If you love to hike, camp, or do any other outdoor activities, you’re likely aware of Washington states reputation. If you don’t know, the state is home to what are considered to be some of the best hiking trails in the world.
From the famous rugged coastline in the West to the high desert areas in the East, there is a huge variety of scenic hikes, each offering its own unique landscapes, views, and elevation levels. You’ll also find the full range of difficulty levels throughout the state, and it's the northernmost section of the Pacific Crest Trail — some fairly easy, some quite the undertaking for even the avid hiker.
No matter where you’ve hiked in the past or what your personal preferences are, you can be sure that you’ll find one of your new favorite trails in the Pacific Northwest corner of the United States.
Narrowing down this list took some time — there are approximately 1,000 hiking trails in the entire state! Below you’ll find what we think are the absolute best Washington hiking trails (and campgrounds) in Washington State. Each entry on this list is in close proximity to campsites that are perfectly compatible with your adventure van.
Our Top 12 Washington Hiking Trails
Rattlesnake Ledge Trail
This popular out-and-back trail is right near North Bend, Washington. For reference, it’s about a half-hour drive from downtown Bellevue and an hour's drive from Seattle. Rattlesnake Ledge Trail isn’t a hotbed of rattlesnakes but rather earned its name through its fields of tall grasses. It’s said that on a windy day, the grass mimics the sound of rattlesnakes.
This trail is considered by most to be moderate in difficulty, with a length of 5.3 miles and an elevation gain of 1,459 ft. It will probably take you around three hours to complete. You will likely encounter other hikers on the trail, especially in the warmer months.
On this hike, you will find amazing panoramic views of Mount Si and Mount Washington at the top of Rattlesnake ridge. Many people flock to this trail for the beautiful park and lake located at the base of the trail. In the summer, you’ll see tons of kayakers and swimmers in the water — you may want to take a dip yourself.
Located about 20 minutes west of Rattlesnake ledge on I-90, you can stay the night at Blue Sky RV park. All parking sites are level, paved, and offer full hook-up. You’ll also find restrooms, showers, and laundry at this family and pet-friendly property.
When the cool night breeze hits the camp, you will want to warm up with a classic campfire. Although this RV park does not offer fire pits, you can bring a portable fire pit with you in your van.
Skyline Trail Loop
In the vicinity of Paradise Inn, Washington, you’ll find this loop trail in Mount Rainier National Park. This is considered a challenging hike, so be prepared for a good workout. The 6.2-mile loop reaches 6,800 feet and will take you just short of four hours to complete. Skyline Trail Loop is visited by most from July to October, and it, unfortunately, does not allow dogs.
You’ll find a lot of variety on this hike — rivers, wildflowers, waterfalls, and incredible views of glaciers and the surrounding area. If you’re interested in seeing the lupine blooms, schedule your trip between June and August.
The Skyline Trail Loop can be completed in either direction, and many opt not to go the full loop. When you reach Panorama Point, you can turn around and backtrack to the start of the trail.
Near Mount Rainier National Park, you’ll find Cougar Rock Campground. It’s made up of 173 sites with picnic tables, fire platforms, flush toilets, water, and a dump station located on the property. Nearby you can also check out Narada Falls, a beautiful 159 feet high horsetail waterfall that attracts visitors from all over. If you’re hungry after your hike, drive down to nearby restaurants like the Mt. Rainier Paradise Inn Restaurant or the National Park Inn Dining Room.
Lake 22 Trail
Lake 22 Trail is located in Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, just outside of Granite Falls, Washington. It’s a 6.8 mi, moderate difficulty loop that reaches 1,473 feet and takes three and a half hours to finish. This area attracts a lot of hikers, runners, and snowshoers, so be prepared to share the trail. Peak visiting time is May through November.
This trail winds through old-growth forests alongside 22 Creek. You’ll cross a few small foot bridges, encounter a waterfall, and eventually do a lap around the beautiful alpine lake. The best part of this hike are the stunning views of Mount Pilchuck.
Head over to Gold Basin Campground if you’re looking for a place to park your adventure van. This property has a lot of open space and 99 reservable sites offering firewood, drinking water, showers, and flush toilets. Many visitors take advantage of the nearby North Cascades National Park, which is considered one of the most spectacular areas of the Pacific Northwest.
