5 Breathtaking Waterfall Hikes Near Seattle to Explore This Summer

Did you know there’s an abundance of hikes near Seattle that lead to stunning waterfalls?

Spring is the perfect time to embark on these hikes: the snow has melted, but the crowds and summer heat have yet to arrive.

We’ve compiled a list of the top five waterfall hikes near Seattle that you should experience at least once. Most of these trails are within an hour’s drive from the city and are beginner and kid-friendly.

(Photo: Snoqualmie Falls)

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls is a breathtaking natural wonder located approximately 30 miles east of Seattle, making it one of the region’s most accessible and popular destinations. This magnificent waterfall plunges 268 feet into the Snoqualmie River, creating a dramatic and awe-inspiring sight that draws over 1.5 million visitors annually. The falls are surrounded by lush, verdant forests and are easily viewed from multiple observation points within the well-maintained park that surrounds them. The upper observation deck offers panoramic views of the cascading water, while a short, moderately challenging hike leads to the base of the falls, providing a different perspective and a closer connection to the roaring water.

In addition to its natural beauty, Snoqualmie Falls holds significant cultural and historical importance for the Snoqualmie Tribe, who consider the falls a sacred site. The area around the falls is rich with interpretive signs that educate visitors about the cultural heritage and historical significance of the site. The nearby Salish Lodge & Spa offers luxury accommodations and dining with stunning views of the falls, making it an excellent spot for a weekend getaway. Whether you are there for the scenic views, the cultural history, or the serene surroundings, Snoqualmie Falls is a quintessential Pacific Northwest experience that should not be missed.

Driving time from Seattle: 35 minutes
Length of hike (roundtrip): 1.4 miles
Difficulty level: Easy

Twin Falls

Twin Falls, located in the Olallie State Park near North Bend, is a captivating destination for nature lovers and hikers. The hike to Twin Falls is a 3.6-mile round-trip journey that takes you through a lush, old-growth forest along the South Fork Snoqualmie River. The trail is moderately challenging, with gentle inclines and well-maintained paths, making it suitable for families and casual hikers. As you traverse the trail, you’ll encounter several scenic viewpoints, including wooden bridges and vantage points overlooking the river and surrounding forest.

The highlight of the hike is reaching the viewing platform that offers a stunning look at the twin cascades of Twin Falls. The water plunges into a rocky gorge, creating a mesmerizing and tranquil sight that makes the effort of the hike well worth it. During the spring and early summer months, the falls are particularly impressive due to the higher water flow from snowmelt. The surrounding area is perfect for picnicking, making Twin Falls a wonderful destination for a day trip from Seattle, offering a refreshing escape into nature.

Driving time from Seattle: 35 minutes
Length of hike (roundtrip): 2.6 miles
Difficulty level: Easy/moderate

(Photo: Franklin Falls)

Franklin Falls

Franklin Falls is a hidden gem located just off the I-90 corridor near Snoqualmie Pass, offering an easy and family-friendly hiking experience. The trail to Franklin Falls is a short 2-mile round-trip hike that follows the South Fork Snoqualmie River. This well-maintained trail is relatively flat, making it accessible for hikers of all ages and skill levels. As you walk through the serene, forested surroundings, you’ll enjoy the sound of the river and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest landscape.

The trail culminates at the stunning Franklin Falls, which drops 70 feet over a rocky cliff into a clear pool below. During the summer months, the cool mist from the falls provides a refreshing break from the heat, and the area around the falls is perfect for relaxing and taking in the natural beauty. In the winter, the falls partially freeze, creating a magical, icy spectacle that is equally captivating. Franklin Falls is an ideal destination for a quick and rewarding hike, offering a perfect blend of accessibility and natural beauty.

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour
Length of hike (roundtrip): 2 miles
Difficulty level: Easy

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls, located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, is a majestic and aptly named waterfall known for its delicate, veil-like appearance. The hike to Bridal Veil Falls begins at the Lake Serene trailhead and is a 4-mile round-trip journey that takes hikers through dense forests, over wooden bridges, and past cascading streams. The trail is moderately challenging, with some steep sections and rocky terrain, but the effort is rewarded with stunning views of the falls.

At the end of the hike, you’ll reach a viewpoint that offers an up-close look at Bridal Veil Falls as it tumbles 1,328 feet down a series of rocky steps. The mist from the falls creates a cooling effect, making it a refreshing destination on a warm day. The surrounding area is filled with vibrant green foliage, adding to the enchanting atmosphere of the falls. Bridal Veil Falls is a must-visit for those seeking a more challenging hike with the reward of one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Seattle area.

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour
Length of hike (roundtrip): 4 miles
Difficulty level: Moderate

(Photo: Myrtle Falls)

Myrtle Falls

Myrtle Falls, situated in Mount Rainier National Park, is a stunning waterfall that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and iconic views. The falls are easily accessible via a short, half-mile hike from the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center, making it an ideal destination for visitors of all ages and hiking abilities. The trail to Myrtle Falls is paved and well-maintained, winding through alpine meadows filled with wildflowers during the summer months, creating a picturesque and serene setting.

Upon reaching Myrtle Falls, you’ll be greeted with a breathtaking view of the water cascading 72 feet into a rocky gorge, with the towering peak of Mount Rainier serving as a dramatic backdrop. This iconic view makes Myrtle Falls one of the most photographed locations in the park. The combination of the falls and the majestic mountain creates a scene that is both tranquil and awe-inspiring. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual visitor, Myrtle Falls offers an unforgettable experience in one of the most beautiful natural settings in the Pacific Northwest.

Driving time from Seattle: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Length of hike (roundtrip): 0.8 miles
Difficulty level: Easy

Before heading out to these beautiful destinations, stop in at Greenside Rec. Follow us on social media for the latest news, updates, and promotions. Or, find us right around the corner from the Climate Pledge Arena.

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