Whenever I think of Washington, I think of lush green forests, the gorgeous city of Seattle, and, of course, snow-capped mountains that seem to go on for days! This incredible wilderness absolutely defines this Pacific Northwest state for me and indeed was one of the main reasons why I really wanted to visit.

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With all this beauty and diverse natural landscape, Washington has become world-renowned for its incredible hiking and rambling trails that are fit for beginners all the way up to the super-spry! As with any hike, always be prepared, tell someone where you’re going and make sure to take adequate water and food supplies for your trip.

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Take a look at these 12 amazing hiking routes you definitely have to visit when you’re in Washington.

1.) Anderson and Watson Lakes: North Cascades National Park

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This 4 mile (6.4 km) roundtrip hike takes adventurers through beautiful sections of the North Cascades. Located within the Noisy-Diobsud Wilderness area, You will pass several lakes as you make your way along this epic trail. Elevation gain along the trail is 1,100 feet (335 m) and the highest point along the trail is 4,900 feet (1,493 m), meaning the hike can get a little tough at some points. While the trail is beautiful all year round, try to hike between early August through October, as this time offers the best hiking views and conditions.

While the trail is beautiful all year round, try to hike between early August through October, as this time offers the best hiking views and conditions that aren’t too tricky.

Thinking of other National Parks in the USA? Check out our top parks you’ve to visit

2.) Chain Lakes: North Cascades National Park

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The Chain Lakes trail is located in the western section of North Cascades National Park, near the beautiful Mount Baker. The roundtrip length of this loop trail is 8 miles (12 km), but since there are three parking opportunities along the way, you can choose smaller loops to trek, which is great for beginners and more advanced hikers. Stunning views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan can be had here, as well as of alpine lakes and wildflowers. Elevation gain along this trail is 1,700 feet (518 m), and the best times to hike are between late-July through mid-October.

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One of the best reasons to do this hike is for the stunning views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan can be had here. Elevation gain along this trail is 1,700 feet (518 m), and the best times to hike are between late-July through mid-October.. again, it becomes much harder in the bitter chill (and snow) of winter.

3.) Hoh Rainforest Trail: Olympic National Park

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If you’re looking for a fairly easy hike with truly magical views should head straight for the Hoh Rainforest Trail. Located in Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula, the elevation gain along this mossy gem of a trail is only around 500 feet (152 m), with the highest point sitting at 800 feet (244 m). Along the 10-mile (17 km) hike, you will find themselves immersed in a world of giant trees, Roosevelt elk, birds, and plenty of amazing views of the Olympic Mountains.

If you’re feeling extra spry, Five Mile Island can also be accessed from the trail, and the Happy Four Shelter is available in case any April showers start to fall!

4.) Tolmie Peak Lookout—Eunice Lake: Mount Rainier National Park

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For breathtaking views of Mount Rainier, head to the Tolmie Peak Lookout trail. The trail is 7.5 miles (12 km) roundtrip, and the highest point is 5,900 feet (1,798 m), meaning it can be quite tough depending on your ability.

If you decide upon this trail, you will find yourself at an old fire lookout, which shows off Eunice Lake and Mount Rainier in the background – it’s an incredible vista and definitely one of the best hikes for seeing Mount Rainier! For the best views, hike from mid-July until October on a clear day.

5.) Harry’s Ridge: South Cascades/Mount St. Helens

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Starting off north of Mount St. Helens, at the Johnston Ridge Observatory, You will hike south past Spirit Lake and on to Mount St. Helens itself. This hike is perfect to visit the Observatory and discover surrounding plains and the huge blast zone from the volcanic eruption in 1980. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for Mount Adams too, it’s  also within sight of this trail!

The trail is around an 8 mile (12 km) roundtrip, with an elevation gain of 1,400 feet (427 m), meaning it’ll be a little bit of a challenge if it’s your first hike. Late-June through November is the best time for a hike to this national volcanic monument, though you should always check local conditions before you head on out.

Want to visit another Volcanic park in the USA? Then make sure you check out the gorgeous, Yellowstone National Park

6.) Snowgrass Flats – Cispus Basin – Nannie Ridge Loop: Goat Rocks Wilderness

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For a fun, weekend-long backpacking trip, head to Goat Rocks Wilderness area, south-east of Mount Rainier National Park. This hike, to Snowgrass Flats, then on to Cispus Basin and on to the Nannie Ridge Trail, is a 19.6 miles (31.5 km) long round-trip. Along the way, expect to gain in elevation about 3,000 feet (914 m), with the highest point located at 6,400 feet (1950 m). You will get to see beautiful meadows, waterfalls, and the Goat Rocks along the hike. Oh and see some fantastic views of Mount Adams to the south. The best time to plan your weekend hike is between August and September which is perfect for a more advanced hiker.

