Recommended Short Hikes

As an avid family hiker, I’ve added a short list of our favorite hikes in the Pacific Northwest. I recommend these for groups of all ages.

Mt Constitution on Orcas Island

Highest point in the Puget Sound and absolutely beautiful. It’s also an amazing ferry ride through the islands to get there.

Snoqualmie Falls 

Fan of Twin Peaks? Even if you’re not, you don’t want to miss this short little stroll into an epic scene. The walk along the river is beautiful and super easy.

Big Four Ice Caves

North of Seattle a bit, you’ll find a giant pile of snow to play in, sometimes even in August. Stay out of the caves though. Many people have died from cave-ins.

Rialto Beach

What? You heard Oregon beaches were the best, well, don’t be fooled. Washington has it’s own set of spectacular ocean spaces. Another favorite beach is Rialto Beach. It’s quite a drive, but worth it! We’ve done the whole trip with the Ferry and a stop at Hurricane Ridge in one epic day drive. But better to find a place out on the peninsula for at least one night.

Hurricane Ridge

Don’t miss your chance to get to the top of a mountain range [in your car]. Hurricane Ridge is a breathtaking epic place to view pretty much half of Washington State. Stroll up to the very tippy top and you’ll find your place in heaven.

Deception Pass

North of Seattle you’ll find a beautiful pass between islands with some dramatic flair. There’s a park on the the south side with a great beach for playing in the water. But don’t miss the park on the north side which has some fantastic views and a nice easy walk along some mild cliffs.

Washington Park

North of Deception Pass you’ll find the beautiful Washington Park, another favorite of ours. We love to play on the beach with the giant tree (seen below). There’s also a drive up to the top of the park with a view of the islands that will leave you breathless.

Fort Warden

Out near Port Townsend you’ll find an old army fort to wander through in the dark. Bring a flashlight and your courage. There’s also a nice beach near the lighthouse to play on.

Salt Creek Recreation Area

Also out on the peninsula near Port Angeles, there’s a gem of a beach called Salt Creek. This park is especially fun at low tide when you go through the camp ground and explore the tide pools. Sunsets here are also a personal favorite.

Ebey’s Landing

Out on Whidbey Island you’ll find this open and historic park along the sea with wide green fields and a beach piled with driftwood to play on.

Franklin Falls

A short drive from Seattle you’ll find this popular hike in the Snoqualmie Pass. Short and lovely, but a bit busy.


Down by Mt Rainier you’ll find on of the most beautiful and strangely named hikes you’ve ever heard of. Ohanapecosh is a classic for Northwesterners. If you have older kids, it’s especially refreshing to go down in the rocks and put feet in the water on a hot summer day.

Washington Pass Overlook

Up in the North Cascades you’ll find a few beautiful spots including the amazing Ross Lake which has a great overlook you should stop at for photos. But there is also an fun little hike off the Washington Pass Overlook park. Don’t miss it.

Lime Kiln Point State Park

Out on San Juan Island you’ll find a lovely little place called Lime Kiln Point State Park. There’s a cool little lighthouse and an easy walk/hike. We  saw some Orca’s off the beach once during our drive to the park. We jumped out of the car and took the photos seen below.

Discovery Park

In the city of Seattle you’ll find the huge and scenic Discovery Park. It has some solid views of the Puget Sound.

Lincoln Park 

Another favorite in Seattle, this West Seattle Park has it all including driftwood covered beach, views of the Olympic mountains and ferry traffic, a ruged climb up a steep hill, a stroll through a mix of evergreen and maple trees, and a few playgrounds for kids. It can get a little busy, but it’s still a must see if you are in town.

Crystal Mountain

Looking for a beautiful view of Mt Rainier — from the peak next door? It’s a vigorous elevation gain for small kids, but it’s worth the effort.  But if you are not up for a hike, you can take a ride up the Crystal Mountain Gondola instead, right to the top! It’s a mystical experience to view the biggest mountain in the state up close.

Mt Baker

Here was a gem we found recently that has been right before our eyes for years. It’s known for great snow skiing in the winter, but it also has an amazing set of trails and facilities for summertime. We had some smoke in the air when we visited, but you still shouldn’t miss it. We even found a snow patch behind the hills and had a snowball fight in August.

Ruby Beach

A long drive from Seattle, but an amazing beach. Walk among the pillars of ancient rocks and wind swept forests. It’s truly a memorable place.

Dungeness Spit

Up on top of the Olympic Peninsula you’ll find the longest sand spit in the USA (5 miles). We haven’t yet walked the full length yet, but we have enjoyed tooling around and playing in the driftwood.

Olympic Game Farm

Want to see Grizzlies and Buffalo up close? Check out the Olympic Game Farm. Not really a hike, but definitely worth the price of admission.

Palouse Falls

Probably one of the coolest places in Eastern Washington. It’s a long drive from Seattle, but definitely worth it to see an amazing waterfall with an ancient history. Don’t be an idiot and try to hike around the top though. A few people have apparently died trying that. I hear there are that will take you down below if you want to get down in the river valley if you want. It was rediculously hot when we went there, so we just hung out and enjoyed the falls from under a shaded viewing area.