9 Incredible Easy Day Hikes Near Seattle

Friendly Hikes Near Seattle: Perfect for Kids + Families

When I first began hiking around the Pacific Northwest, I wanted a list like this: hikes that were short, sweet, and close to Seattle. This collection of hikes ticks all those boxes. Each trail is under 8 miles (ranging from 1.8 to 7.5 miles) and conveniently located near the city. They are also well-suited for kids. But honestly, what “kid-friendly” means can vary because every child is different! And each parent knows their child best.

Are you new to hiking with kids?

Hiking with kids can be a wonderful way to introduce them to nature, encourage physical activity, and make stronger connections with each other. Plus, it’s a great way to tire them out! Here is a list of a few tips that helped my family:

1. Start Small – Choose short, easy trails to begin with. This allows your child to get used to hiking without feeling like they’ve just signed up for a marathon. However if you select a longer hike, you can always turn around and not finish the hike.

2. Involve the Kids – Let your kids help with planning the hike. They can help choose the trail, pack the snacks, or carry a small backpack with their own water bottle and snacks. It makes then feel apart of the adventure!

3. Set a Comfortable Pace – Kids have shorter legs and may tire more quickly than adults or if your kids are anything like mine they out last me. So much energy! Allow plenty of time for rest breaks, and try not to be in a rush.

4. Stay Positive – Keep a positive attitude and encourage your kids along the way. Praise their efforts and celebrate their accomplishments, no matter how small.

Making Hiking with Kids Fun

A few fun things you can add to a hike:

  1. Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of things for the kids to look for on the trail, such as specific types of leaves, rocks, or wildlife. First one to find everything gets an extra desert!
  2. Games and Stories: Play games like “I Spy” or tell stories to keep them entertained along the way.
  3. Educational Moments: Teach them about the plants and animals you see. This can turn the hike into a learning experience and give you an excuse to sound super knowledgeable

Please, always practice Leave No Trace Principles (LNT). A lot of hikes in Washington State are popular, for good reason, and we need to take care of them as best we can.

The 7 Leave No Trace Principles:

  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be considerate of others

This list of 9 Beginner-Friendly Hikes Near Seattle

Barclay Lake

This hike is a scenic gem in Washington.The Barclay Lake hike may be short, but it offers a huge payoff with its stunning mountain views and crystal-clear water. The trail is mostly flat, winding through serene forests, with a single larger stream crossing along the way and a fun bridge that kids are sure to like!

Upon reaching the lake, you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking view of Baring Mountain. There are numerous spots around the lake where you can sit and relax and play in the lake. Its been on my list forever to hike in with a paddle board for my kids and I to float on the lake.

You’ll also find several camping spots right by the lake if you want to up your game and try backpacking. It’s an ideal place for an overnight stay.

  • Location: Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Distance: 4.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 387 ft
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Parking Pass: NW Forest Pass
  • Trail Guide: Barclay Lake

Garfield Ledges

At the far end of Middle Fork Road, is the trailhead to Garfield Ledges. It is a newer trail and I remember when I heard about it for the first time. We couldn’t get there fast enough. Its a beautiful trail through old growth forests covered in gorgeous green moss. This hike is like entering a fairytale of a world of fairies. There are lots of logs to walk on and stumps to climb.

And there is a view waiting for you at the end. Honestly, the view at the end is great (it really is) but the hike to the view took the cake for us. It is just that beautiful!

  • Location: Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Distance: 1.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 626
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Parking Pass: Discover Pass
  • Trail Guide: Garfield Ledges

Heybrook Lookout Tower

Hike to an old fire lookout tower that’s open to climb up and see beautiful views of Barring Mountain.

This is one of my favorites for the shorter and easier day hikes near Seattle. The trail, lined with evergreen shrubs, is REALLY pretty. Moreover, the best part, in my opinion, comes at the end, where a 67′ fire tower sits on top of Namesake Ridge at 1,700 ft. This fire tower is one of 93 others left in Washington State. Additionally, you can stay in this tower overnight and reserve it at Recreation.gov. Who doesn’t love a great hike to a fire tower? Check out my 6 favorite fire towers in Washington: https://www.thetrekkingmama.com/washington/the-best-fire-tower-lookout-hikes-in-washington-state/

  • Location:
  • Distance: 1.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 879 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Parking Pass: NW Forest Pass
  • Trail Guide: Heybrook Lookout

Denny Creek Falls

This amazing trail through beautiful woods that ends at natural pools and waterfalls, this hike is a natural playground.

I love this hike so much even though it tends to be very popular and often quite crowded. The falls are just so much fun to hang out around in play in. Especially for kids. The beautiful pools are so clear (and at times very COLD, brrr) and the large rock that the river runs through is great for sunning yourself or having a snack. And if you are up for a tiny bit more, I recommend checking out Keekwulee Falls which is up the trail around a mile. In my humble opinion its worth the extra climb.

