The city of Seattle may look like it’s all concrete and glass, but there’s a reason it’s called “The Emerald City.” No, not the usual reason… It’s because it’s really green around here nearly all year-round. That makes Seattle hiking a big deal, and if you’ve never spent a lazy afternoon exploring the city’s trails, you’re in for a treat.
So strap on your boots and remember, do be prudent. While Washington State is a national leader in cannabis reform, cannabis is still a no-no on federal lands. So check the information for each trail carefully.
Seattle Hiking: Our Favorite Trails Near the City
3801 Discovery Park Blvd
Seattle, WA 98199
The Emerald City’s largest green space offers a smorgasbord of Seattle hiking. Sprawling across a stunning 354-acre spread, this former Army post features views of Puget Sound, downtown and much, much more. Our fave trail? The easily conquerable Loop Trail (2.8 miles) which draws you through both forest and meadow to a stunning highlight. If you’ve got the time, definitely trek down to the beach and lighthouse before heading home.
Squak Mountain State Park Natural Area
201430 SE May Valley Rd
Issaquah, WA 98027
While not technically in Seattle, this beautiful and only moderately challenging trail is typically within a half-hour drive depending on traffic. Once you make it out to the “Issaquah Alps,” you’ll be rewarded with a good workout combined with stellar views of Mt. Rainier and thick groves of the towering, mature trees for which the region is known.
Kingfisher Natural Area on Thornton Creek
17th Ave NE & NE 104th St
Seattle, WA 98125
This pocket-sized trail packs a lot into a small space! You’ll find natural wetlands with well-maintained trails, abundant vegetation and wildlife, and access to the burbling little Thornton Creek. It’s a great choice when you’ve only got a few hours and you’re desperate for a little hit of green. (No, not THAT hit of green.)
950 NW Carkeek Park Rd
Seattle, WA 98177
Spanning some 216 acres in the Broadview neighborhood, Carkeek offers plenty of amenities besides just hiking. Picnic and play areas, Piper Orchard and Pipers Creek all beckon, but it’s the wide variety of trails we really fall for here. From meadow to wetland to dense forest to creekside and even beachcombing, it’s a safe bet you’ll find a hike to suit your mood and ability here.
5900 Lake Washington Blvd S
Seattle, WA 98118
This (nearly) hidden gem jutting out into Lake Washington is a real oasis, offering ample hiking and walking trails, beaches, playgrounds and more, all in a miniature wooded paradise. Special bonus: If you tire of the trails, head to the park’s Audubon Center, where you’ll be treated to activities like curated birdwatching walks, avian photography exhibits, and even nocturnal owl prowls!