You will get to see beautiful meadows, waterfalls, and the Goat Rocks along the hike. Oh and see some fantastic views of Mount Adams to the south. The best time to plan your weekend hike is between August and September which is perfect for a more advanced hiker.

7.) Salmo-Priest Loop: Eastern Washington Selkirk Range

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Another weekend-long hike, this time in eastern Washington, can be found along the Salmo-Priest Loop in the Selkirk Mountain Range. Part of a remote section of Colville National Forest, the trail is found within true high-country wilderness, with old growth forests and even grizzly bears (so make sure you prep on what to do… and not to do).

Parts of this 19 mile (30 km) round-trip hike pass through Canada and Idaho, and it is recommended to hike the trail clockwise. Elevation gain is 3,400 feet (1,036 m), with the highest point located at an elevation of 6,480 feet (1,975 m). This makes this hike perfect for more advanced and confident hikers.

To best enjoy this beautiful hike, go in late-June through mid-October.

8.) Horseshoe Basin: Pasayten Wilderness

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Located on the eastern side of the North Cascades, Horseshoe Basin trail is remote and stunningly beautiful. The area is home to arctic tundra, with bears, deer, and bighorn sheep all residing here. The trail is 12 miles (19 km) long, making it a good hike to spread out over several days, leaving plenty of time for exploring. Horseshoe Basin is located close to the Canadian Border, the highest point of elevation here is 7,200 feet (2,195 m).

The trail is 12 miles (19 km) long, making it a good hike to spread out over several days, leaving plenty of time for exploring. Horseshoe Basin is located close to the Canadian Border, the highest point of elevation here is 7,200 feet (2,195 m).

9.) Larch Lake: Central Cascades — Stevens Pass

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For a stunning autumn hike, head to Larch Lake in the Chiwaukum Range of the Central Cascades. This high-country lake is beautiful but can be a bit difficult to get to, so plan ahead. The view of the autumn-colored trees surrounding the lake, and snowy mountain peaks surrounding all of that, will make the difficult trek totally worth it! The highest point along this 12 mile (19 km) trail is 6,078 feet (1,852 m).

The view of the autumn-colored trees surrounding the lake, and snowy mountain peaks surrounding all of that, will make the difficult trek totally worth it! The highest point along this 12 mile (19 km) trail is 6,078 feet (1,852 m), a perfect hike for more experienced hikers.

10.) Rialto Beach: Olympic Coast

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When in Washington State, it is easy to be completely absorbed by the breathtaking mountain wilderness surrounding you, just don’t forget about the Pacific Coast, though! While there are plenty of beautiful places to hike along the coast, the section of Rialto Beach is a favourite amongst hikers!

This trail, located on the Olympic Peninsula, is only 4 miles (6.4 km) round-trip, and with no gains in elevation, it’s easy for most to enjoy. From the beach, walk two miles out to Hole-in-the-Wall, taking in the rugged coastal trail. Perfect for an easy ramble.

11.) Bird Mountain Loop: Indian Heaven Wilderness

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Part of the Pacific Crest Trail that runs the length of the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Canada, this trail offers beautiful views and amazing camping opportunities to enjoy a little longer in the wilderness. Round-trip, the trial is about 10 miles (16 km) long and passes through Douglas-fir forests as you make your way to Bird Mountain. The best time to enjoy this section of Indian Heaven Wilderness is between late-July through mid-October, when daylight hours are a little longer.

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Round-trip, the trial is about 10 miles (16 km) long and passes through Douglas-fir forests as you make your way to Bird Mountain. The best time to enjoy this section of Indian Heaven Wilderness is between late-July through mid-October, when daylight hours are a little longer.

12.) Chelan Lakeshore Trail: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

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Located along the shores of the long and narrow Lake Chelan, this trail offers stunning views of the snow-capped mountains and icy-blue lake waters for hikers looking for an early-season trip. In order to access this trail, take the Lady of the Lake ferry from Chelan or Field’s Point to Stehekin, where the trail begins. Since there are no roads to this small mountain town, the only options are to take the ferry, hike, or fly in! The trail is a total of 17 miles (27 km) round-trip, with elevation gains of 1,600 feet (487 m).

Since there are no roads to this small mountain town, the only options are to take the ferry, hike, or fly in! The trail is a total of 17 miles (27 km) round-trip, with elevation gains of 1,600 feet (487 m), so maybe only consider this if you’re a confident walker/hiker.

Thinking of visiting the USA? Check out all our posts on what to see, right here

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