A Local’s Guide to Seattle’s Best Trails

5 of Seattle’s Best-Kept Secret Hikes

Like most Seattleites, our office feels most alive when we’re outside: scrambling to the top of a peak, adventuring through a hidden valley, or trekking through Washington’s greenery. We try to avoid crowds and top 10 lists, and prefer to go off the beaten path and take the road less traveled. To celebrate National Trails Day, here are the trails and hikes that changed our life, created memories we’ll never forget, and will always have a special place in our heart.

Takhlakh Lake at Mt. Adams: Kevin Wilhelm, CEO “This trail is my favorite. It’s family friendly, quiet, and has a brilliant combination of forest scenery, a gorgeous lake and Mt. Adam towering overhead. The 5 mile loop has many side trails and short cuts so you can shorten or extend the hike as you like!”

  1. Takhlakh Lake at Mt. Adams: Kevin Wilhelm, CEO

“This trail is my favorite. It’s family friendly, quiet, and has a brilliant combination of forest scenery, a gorgeous lake and Mt. Adam towering overhead. The 5-mile loop has many side trails and short cuts so you can shorten or extend the hike as you like!”

  1. Oyster Dome: Katie Secrist, Consultant 

“This trail is special for many reasons: (1) it was the first hike of my college career and I’d never felt more free, (2) it was the first date I went on with my soul mate and I’d never felt more giddy, and (3) it was the last view I saw before I said “I do” to my husband when he dropped to a knee at the top of the lookout.

Oyster Dome has it all – the drive to get there is gorgeous, the view at the top is breathtaking (overlooks the San Juan Islands), and the trail is part of a network of trails that span the Chuckanut Mountain range so you can make it whatever you want! While the trail is actually quite short, you ascend very quickly, so be sure to pack water and a few snacks to enjoy at the top! Always remember to pack it in, pack it out.”

 

  1. Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin, and Cape Alava Loop: Ruth Lee, Vice President

“It’s so hard to choose so I went with two. For my favorite summer backpacking trip, I recommend Spider Meadow and Phelps Basin in the Central Cascades. This hike is memorable as it was my first overnight backpacking trip. Don’t be fooled by the name – no spiders here! Only a really nice trail that winds across a few small creeks and streams (excitement!) and breaks out into a beautiful rolling meadow. Keep going a little bit further and you’ll hit the Phelps Basin, a perfect place to break camp, where you’ll be joined by wildflowers, a trickle of snow and whistling marmots!

For my favorite coast backpacking trail, I love Cape Alava Loop (Ozette Triangle) in the Olympic Peninsula). One of the more beautiful backpacking trips I’ve been on and the first one where we saw a black bear happily roaming the forest! After a quick hike through the forest, you’ll find yourself hiking along the beach for about 6 miles before hitting Sand Point where you can camp for the night – just make sure you get your permit through the Olympic National Park first, and definitely plan ahead! You’ll want to make sure you time your hike before high tide arrives or you won’t be able to make your destination! Or, if you’re like us and you cut it very close can make for a very adventurous hike! Beautiful evening by the coast with lots of tide pools to explore.”

National Trails Day             

  1. Hurricane Hill: Aniko Knopp, Consultant

“When this scenery is your starting point, what could go wrong? I was just awed by the breathtaking 360-degree views from the Hurricane Hills within the Olympic National Park. In April, this easy hike was extremely rewarding, and windy (I guess the name says it all!) Prepare for some snowy patches along the way and watch out for the countless Chickadees, American Robins and Chipmunks. We were even lucky enough to catch sight of some deer!”

National Trails Day                                        National Trails Day

  1. Van Trump Park and Mildred Point: Petra Barbu, Marketing

“This might be one of the hardest hikes I’ve done, but there’s no better reward than the incredible view at the top. We hiked the trail on one weekend with a friend who was visiting from out of town, and we prepared for a scramble up to the top. The trail is generous and gorgeous, rewarding you at every turn with stunning views on either side, a stunning, thundering waterfall for some cool relief in the middle, and views you can’t beat of Mt. Rainier and fields of wildflowers once you approach Mildred Point. Because it’s a more demanding hike, it’s also practically empty, offering peaceful vistas that seem like they were made just for you. It’s an incredible feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction to reach the top.”