10 Best Hiking And Trekking Spots In Washington, USA

hiking in washington
| 4 min read

Washington is known as the Evergreen State, and with good reason: it is home to three national parks and nine national forests and features lush and verdant landscapes, which sees thousands of visitors every year. Those who want to experience a leisurely holiday can stroll along the paths in the state and national parks. If, however, you’re the type who prefers something more adventurous, there are several outdoor adventures you can try out here, each of which features unique and attractive views, from gorgeous lakes and rivers to lush mountains and even waterfalls. Check out this list if you want to know which are the best hiking and trekking spots in Washington, USA.

1. Horseshoe Basin

Aerial View of Horseshoe Basin-Okanogan Wenatchee (23300790324)
Source: Photo by user U.S. Forest Servi... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

From the 1890s to the 1940s, prospectors tried to find gold in the Horseshoe Basin. While their efforts proved to be fruitless, it did help let the world know of the beauty of the scenery, which comes complete with several waterfalls and picturesque meadows. The trail is relatively short and level, which makes this a good option for beginners who are easing their way into an outdoor hobby. Be prepared for any weather, as it may rain and the temperature may drop without warning, especially during autumn.

Horseshoe Basin

Address: Horseshoe Basin - North Cascades National Park, Washington

Website: Horseshoe Basin

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2. Anderson and Watson Lakes

Anderson and Watson Lakes is another option if you’re a beginner, although the drive to the trail can be somewhat challenging. You’ll start by entering a hemlock-covered forest. The trek grows progressively more difficult, but you’ll be rewarded at the end with views of Mounts Baker and Shuksan. The trail itself features several points where you can stop and rest, including a meadow with rolling hills and streams dotting the backdrop. If you’re a pet owner, you can bring your dog here, as long as your furry friend is kept on a leash.

Anderson and Watson Lakes

Address: Concrete, WA 98237

Website: Anderson and Watson Lakes

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3. Park Butte

Glacier Peak from Park Butte
Source: Photo by user brewbooks used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Considered as one of the best day hikes in the North Cascades, the Park Butte trek is a moderately difficult trail. In the end, you’ll get to a lookout point, built in the 1930s, where you can enjoy unobstructed panoramic views of the North Cascades mountains, including Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters. If you wish to spend more time in the area, the route features campsites, where you can enjoy more of the beautiful scenery. Pets are welcome here as long as they’re kept on their respective leashes.

Park Butte

Address: Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

Website: Park Butte

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4. Rialto Beach and Hole-in-the-Wall

Hole-in-the-wall James Islands
Source: Photo by user Ron Clausen used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you prefer beaches to mountains, this trail may be the option for you. This trail is located on the Washington State Coast and it is part of the Olympic National Park. Going on this trek will allow you to see a variety of sights, from marine life such as whales, sea lions, otters, and sea birds, to views unique to Washington such as Gunsight Rock and James and Little James Islands. Since the trail is right on the beach, be prepared to literally get your feet wet.

Rialto Beach and Hole-in-the-Wall

Address: Olympic National Park, WA

Website: Rialto Beach

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5. Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin

This trail is only recommended for those who’ve had prior experience in hiking and trekking, as the trail can be tough for beginners. Besides the elevated ground, the trail also features a number of water crossings, so do be sure to dress accordingly, especially if you want to keep your feet dry. You can catch glimpses of Red Mountain from the trail. If you’re a bird watcher, be sure to keep an eye out for the feathered creatures here. You can take a break along one of the creeks before heading to or from Phelps Basin.

Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin

Address: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Wenatchee, WA 98807

Website: Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin

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6. Chain Lakes

ChainLakes IcebergLake1
Source: Photo by user Dan Ust used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Chain Lakes trail has two entry/exit points: Austin Pass/Heather Meadow and the Artist Point/Wild Goose Section, so it’s up to you which one you want to tackle first if you plan on exploring the entire length of the trail. There are parts here that are quite steep, but one of the perks you can enjoy by taking this trail is that you’ll get nearly unobstructed views of the mountains, as there are only a few trees in the forest that the trail enters. You’ll also get the chance to see views of the Chain Lakes themselves. This includes Iceberg Lake, so named because it has icebergs floating on it even during summer.

Chain Lakes

Address: Chain Lakes, Washington 98224

Website: Chain Lakes

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7. Mount Angeles

Mount Angeles from Eagle Point
Source: Photo by user Ron Clausen used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Mount Angeles is the highest peak in Hurricane Ridge. While considered as an intermediate-level trail, the path, which is also known as the Klahhane Ridge Trail, it is also regarded as a family-friendly option for those that want to enjoy views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the summit. Be sure to keep an eye out for black bears, as well as other wildlife such as mountain goats, deer, and marmots. This path is connected to the Switchback Trail.

Mount Angeles

Address: Olympic National Park, Washington

Website: Mount Angeles

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8. Quinault River to Pony Bridge to Enchanted Valley

Quinault River
Source: Pixabay

Ranked as a moderately difficult but kid-friendly trail is the Quinault River Pony Bridge. While there are parts that are elevated, the changes are usually gradual so you should have no difficulty in these sections. The trail serves as the gateway to the Enchanted Valley. Along the way, you’ll get to see a point where two rivers meet. Be sure to get a permit if you plan on camping overnight in the area. Be sure to put a shell over your pack as it tends to rain regularly in this area.

Quinault River Pony Bridge Trail

Address: Quinault, WA

Website: Quinault River Pony Bridge Trail

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9. Mt. Rainier National Park (from USD 186.0)

Mt. Rainier, an active volcano ringed by snow, is a Washington icon. It is circled by the Wonderland Trail, and taking it will reward you with views of glaciers and snowfields, as well as forests, lakes, and streams. Day hikers are advised to keep their party size to 12 or less. Because of the popularity of the trails in the park, it is possible for some trailhead parking lots to be full, especially during the weekends and holidays of summer.

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Mt. Rainier National Park Full-Day Tour from Seattle

Duration: 10 hours

1319 reviews

10. Indian Heaven to Bird Mountain Loop

Bear Lake in the Indian Heaven Wilderness-Gifford Pinchot (23916552645)
Source: Photo by user U.S. Forest Servi... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The trail starts at Indian Heaven Trailhead and loops to the Bird Mountain, which was once a volcano and is the second-highest point in the Indian Heaven Wilderness area. Along the way, hikers will see gorgeous lakes, meadows filled with wildflowers, and huckleberries if you tackle the trail during the summer. Just off the trail to Junction Lake is a campsite where you can spend the night if you want to go camping in the area.

Indian Heaven to Bird Mountain Loop

Address: Vancouver, WA

Website: Bird Mountain Loop

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Explore the wild side of Washington

The Evergreen State has no shortage of outdoor adventures that you can enjoy. Pack a good pair of hiking shoes and clothes, a map, and some snacks and drinks and explore the wild side of Washington. Our list of hiking spots above should help you find a good place for your adventure.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Melanie is a freelance travel writer. She considers freelancing for Trip 101 to be a combination of two of the things she loves: writing and traveling. She has gone sightseeing with family,...Read more

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