As much as I love fall and the colors it brings, I enjoy very much that summer days are much longer, and I get to be so productive and get so many things done! Even though I haven’t really made any big trips away from Seattle this summer at all, I feel like I still get to go out and do things on the weekend in such gorgeous summer weather. Washington has so many cool hiking trails that it would take me years to conquer.
So per the title suggests, I’m going to share with you some super easy hikes with vast and amazing views that you have to make it one of these days whether you live in Washington or not. These, however, require a bit of a drive away from Seattle, but trust me, it will be worth it!
1. TOLMIE PEAK LOOKOUT – EUNICE LAKE
Location: Mount Rainier Area – NW – Carbon River/Mowich
Mid-July to October is the best time to hike this trail (suggested by so many outdoorsy sites). Last weekend (last weekend of July), I did this hike in the late afternoon on a Sunday with my boyfriend. We got quite a late start in the day since we wanted to get some cool sunset shots. I’d suggest you leaving around noon if you want to finish the entire trail finishing at the Tolmie Lookout. We ended at the Eunice Lake which was only 0.9 miles away from the Tolmie Lookout. I knew that that last mile would require so much more mosquito sprays as well as lots of uphill hiking. The trail, I’d say, was easy to intermediate. We did have to take a few water breaks on the way to the lake, and once we got to the lake, OMG, we got attacked by so many mosquitos.
I should have taken it more seriously and prepared myself for the bug attack, review on the Washington Trail Association (WTA). We both ended up getting 30+ mosquito bites, and mine got so itchy and red the nest days. So make sure you spray yourself really well before entering the trail and bring extra strong stuff to spray yourself once you get to the lake. The lake view was incredible even though I wished that we could spend a little bit more time. We brought some hotdogs and fruits to eat in the end but couldn’t be able to since there were so many mosquitos. We ended up making our way back to the car and ate in there, without the annoying bugs circling us along the trail and back. I’d love to go back to finish the trail and get photos up at the Tolmie Lookout in the upcoming weeks. Go now since this is the wildflower season. It’s insanely gorgeous everywhere, especially at the lake. This one beats all of the other trails that I’ve ever been to in Washington! Plus the Rainier mountain views are incredible everywhere we turn.
Location: Carbon River/Mowich
Length: 7.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1100 ft.
2. GOAT LAKE
Location: North Cascades – Mountain Loop Highway
I did this hike with my friends from Minnesota and Kentucky last fall when they visisted. It was such a long and confusing hike since the trail was split into the Upper Elliot and the Lower Elliot trails. We made a U-turn halfway into the Upper Elliot and found out that it also took us to the lake. We ended up hiking around 15 miles that day, quite exhausting but so much fun! I’d recommend you hiking this one with a group of friend since it could feel like forever. It is an easy hike but gets tough towards the end. We had lunch overlooking to the gorgeous blue-green lake surrounded by snowy peaks. Quite peaceful and serene.
I edited these Goat Lake photos, hence the moody tone! 😛
Length: 10.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1400 ft.
3. RATTLESNAKE LEDGE & SNOQUALMIE FALL
Location: Snoqualmie Region — North Bend Area
Rattlesnake Ledge is the most crowded trail I’ve ever been to. This was my first hike in Washington when I visited my boyfriend in April of 2017. FYI, I moved to Washington in September of last year while my boyfriend moved in December of 2016. Yes, we’re both from the Midwest and are cravers of adventures. We love road trips as much as flights away to destinations we’ve never been to together. And this trail was the start of many trails that we’ve done together. After a quick stop at the Snoqualmie Falls which was pretty close by the trailhead of the Rattlesnake Ledge. I remembered we brought along our J-umbrella (looking ridiculous!) and got to use it quite a lot along the trail. It was at the beginning of spring hence the weather was quite bi-polar at times. I’ve learned after actually moving to Seattle that people here don’t actually carry umbrellas around.
Distance: 5.1 miles
Gain: 1469 ft.
These three photos were shot along the way down the Snoqualmie Falls. You don’t have to hike down since you couldn’t get closer to the falls anyways. But we hiked down there anyways! Just park your car in the parking lot and go down a few stairs for the incredible view of the fall. It is a powerful and giant fall!
4. HURRICANE RIDGE – MOUNT ANGELES
Location: Olympics – Northern Coast
I did this 3-hour drive from Seattle to Port Angeles with my boyfriend and his brother’s family. We camped overnight at Fort Townsend, went to the lavender field in Sequim, and made a stop at Hurricane Ridge. It was quite a long drive, to be honest with you! But you have to go here once before you die! It costs $30 to enter Hurrican Ridge since it’s a part of the Olympic National Park, but we didn’t have to pay since we already bought a yearly pass. If you’re planning to hit a few National Parks soon, investing in an ‘America The Beautiful’ yearly pass can save you so much. My boyfriend and I also have the Discovery Pass which covered National Parks but not the National Forests which were the majority of the trails that we’ve been to. It’s basically useless, in my opinion. And it becomes a joke between us that we’ve pulled it out so many times but never got to use it.
It takes a while to get to the top of the gate, but the view up there is nothing to compare. There is a huge visitor center with a restaurant and a gift shop. Lots of people bring food and look over the mountain tops. We didn’t really hike but walk along the walking path up the hillside. We took some photos but made a U-turn unknowing that it is a circle. So keep on walking and you’ll be able to go back from where you are. We saw lots of deer, and wildflowers were also in bloom, so beautiful. This was in the third week of July in case you’re wondering! July month is the lavender’s peak season, and Sequim is where the purple magic is!
Length: 6.25 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1254 ft.
5. LAKE DIABLO
Location: North Cascades – North Cascades Highway – Hwy 20
Okay, this is a treat! You don’t have to hike even though you could. We drove there for the lake view since we had a few hours to kill in April. It was quite a cold spring day, so thats why the lake color is not as emerald and vibrant as it usually was on sunny days. It was quite a far drive (2-3 hours) depending on where you travel from. I’ve heard that people find the trailhead difficult to locate, and bugs might be an issue. Again, if you’d like, totally make a drive up here, just an Overlook. Make sure to walk to the other side where the bathroom is as there is an open area that you can sit and hand out. This view though!
Hikes I’m planning to do in the upcoming weekends: more of Mount Rainier National Park, Golden Gate Loop, Dege Peak, Pinnacle Saddle, Silver Star Mountain, Sunrise Peak, North Cascade Blue Lake (Highway 20), Hummocks trail, Lakes Trail, Goat Mountain, and Mount St. Helens for sure the Harry’s Ridge.
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!
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