Here’s our favorite list of the best hikes near Seattle to take with the kids. So lace up those hiking boots, grab your backpacks and water, and get ready for an epic adventure that you’re sure to remember
There’s lots to love about the “city” side of Seattle–great restaurants, fantastic shows and world-class museums are at our fingertips. But Seattle’s “wild” side is pretty cool too, and it’s just as easy to access (maybe even easier), whether you’re looking to go on a sea safari, find a hidden waterfall or just stretch your legs on a nearby city trail. If you’re looking for a just-right hike for you and your nature lovers, we’ve got more than a few suggestions that should do the trick. Check our picks of the best hikes near Seattle to make the most of those longer, warmer days that are on the horizon.
The Best Hikes near Seattle for Kids
1. Discovery Park
With nearly 12 miles of walkable paths and 534 acres to explore, Discovery Park in Seattle, is the city's largest city park, and offers stunning views of Puget Sound and the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, not to mention is free to visit, free to park, free to explore all year-round. Take the three-mile loop trail for a nice overview of the park, experience open meadows, beautiful forest groves, impressive sea cliffs and active sand dunes (perfect for your little diggers, so don’t forget the pail and shovel). Or bring a kite and a picnic dinner to spread out in the meadow, and then walk off your meal by taking a hike on the South Beach Trail to look for the lighthouse and signs of wildlife on the beach. Bottom line, this park is the epitome of urban hiking.
Park Perks: The epic playground, behind the Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center features tons of fun equipment designed for kids ages 2 to 12 and is the perfect place to either start or finish your hike.
3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
2. Lincoln Park
Another local Seattle favorite that mixes beach and forest play is Lincoln Park in West Seattle. Maybe you've spent some lazy summer days at the wading pool here. Or maybe you've hit one of the two playgrounds that call this park home. But if you haven't taken the kids to walk the hidden trails, you haven't explored all this urban oasis has to offer. There are over four miles of trails winding through the trees. Some run along the bluff, some along the waterfront. One may even take you to the mythic griffin that watches over the park (hint: he's irresistibly climbable).
8011 Fauntleroy S.W.
3. Tiger Mountain
Tiger Mountain, is at the center of the Issaquah Alps, a small range southeast of Seattle. Starting at the High Point Trailhead, there are two hikes perfectly suited for little legs and patient parents on Tiger Mountain. With littles in tow, a not-too-taxing hike is the Bus Trail. It's wide and flat with room for kids to run ahead and burn off some of that energy. This trail will take you past a hulking wreckage of an old bus, the perfect place for a photo op, a little exploration and a quick break. From there it’s easy enough to turn around and head back to the trailhead. A longer (but still flat) hike is Around the Lake Trail. At the High Point Trailhead either take the Puget Power Trail or the Around the Lake Trail that will loop you around Tradition Lake. It’s about one and a half miles, but it is flat and surrounded by ferns and lush moss-covered trees, perfect for wildlife spotting and communing with nature.
Good to know: While it’s not really a summit, older kids will get a kick out of being able to boast (likely with a few giggles) that they hiked to Poo Poo Point. From the trailhead take the Bus Trail, south on the Gas Line Trail and then southeast on the Poo Poo Point Trail. It's a great spot to watch the paragliders sail down the mountain.
High Point Trailhead
S.E. 79th St.
4. Grace Cole Nature Park
Lake Forest Park’s Grace Cole Nature Park is one of Seattle's hidden gems that’s big on adventure but easy on little feet. On a sunny summer day, kids will enjoy exploring the hillside path as it meanders past big ol’ pine trees, ponds and wetlands. This hike is a short one, even for inexperienced trekkers, so even if you're short on time you can make it work. Plan to hit it after camp pick up, or head there to break up a busy Saturday with a dose of serenity. Another perk? You can bring your (leashed) dogs along on this one.
Insider Tip: Before you head back to the car, take a short walk north past the top of the parking lot to find a boardwalk. Follow it to find the secret ponds that feed Brookside Creek.
30th Ave. N.E. at N.E. 166th St.
Lake Forest Park, WA
5. Snoqualmie Falls
Each year over a million visitors are beckoned by the majestic sights and sounds of Snoqualmie Falls and for good reason. A mesmerizing 1,000 cubic-feet of water per second pounds into the Snoqualmie River from a 268-foot drop, while cool mists and rainbows float up from its splashes. Mini hikers will love the interpretive plaques describing the wildlife, flora and fauna of the region, as well as discovering there are two power plant facilities located at the falls. Starting from the upper parking lot the path winds from the railed observation platform, behind the gift shop and then down a moderately steep grade to the lower observation platform. If it has been a while since you’ve visited, a new lower parking lot is available for those who want to get that up-climb done and out-of-the-way first.
How far is Snoqualmie Falls from Seattle? It's located just 25-miles outside the city of Seattle, making this destination an easy one to get to with kids in tow.
Insider Tip: After your trek, take a historic trip through the town of Snoqualmie, where you will find tasty eats, a candy shop and a train museum.
6501 Railroad Ave. S.E.
6. Twin Falls Trail
The Twin Falls at Olallie State Park near North Bend is the perfect hike for the under 5 set, and it’s less than 45 minutes from downtown Seattle. Towering maples and fallen nurse logs (trees that facilitate the growth of saplings) add to the restrained beauty on this trek through a moss-laden coniferous forest along the shores of the South Fork Snoqualmie River. The beginning part of the trail that hugs the South Fork is a great spot to stop and skip stones into the water. The pay off at the trail’s end is a beautiful waterfall. There are benches and a nice view of the falls at .75 miles in; this is a good turn-around spot if you're hiking with toddlers or kids get tired. If everyone is a-okay, you can hike another mile up to find a bridge that crosses high over the water and between the two falls.
Olallie State Park
51350 S.E. Homestead Valley Rd.
North Bend, WA
7. Union Bay Natural Area
With 74 acres and four miles of shoreline along Lake Washington, the Union Bay Natural Area is a wildlife lover's dream, just a stone’s throw away from the shopping mecca of University Village. Gorgeous grasslands and wetlands combined with the backdrops of Husky Stadium, Lake Washington and Mount Rainier add to the area's diverse scenery. A popular bird watching destination, bring the binoculars and either a heavy-duty jogging stroller or a backpack for the wee ones, as the gravel trails are hard to navigate without rubber tires.
Insider Tip: There’s plenty of parking available at the adjacent Center for Urban Horticulture.
3501 N.E. 41st St.
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—additional reporting by Jeffrey Totey