Definitely add this one to your list of easy day hikes near Seattle! Its sure to be a winner.

  • Location: Alpine Lakes Wilderness
  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,108 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Parking Pass: Discover Pass
  • Trail Guide: Denny Creek Falls

Lake 22

Sub Alpine rainforest, check. Old Growth Forest, check. Gorgeous reflection on the lake, check!

You can hike to Lake 22 in the summer and fall. However, the lower elevation means that the snow melts earlier than on other Washington State hikes. Therefore, this is the perfect hike for spring when you are itching to get out! If you do venture out in the spring, be sure to wear waterproof shoes, as the trail can become a stream cascading down the log stairs. Additionally, there are lots of puddles for kids to splash in! If you go in the summer, you can look for newts (we found many!) and even swim in the lake.

  • Location: Alpine Lakes Wilderness
  • Distance: 6.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,473 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Parking Pass: NW Forest Pass
  • Trail Guide: Lake 22 Hike

Franklin Falls Snow Shoe

I wanted to throw in one winter hike that I found to be exceptionally fun with the kids. Franklin Falls is a classic PNW hike that is enjoyable anytime of the year. However, sometimes you want to try something a bit different, like snowshoeing or winter hiking with the kids. In that case, this trail is a perfect place to start. Not only is the hike itself beautiful, but the waterfall tends to freeze in the winter, creating a stunning, icy spectacle that offers a very different and magical perspective. The glistening ice and snow-covered surroundings make it feel like you’ve stepped into a winter wonderland. And if you are lucky enough you will find ice climbers practicing on the these falls.

Little Mashel Falls

The massive and magnificent waterfalls at the end of a straightforward 5-mile hike are what adds this hike to the best easy day hikes near Seattle!

The waterfalls along the Mashel River are anything but little. In fact, there are three of them: Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls. The hike is fairly straightforward, following a forest road for about 2 miles until you come to a path on the left marked by “Falls” spray-painted on a rock. Be sure to look for it, otherwise, you might keep walking on the road. At this point, you enter the woods, where three separate trails branch off the main path to each waterfall. It’s a delightful experience!

  • Location: Charles L Pack Experimental Forest
  • Distance: 5.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 649ft
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Parking Pass: N/A
  • Trail Guide: Little Mashel Falls

Wallace Falls

Located in the heart of Wallace Falls State Park, is a stunning series of cascading waterfalls nestled in the lush forests of Washington State.  Greenery and a stunning waterfall! Um, yes please.

And lots of fun bridges for the kids to run over. They offer a fun break from the trail. But my favorite this about this trail? The hike is SO green. It feels like the quintessential Washington hike. And then of course you have the waterfalls. Offering breathtaking views of nine distinct waterfalls, with the Middle Falls being the most spectacular at 265 feet, this hike keeps on giving.

This hike can be completed in a few hours. It is a very popular hike so dont expect to be alone especially if it is on a weekend. But, it is still worth it!

  • Location: Wallace Falls State Park
  • Distance: 4.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,489 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Parking Pass: Discover Pass
  • Trail Guide: Wallace Falls

Keechelus Lake

Sometimes you want to explore the outdoors and not hike on a trail necessarily. Keechelus Lake, located near Snoqualmie Pass in Washington, offers a picturesque playground especially during the late summer and fall season. As the leaves change color and the air turns crisp, the lake’s serene waters dry up. This results in exposed logs and tree roots and dried up waterbeds perfect for running and even biking. You can park right along the lake and just head on down. On a windy day it is a great place to fly a kite!

If you want to couple this with a hike you could add Gold Creek Pond across the highway or for more of a challenge, Mount Catherine down the road. We have done both of these and they are equally spectacular!

  • Location: Keechelus Lake
  • Distance: varies
  • Elevation Gain: fairly flat
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Parking Pass: Discover Pass
  • Alltrails: Keechelus

+1 Bonus – Talapus Lake

Short and sweet hike to a pretty alpine lake… even better if you bring your paddleboard!

This hike was fun for our family mostly because we hiked in with our paddle board. Although the lake is quite pretty it is a bit hard to access especially if there are lots of other groups. There are a few spots along the lake to get your feet wet but none of them really feel like real waterfront property. Having our paddle board and getting out on the lake was made the experience. The nice thing is this hike is short enough and flat enough that carrying a 50 pound paddle board on your back is not so bad!

  • Location: Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Distance: 3.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 656 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Parking Pass: Discover Pass
  • Trail Guide: Talapus Lake


You really can’t go wrong with any of the trails listed above. Each one is a wonderful, easy day hike, loaded with natural beauty and well worth the effort. I can’t recommend hiking in Washington enough; its diverse landscapes and stunning vistas offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to hike with your kids, these trails provide the perfect opportunity to get out, explore, and create some memories! Happy Trails!

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