Snow Lake Trail
Near Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, you’ll find this moderately difficult 7.2-mile-long out-and-back trail. It’s a popular spot for backpacking and camping, so you likely won’t be alone on your journey, and its most popular visiting times are July through October.
On the way to the picturesque Snow Lake, you’ll climb between South Fork Snoqualmie River and Snoqualmie Mountain, pass several cool waterfalls, and navigate a few steep switchbacks. At the top of the trail, you’ll see Chair Peak in the background of the lake.
Camp out at Issaquah Village RV Park when you’re done with the hike. Its 56 sites come with full hook-ups, free Wi-Fi, restrooms, showers, and laundry. If you want to keep exploring the surrounding area, you can check out the charming downtown Issaquah area.
You’ll also only be a 15-minute drive from Seattle! However, keep in mind that due to the stellar mountain views and proximity to Seattle, summer weekends can get fairly crowded.
Mount Storm King
This demanding, 4.1-mile-long out-and-back trail is located in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles, Washington. You’ll reach over 2,000 feet during the three-and-a-half-hour journey. Visit Mount Storm King between April and October for optimal weather.
The trails are very steep and rocky on Mount Storm King and can be dangerous at times, especially in icy conditions. The park does not maintain the trail after a certain point, so use extra caution beyond the marker. If you’re up for the challenge, it does pay off, though — the view at the top of the hike, overlooking Lake Crescent, is jaw-dropping.
Additionally, due to the difficult conditions of this hike, you might want to bring special gear with you. Hiking shoes with spikes or hiking poles are a great option, but they can sometimes be bulky to store in your van. Investing in designated storage space for your bulkier items will make your adventure van feel more organized and spacious.
Crescent Beach Park offers full and partial hook-up sites if you’re looking for a place to stay nearby. You’ll have a private fire pit and access to picnic tables, volleyball, and horseshoe pits. There’s also a private beach nearby — if you buy a day pass, you can hit it up for surfing and water sports.
Twin Falls Trail
Twin Falls Trail is on the outskirts of Olallie State Park, near North Bend, Washington. This short, 2.5 miles out-and-back hike doesn’t break 1,000 feet and will take you about an hour and a half to tackle. Pups are welcome but bring a leash.
This is an excellent option for families for its easy access from I-90 and mid-level difficulty. You’ll weave through a dense forest, passing a series of huge waterfalls before arriving at a bridge that crosses Twin Falls Canyon. Here you’ll have some great views, and this is where most turn around to head back.
Trailer Inns RV Park of Bellevue is a short drive away if you need a spot for your adventure van. Sites with full hook-ups are available, and you’ll have access to their laundry facility, bathrooms and showers, and heated indoor pool.
You’re well within reach of Seattle here, so spend a day at Woodland Park Zoo, the Seattle Aquarium, Pike Place Market, and so much more.
Tolmie Peak Trail
Another hike within Mount Rainier National Park, Tolmie Peak Trail, is a popular out-and-back trail near Carbonado, Washington. The 5.6 miles length will take over three hours to finish, and you should try to go sometime between June and October. To avoid crowds, plan to hike around sunrise or sunset or on weekdays.
Widely considered to be a top contender for the best trail in the state, Tolmie Peak Trail will take you past scenic lakes and through subalpine meadows until you reach the famous fire tower lookout. This is definitely a trail you’re going to want to reach the end of!
South Prairie Creek RV Park is nearby. Here, you’ll find plenty of full hook-up sites, bathrooms, showers, and laundry. If you need some provisions like snacks, groceries, or propane, the Grubstake Convenience Store is located at the RV park entrance.
You are just on the outskirts of Tacoma here which hosts exciting events throughout the year.
Maple Pass Trail
In Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, near Stehekin, Washington, you’ll find Maple Pass Trail. It’s a challenging loop that spans 7.2 miles and reaches nearly 6,600 feet in elevation. It’s best to visit this site from June through October.
Along this route, you’ll encounter beautiful foliage (especially in the fall) and beautiful views of the Northern Cascades and Lake Ann. The switchbacks on the descent down from Maple Pass are known to be quite challenging, so be prepared.
