top of page
Search

The 16 Best Summer Hikes in Washington State

I often get asked questions about where to go for nice pictures, especially when people are visiting. Washington state has no shortage of diverse, beautiful places. Here are some of my favorite hikes if you are visiting and why! Have a hike I didn't include? Leave a comment with your favorite hike.




1. HEYBROOK LOOKOUT

This hike encapsulates a lot of what Washington state is about. It's short with a decent amount of elevation gain and it takes you to a Fire lookout tower. There's gorgeous views of tall mountains and along the hike you get to see some creeks and fern. You can even camp in it with a reservation permit in the summer! I snagged a permit for August; the lotteries are released daily in the springtime for summer.



2. The Enchantments (Colchuck lake)

Of course this list would not be complete without the Enchantments or Colchuck lake! If you're interested in the lowdown on the whole hike i have an entire blog post about my time thru-hiking the enchantments in one day! Permits are near impossible to obtain for camping, so you'll most likely be hiking in one day. 21 miles of pure beautiful terrain. It's one of my favorite bucket list experiences I've done. There's a huge sense of camaraderie among other hikers as everyone is seeking to accomplish it for whatever reasons they have! It's very exciting, but also extremely physically taxing. Do not attempt unless you are well trained and prepared! You'll need to replenish calories halfway through the hike; imagine you are almost running a full marathon and prepare as you would for that! No dogs sadly, but your dog will thank you that they didn't have to do this. Alternatively you can hike to the super pretty blue lake, Colchuck Lake, without doing Aasgard's pass.



3. Ptarmigan ridge Trail to mt baker

This was the hike my partner and I almost died. We didn't pack nearly enough water and were not used to doing very long treks. We randomly decided to go when the weather was nice and 7 miles in we ran out of water (with still 7 miles left to go since we went off trail to another trail to check out a glacial lake nearby). It's still one of my favorite hikes of all time. It's completely wide open and exposed, above tree line and lets you get near Baker. The trail is narrow and follows a ridge for 12 miles. It's just absolutely beautiful and feels like you're in another world. The parking lot is easily acccessible via Artist Point and it's on the same trail as the shorter one Chain lake loop and you can see Picture Lake from the parking lot at the trailhead as well! It's overall the most stunning area in Washington in my opinion.



4. Snow lake

This hike is the best value if you're short on time. It's a moderate summer hike that is honestly one of my favorite hikes because of all it has to offer. This is the perfect hike for your summer trip to Seattle because it's only 30 minutes away! It's beautiful in the summer (and winter!). I've done this hike at least 10 times and it never fails to disappoint! While you're in the mountain pass, you should make a quick stop at Snoqualmie falls as well! Yes it's dog friendly too!



5. Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island

There's not many places where you can see all three mountain ranges in one spot on a clear day: Mt Rainier, Mt Baker, and the Olympics. This is one of the best spots for sunset photography as the sun illuminates the grassy bluff. It's a 4 mile, dog-friendly hike that rarely gets crowded due to being pretty far from Seattle (about 1.5 hours if you go around Deception pass to Whidbey Island). I love that this hike has the beautiful sunset, dreamy field as well as access to the ocean. It's a loop trail that takes you up and then down to the water.



6. Mt Angeles via klahhane ridge trail

If you're catching a theme, you'll quickly learn that i'm obsessed with ridge trails. I love how they take you above the trees and give you sweeping views! They remind of my time in Colorado where most of the hikes are high elevation and high alpine. This hike is no exception. I remember seeing Hurricane ridge for the first time and being shocked a place that beautiful could exist. This hikes you through a very scenic section of Olympic National Park and you get complete panoramic views that don't look real! It's quiet, peaceful, and just beautiful. No dogs sadly, but it's still wonderful!



7. Dog Mountain

There's not many hikes that make me feel like i'm an explorer like the way the Columbia gorge makes me feel. The views are stunning across the wide river and you even get some wildflowers if you go in May! Bring your dog to dog mountain and have fun! Permits are required only on weekends in the summer.


8. Skyline Trail at Mount Rainier National Park

This was the first hike I ever did in Washington before I would have ever called myself a "hiker". My partner at the time dragged me out to the PNW to visit his family and i didn't know what to expect when we did this, but I was really blown away. Little did I know a few years later I would be moving here... This is the classic Mount Rainier National Park hike that I take my friends to if they're visiting! It has up-close views of Rainier, wide views of the mountains in the distance; it's safe, paved, and you can often see wildlife and wildflowers. I've seen black bears (from very very far) every time i've done this hike and marmots! You can also get a view of Myrtle Falls from the trailhead.



