Hiking Near Seattle

Some of my hikes

I have recently started a blog with hikes in the Seattle area and my recent hikes and some of the older ones are documented there.
Hidden Lake

Click on any picture to see the full story

I was really looking forward to hiking to the Hidden Lake Lookout for a long while now and I was too impatient to wait till mid-July, by which time all show should melt. I grabbed my ice axe, yaktrax and set out expecting some snow. I found lots...

Lake Serene

Another trip to Lake Serene. This time we got all the views we wanted. Lake serene is an easy hike, perfect for early season when everything else still has snow on the trails.

After the hike

Mt. Dickerman is tough but totally worth the effort. From the top, you get great views of Mt. Baker, Glacker Peak and other nearby mountains.

Lunch by Lake Surprise

The hike to Surprise Lake is easy and pleasant -- a perfect destination if more interesting things are inaccessible due to bad weather or snow.

Lunch by Lake Stuart

In early June of 2004, Jean and I hiked to Colchuck Lake and Lake Stuart. A beautiful destination, though best done before the high season begins and the trail gets too crowded.

Drift Wood at Lake Serene

Lake Serene is located a little more than an hour away from Seattle. The hike is slightly easier than the trail up Mt. Si but it is arguably more interesting with the spectacular views of Bridal Veils waterfalls.

Goat Lake

Goat Lake is located in the Glacier Peak region and the trail head for the hike is accessible from the Mountain Loop Highway. It's an easy hike that provides really nice views. Perfect destination early in the season.

Todd and I

On August 2, 2003, Todd and I hiked Mt. Forgotten. The wildest and toughest hike I have done here so far!

Sunset on Mt. Si Everybody has to hike Mt. Si at least once!

On a few occassions, I hiked near Burroughs Mountain in the Mount Rainier National Park. The views of Mount Rainier were spectacular!

Useful Information

Permits And Fees

Most of the time, you will be either in a National Forest or in one of the three National Parks.

In a National Forest you will need a NW Forest Pass in order to park a car in the vicinity of any of the trail heads. At the moment, the pass costs $5 per day or $30 per year. Usually you can buy the pass in any town on your way to the hike.

In a National Park you will usually have to pay an entrance fee. If you plan to do some overnight backpacking, the parks also require that you obtain a backcountry and/or camping permit. See the detailed fee information for North Cascades, Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Park fees & permits.

Conditions: Weather, Trails, Roads





In general, people use Green Trails maps which you can buy at most map and bookstores or on-line. There are also some decent free maps available on-line for specific regions. Here are a few:

I also find the National Geographic TOPO! software maps very helpful in planning my trips because they offer better detail than the Green Trails maps. They are somewhat pricy but the software communicates well with most popular GPS units allowing me to both set up waypoints and important features on my GPS before the trip, as well as to download and view my tracks after the hike. The current version (4.0) supports both Windows and Mac computers (I have an earlier version -- 3.3). But you should always have a proper paper map with you on a hike, and for that Green Trails are your best bet for standard hikes because they very clearly mark all the maintained trails in the region, while the TOPO! maps do not mark trails with their numbers or names, and do not distinguish between "official" and unofficial paths. (Note: This software will not allow you to upload maps to your GPS unit -- just waypoints, routes, and other information that you yourself add to a map; also beware that this is a somewhat complex piece of software; I like it but other people do not -- read some other reviews first before buying.)

Planning a Trip

On-line Sources

The Washington Trails Association has a great tool for searching hikes by various criteria such as hike's length, elevation gain, attractions, etc. They also let you browse through the database of hikes. Finally, they have a forum for posting up-to-date information about the current conditions of the trails. This is particularly useful if you want to hike at unusual times of the year when official reports are not available or recent enough.

Seattle P-I regularly publishes reviews of different hikes in the area. They keep a complete archive.


There are lots of books with hike descriptions for the state of Washington. Below are my two favorites:
100 Classic Hikes in Washington 100 Classic Hikes in Washington
This is a collection of 100 best hikes in the state, including all three National Parks. The hikes range from short strolls that can be completed in a few hours, to multi day trips. In the current edition, each hike is accompanied by at least one color photograph and a map. If you are looking for inspiration, this is a perfect book to start with. You can get it from Amazon.
cover Best Loop Hikes Washington
This book also describes a 100 wonderful hikes. Unlike the other book, this one focuses exclusively on loop hikes. Many hikers prefer to avoid retracing their steps, if possible, so this book is an ideal source of advice. There is a photograph and a map accompanying each hike description (though they are all black and white). You can get it from Amazon

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