Looking for the best winter hikes near Seattle?From Bellvue to Olympic National Park, there are plenty of winter hiking trails to try out.
Walking or hiking has increased physical and mental benefits, so it’s most definitely worth using up some of your energy to experience some of the many picturesque walks within Seattle.
One of the most convenient things about living in Seattle is that hiking trails are open all year round!
Yes, there are dark, short days and lots (and I mean lots) of rain, but there’s still plenty of opportunities for you to embrace the colder weather in and around the city.
This article centers itself around my top picks for hiking trails close to the city.
It includes many different hikes; from those that pave their way through serene forests and along rich historical beaches, to steeper trails that lead you to powerful, sublime natural waterfalls.
In wintertime, lowland hikes beckon. Seattle answers!
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7 Best Winter Hikes Near Seattle
This list contains several of the most stunning winter hiking trails near Seattle that you just have to visit. It has been ordered according to its distance away from the city.
Location: South Seattle, along Lake Washington
Seward Park is one of my favorite flat and incredibly scenic walks in Seattle and tops my lift of best winter hikes near Seattle. It’s a beautiful yet heavily trafficked 2.5-mile looped walk that you can enjoy all year round.
You can take in the views of Lake Washington, Mt Rainier, and downtown Seattle all without the hassle of battling against the crowds.
This particular loop lake trail is equally paved, flat, and wide.
If you’re feeling adventurous and decide that you want to do more exploring or extend your walk, you can pursue many trails inside the park, including lots of old-growth trees on the north end of the park.
The best part? You don’t need a pass to access the glorious views and can go whenever you want – with or without your furry friend in tow.
I’d recommend catching the sunrise or sunset there if you can.
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Location: Cougar Mountain Wildland Park, Bellevue
Distance from Seattle: 30 minutes
Second on the list of best winter hikes near Seattle, Bellevue has lots of wonderful hikes and is one of the most popular.
Coal Creek Falls offers up a spectacular 1,066ft high waterfall that dries up in mid-summer and returns full force for winter time, making it the perfect object for your winter viewing pleasure.
At this picturesque location, it’s easy to feel completely separated from the hustle and bustle of nearby Seattle – even though you are only a stone’s throw away!
The majority of this hike allows you to meander through a forest.
A trip to Coal Creek Falls typically rounds out at an impressive 2.5 miles with an elevation gain of 400 feet, but you have the option to extend your hike (if you so wish) within the Cougar Mountain trail system.
All in all, I think that the views provided by this walk make Coal Creek Falls the ultimate choice for your winter hike.
Location: Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area, North Bend
Distance from Seattle: 45 minutes
Rattlesnake Ledge is a 4-mile round trip mountain view hike that is snow-free a lot of the winter. A lack of icy ground means there’s a smaller risk of injury.
However, this area does still get more snow than downtown Seattle so it might be a good idea to check weather apps and trip reports before leaving your home to see whether there is a mass of snow on the ground or not.
This ledge is also a wonderful place to watch the sunrise.
Luckily, the sun rises much later in winter than it does in other seasons, so you won’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to witness such an incredible sight!
Just bear in mind this route has an elevation gain of 1200 feet so it may take a while to get to the top.
Rattlesnake Ledge is generally far too overcrowded in the summer months, making winter the optimal season to visit and take in the beautiful views.
Just keep in mind that even in winter this location still has its fair share of visitors! Also, be very careful at the ledge!
Location: Bainbridge Island, approx 15 minutes from the ferry terminal
Distance from Seattle: about 1 hour, depending on the ferry schedule
Grand Forest Park Trail is much more difficult to access than others featured on this list purely because you have to take a ferry to get there.
This trail is a 2.2 mile long heavily trafficked loop trail and is one of several stunning yet extensive hikes available to embark upon on Bainbridge Island.
It can be extended up to 6.5 miles in several loops. It features a lake and is a great outing choice for people of all fitness levels and abilities.
Grand Forest is a beautiful forest hike where you can wander a short distance or add on loops for a longer adventure.
Close to Seattle but feels like you’re far away!
Dogs allowed. After freezing on this walk, why don’t you bundle up and warm yourself up with a hot drink at the Blackbird Bakery located nearby?
Location: Whidbey Island
Distance from Seattle: 1 hour, 30 minutes from Seattle
If hiking satisfies your soul but slogging through snow gives you cold feet, you needn’t abandon your boots for winter.
Lowland hikes beckon. Here’s a place that is rich with potential for discoveries. Another extremely busy summer destination, Deception Pass has far fewer people in the winter.
Deception Pass is noted as being the most photographed place in Washington State.
With turquoise waters residing underneath, the stomach-droppingly high bridge leading to Whidbey Island is one of the most well-known aspects of the park.
There are multiple hiking trails in the park that border both sides of Deception Pass (through woods and steeper trails leading to the beach) that add up to an impressive 30 miles of hiking potential!
This includes Lottie Point Loop, Lighthouse Point, and North Beach Hike.
However, you do need to have a Washington State Discover Pass to access any of the trails in the park. Overall, you’ll have plenty of time to soak in the views!
Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, between Arlington and Darrington
Distance from Seattle: 1 hour 45 minutes
If you adore hiking through ambling forest paths then you have to try out this trail!
The Boulder River Trail features several striking waterfalls that can quite literally steal your breath away, the most spectacular one is situated under a mile and a half into the hike.
Generally, this winter-friendly hike is far less crowded than others on this list but can still get a little busy – especially on summer weekends.
But in the winter you definitely won’t see many other people, and the beauty of the forest and the waterfalls at this time of year will truly take your breath away.
With plenty of gentle trails, there are up to 9 miles of hiking to be done in this area.
But Boulder River Falls specifically is a 3-mile round trip hike.
This is a relatively easy, popular hike off the Mountain Loop Highway, making it suitable for young families to embark upon.
Trails leading up to Boulder River Trail and Falls provide picturesque views and allow you to trade the rushing noise of the city for the refreshing noise of the river rushing by.
Location: Olympic Coast, between Lake Quinault and Forks
Distance from Seattle: 3-5 hours
Located on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park features some of the most incredible hiking trails near Seattle.
It is a much wetter, muddier area during winter than other hikes on this list, and includes several walks amongst lowland forest and beaches.
It’s a 3-5 hour drive from Seattle, depending on exactly where you go, so you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city – but are still within a day’s drive if necessary.
Kalaloch Beach is located in the Olympic National Park and is one of the only beaches in this area that actively welcomes dogs (as long as they are kept on a leash, of course!)
Spanning across several miles, this coastal beach offers stunning views of the shoreline in winter, especially as rays from the low-hanging winter sun reflect off the water.
Kalaloch Beach remains relatively snow-free during the winter months so you can take a walk along the sandy beach during low tide.
It’s also far enough from the city where you can bask in its serenity.
The remote winter beach is enjoyable all year round especially if you have high-quality gear to equip yourself for wetter weather and storm watching.
Grab your camera and take a trip to the Tree of Life (also referred to as “Tree Root Cave”). You do not want to miss this tree!
It’s an extraordinary tree that has viewable roots but is not planted in soil. It is located just north of Kalaloch Lodge, a few minutes walk.
This list provides you with several hiking options for the winter time – all with varying distances from the center of the city.
There were so many other places I could have included on this list, but these are some of my absolute favorite places.
Well, there you have it, all the best winter hikes near Seattle. Hopefully that helped, but if you want more info, we found you a video below.
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