9. Mailbox Trail

This is one of my favorite local hikes to Seattle. It's a serious workout and I run a lot and do soldicore! I've done this hike a few times and I mostly use it for training, but the views are incredible too! You can get 360 panoramic views of the mountains from the top. I even saw mountain goats here one time in the late summer. It is no joke though, so please only attempt the old trail (new trail down) if you're ready and turn around if it becomes too much. It's also not too far from Seattle, just under an hour!


10. Cape Flattery

This hike takes you to the northwesternmost point of the contiguous US. That alone makes it such a unique experience, but it also is breathtaking and quite empty. We had the hike to ourselves in the summertime and enjoyed a stunning sunset. You'll need to obtain the Makah permit (available for everyone) to access the reservation. Apparently you can see whales off the shore here, but we sadly did not. Since this is technically outside of Olympic National Park (though right near it!) dogs are allowed, so enjoy!



11. Poo Poo Point

I love this hike at sunset. It's close to seattle (about 30 minutes) and not terribly crowded like Rattlesnake ledge is, and it has gorgeous views of Mount Rainier in the distance! If you're short on time while you're visiting, this is a great place to stop by! You can see people paragliding here in the summer as well, so if you're feeling daring you can sign up for that!



12. Summit Lake

This hike has amazing views of Mount Rainier (and is dog-friendly!), stunning clear, blue lakes, wildflowers nestled perfectly in the forest, free dispersed camping, the list goes on. Overall a lot of really neat places to capture a beautiful shot here. You can also easily obtain an overnight permit to backcountry camp here, we saw a good amount of tents pitched along the route. The road can be a little rough to access, but it's so worth it for how beautiful it is! I didn't have my camera, so these were just captured on my iphone. The hike was really easy compared to most hikes i've done, so it's a great place to try backpacking or to carry your SUP.



13. Thunder Knob Trail + Ross Dam Trail

These two trails are really close to each other near Diablo lake and they're short, so I lumped them together. You can do Thunder Knob trail first then Ross lake trail after! This is probably one of the more recognized and iconic hikes in the North Cascades National Park. You can see the beautiful, but man-made reservoir. It's quite the trek from Seattle and the road is closed during the winter, but you can camp nearby like we did. Accommodations are very limited in the cascades unfortunately, but there was a cool property on Ross Lake. Ross Lake is also very blue, we even had a bear on the trail as we were going down to the lake. There's a nice picnic area to relax and enjoy your lunch here. I did carry my SUP, but the current was not ideal, it was actually very difficult to paddle here, so I wouldn't recommend it!



14. Mt Storm King

This is one of my favorite hikes in the Pacific Northwest. It is a leg burner, but it offers sweeping views of the water and mountains. There's a rope section which i didn't find to be difficult or sketchy and the rock scramble at the top was much easier than the one I had done prior at Mount Si. It's not dog-friendly, but dogs wouldn't be able to do the rope section easily anyway! This is in Olympic National Park and is about 4 miles total, 2000ft of gain. My best tip is avoid if the weather is not great. The rope area will be too slippery and scary and you wont get a nice view. Opt for the other waterfall and rainforest hikes in Olympics if the weather isn't favorable. It's only really worth it on a clear day and/or sunset for the nice view.



15. Explorers Fall

I love this hike because i also really love forest road hikes (I am probably the only one who thinks this!) but I just love how wide open they are! It's a lot easier for hiking with a reactive dog. It's a beautiful waterfall, located about 1 hour from Seattle. It's relatively low crowds, so you can get those stunning, classic PNW waterfall shots all to yourself! Other great waterfall hikes are Wallace Falls, Twin Falls, Snoqualmie falls, etc. but you're going to be dealing with giant crowds!



16. Mt Rainier Gondola + Sheep Lake Trail

I love this hike because it's easy and close to Mt Rainier National Park. It's dog-friendly (dogs are allowed off-leash here though so be mindful if you have a reactive dog!). The lake is gorgeous and the perfect way to cool down after visiting the Mt Rainier Gondola at Crystal Mountain! I put these together because these are really the only things you can do in Mt Rainier National Park with your dog, and they're both gorgeous! We camped at Cougar Rock campground which is also dog-friendly.




Comments


Hi! I'm Jackie and my dog is Sora. I work remote as an engineer, but I love to spend my free time in nature and by traveling to new places. I take my camera wherever I go, and sometimes my drone.

Somewhere With Sora is a Seattle-based lifestyle and travel blog that provides helpful travel and adventure tips for all kinds of trips, with or without the dogs.

Let me help you plan your next trip!

DSC07069-2_edited.jpg
  • Instagram
bottom of page