Lakeshore RV Park is located in Chelan, Washington, if you’re looking for a place to camp out. There are 163 full hook-up sites with water, electric, and sewer. You’ll also have access to a dump station, restrooms, and coin-operated showers.
For those that are into wine, you can check out one of the vineyards, wineries, and cellars in the vicinity — Lake Chelan Winery, Karma Vineyards, Nefarious Cellars, and Tsillan Cellars are all excellent options.
About an hour outside of Seattle near Gold Bar, Washington, there’s a great family-friendly hike called Woody Trail. This out-and-back style hike is inside Wallace Falls State Park and comes in at just under five miles, with an elevation gain of 1,489 ft.
The trail winds its way through emerald vegetation alongside the Wallace River, then up to a set of stunning waterfalls where you’ll encounter stunning views. The closer you get to the last waterfall (Upper Falls), the more substantial the climb becomes, so feel free to turn around if you’re hiking with children or inexperienced climbers.
You can stay the night in the area at Cascades RV Resort. It offers 45’ pull-thru sites, 45’ back-in sites, complimentary internet, showers, propane fire pits, and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. Nearby you’ll find some of the best white-water rafting and skiing in the entire state.
Colchuck Lake Trail
This is another trail located inside Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, near Leavenworth, Washington. This is definitely a tougher hike but very rewarding. It’s an eight miles long out-and-back that reaches an elevation of 5,580 ft. It’s best to come here from May to October, and you’ll have to leave the pups at home.
This hike boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area of Washington State. The trail can be quite rocky at points, with a couple of switchbacks, but once you reach Colchuck Lake, you’ll see award-worthy views with Dragontail Peak and Colchuck Peak towering in the background.
You can find Alpine RV Park & Campgrounds in Leavenworth after a long day on the trail. Full hook-up sites are available, and you’ll have access to internet, showers, restrooms, and fire rings.
Leavenworth is a cool Bavarian-styled village where you’ll find a whole host of German food and beer. Local shops include hand-blown glass, candy, handmade wooden puzzles and toys. Drive down in the summer for a taste of local theater, or you can also check out the Nutcracker Museum all year round.
Steamboat Rock Trail
This short four-mile loop trail near Electric City, Washington, is moderate in difficulty and is a really popular sport for birdwatching, hiking, and running. Peak visiting times for this hike are March through October, and you can bring your dog along if they have a leash.
This hike offers some alternative scenery to what you’d typically find in the western half of the state. Steamboat Rock State Park is located in the Eastern desert in Washington and sits atop a breathtaking 800 feet high basalt butte jetting out into the waters of Banks Lake. This trail can be a bit steep, but you’ll be surrounded by panoramic views.
Camp out at Kings Court RV Park after a long day of hiking. They have 24 full-service RV spaces along with laundry, showers, and restrooms. For further exploring, check out the nearby Grand Coulee Dam — it’s a feat of modern engineering.
Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail
Last but not least, the Sol Duc Nature Trail in Olympic National Park is a short (1.6 mi), easy trail that’s perfect for a relaxing stroll through nature. This hike is out-and-back style and features very little elevation gain the entire way. You can find it near Joyce, Washington, in the Northwestern corner of the state.
This easy hike meanders through lush, old-growth forests until it reaches a picturesque three-prong waterfall. The waterfall is fed by the Sol Duc river and captures rainbows in its spray. There’s also a wooden platform at the end of the trail. It’s the perfect place to take a break and snap some pictures.
Once you are finished with your hike, drive your van over to the Sol Duc Hot Springs RV & Campground. This iconic campsite offers seventeen sites that have access to nearby restrooms, fire rings, BBQ grills, and firewood.
However, the main attraction of this park are the hot springs located on site. Soothe your sore muscles in the warm water, surrounded by stunning foliage.
Time to Hike!
Now that you have a list of the most scenic and exciting hikes in Washington state, all that’s left to do is pack up your adventure van and hit the road! If you are squeezing in a trip over the weekend, one or two hikes might be all you have time for.
However, if you have a few days or extended vacation to use, try to hit as many hikes as possible. Each journey will give you a totally unique experience and leave you wanting more.