails of Washington and to open new ones to give enthusiasts more room to ride. The alliance hosts weekly work parties and events across Washington. Sign up at evergreenmtb.org.
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance wants to keep Puget Sound and its many rivers and streams free of pollution and debris, and to limit pollution by vessels. Volunteers help with kayak and boat patrols, beach cleanups and more. Sign up at pugetsoundkeeper.org.
Washington Wild’s mission is to protect and restore every aspect of Washington’s wilderness, from land to sea, through advocacy, civic engagement and education. To learn more and to volunteer for upcoming events, including those offered by the Brewshed Alliance—which highlights the overlapping interests between the conservation and beer communities—visit wawild.org.