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Best Seattle Hiking Trails for Beginners

One of the most unique things about visiting Seattle is you're in a city surrounded by mountains, wilderness, and waterways. This means it’s easy to find a place to enjoy a short nature getaway when you don’t have time for a longer excursion. One of the best and most popular outdoor leisure activities in Seattle is hiking. After all, you don’t need much to enjoy a good hike: Just bring appropriate clothing, water, snacks, and a map. If you’re new to hiking, you probably don’t want to start out with a 4-day hiking and camping extravaganza. More likely, you’re looking for a relatively easy hike of a few miles that you can do in a daytrip. The following trails are some of the best places for Seattle hiking and are also suitable for beginners.

  • Washington Park Arboretum

    Image of Vegetation, Path, Grove, Land, Nature, Outdoors, Tree, Woodland, Sunlight, Jungle, Trail, Scenery, Rainforest, What to Expect: There are lots of easy and short hiking trails in the Washington Park Arboretum, but the gem is the Waterfront Trail, which brings you along the water to Foster Island. It’s only about a mile long, and you’ll enjoy the Arboretum’s plethora of endangered and rare plantlife while you walk. We recommend you stop in the Graham Visitors Center first and pick up a map! Location: 2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, WA 98112 (on the shores of Lake Washington)
  • Discovery Park

    Image of Field, Nature, Outdoors, Scenery, Grass, What to Expect: Seattle’s largest park, boasting 534 acres, offers trails that are on the longer side but don’t require much exertion. The main trail, Nature Loop, is an 8-mile path that will take you to Magnolia Bluff (for fabulous views of nearby mountains), historic Fort Lawton military housing, and several open fields. However, this path won’t take you to the protected tidal beaches, which are the park’s highlights. If you want to hike the beach, stop in the Discovery Park Visitor Center and get a map. Location: 3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, WA 98199
  • Burroughs Mountain Loop, Mount Rainer

    Image of Nature, Outdoors, Scenery, Ice, Mountain, Landscape, Glacier, Water, What to Expect: For some alpine hiking on a moderate-level trail, The Burroughs Mountain loop is a great alternative to hiking Mount Rainer (a much longer and more difficult hike). The 7-mile loop has 3 summits, all at an altitude of above 7,000 feet. Start this loop at the Sunrise parking area and prepare to spend about 3 hours hiking the Loop. You’ll see some really unique tundra-like landscapes and fantastic views of Mt. Rainier Location: Mount Rainier National Park, Northeast side of Rainier.
  • Olympic National Park

    Image of Tree, Mountain, Mountain Range, Nature, Outdoors, Peak, Scenery, Slope, Land, Wilderness, Field, Grassland, Pine, Fir, What to Expect: Olympic National Park is unbeatable in terms of wilderness beauty and tranquility, and there are no roads cutting through the park. Although there are many trails for serious (and experienced) hikers, you’ll find easier hikes, too. Any of the nature paths that leave from the Hoh Rain Forest visitor center are perfect for beginners, and the paths lead you through the rain forest. Again, a map from the visitor center will most likely be a good idea! Location: 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles, WA 98362 (visitor center) on the Olympus Peninsula
  • Carkeek Park

    Image of Nature, Outdoors, Scenery, Road, Sea, Water, Gravel, What to Expect: At Carkeek Park, you’ll find a variety of trails on the water front. Most of the trails are 2–4 miles of easy hiking. The 220-acre park features lush forest, meadows, wetlands, creeks, and beach. Plus, you’ll find an exceptional view of Puget Sound. The park also has picnic areas, so feel free to bring a lunch to eat before or after your hike. Location: 950 NW Carkeek Park Road, Northwest Seattle (adjacent to Broadview neighborhood)
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