10 Scenic Northwest Hikes Recommended by Kaiser Permanente Physicians

Like many Washingtonians, Kaiser Permanente Washington physicians love to hike. Hiking is a favorite Pacific Northwest pastime, and a great way to spend time outdoors and get fresh air while also improving your health. So we asked our physicians to recommend some of their favorite Washington hiking trails.

Breathtaking Washington State Hiking Trails

Sometimes hiking can be just what the doctor ordered. Here are ten Washington hikes that allow you to take in the region’s natural beauty and help reach your fitness goals.

1. Snow Lake (Snoqualmie Region)

Snow Lake is Washington’s most used trail in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.  It’s a short and easy hike with minimal elevation gain, clear waters, and scenic peaks.

  • Distance: 7.2 miles (all distances round trip)
  • Elevation Gain: 1800 ft.
  • Highest point: 4400 ft.
  • Physician: Grazia Cinciripini, MD, Ophthalmology

2. Rattlesnake Ledge (Snoqualmie Region)

This hike will lead you to amazing views of the Cedar River watershed, Mount Si, Mount Washington, Rattlesnake and Chester Morse Lake.

  • Distance: 4.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1160 ft.
  • Highest point: 2078 ft.
  • Physician: Nina Greenblatt, MD, Urgent Care

3. Mount Si (Snoqualmie Region)

Mount Si is a very popular trail hiked each year by over 100,000 people. It attracts both beginners and experienced hikers. As soon as you leave the trail-head, switchbacks and climbing begin, but the trail ascends gradually. A somewhat less challenging alternative is the trail to Mount Si’s sister peak, Little Si.

  • Distance: 8.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 3150 ft.
  • Highest point: 3900 ft.
  • Physician: Ronald Yeh, MD, Gastroenterology

Coal Creek Trail4. Coal Creek Trail (Issaquah Alps)

On this trail you will find wooden bridges and waterfalls. This well-traveled trail is great for families, trail runners, and devoted hikers.

  • Distance: 6.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 550 ft.
  • Highest point: 600 ft.
  • Physician: Esther Park, MD, Family Medicine
    “This trail is meandering and full of beautiful streams and foliage. It is very close to my house so that I can go without spending too much time getting there.”

5. Banner Forest (Olympic Peninsula)

Something unique about this forest is its one square mile of old growth forest and pristine wetland. All ages and abilities can enjoy.

  • Distance: 4.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 50 ft.
  • Highest point: 430 ft.
  • Physician: Tamara Jackson, PA-C, Orthopedic Surgery

6. Lake 22 (North Cascades)

Lake 22 lies on the northern shoulder of Mount Pilchuck. The hike to the lake will guarantee and array of rain forests, wetlands, and mountain views.

  • Distance: 5.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1350 ft.
  • Highest point: 2400 ft.
  • Physician:  Christine Terry, PA-C, Care Clinic
    “Lake 22 is excellent for someone wanting a good challenge but not a full day of hiking. It is about three miles one way, with water falls then when make the summit and walk through the doorway it opens up to a clear blue-green lake and a small glacier. It is beautiful, and on a hot summer day the water feels great for a dip.”

7. Cascade Pass (North Cascades)

This hike requires lots of effort to get to the high peaks but you will be rewarded with epic views of nearby valleys, glaciers, mountains, and even wildlife.

  • Distance: 7.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1800 ft.
  • Highest point: 5392 ft.
  • Physician: Terrence Town Clark, DO, Optometry

8. Lake Valhalla (Central Cascades)

Lake Valhalla is hidden under Lichtenberg Mountain and Mount McCausland, north of Stevens Pass. This lake is a great day hike in the summer, fall, or winter.

  • Distance: 7.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1500 ft.
  • Highest point: 5050 ft.
  • Physician: Susan Warwick, MD, OB/GYN

9. Federation Forest State Park (Mount Rainier Area)

This forest is known for its green, mossy old growth trees and miles of level hiking.

  • Distance: 5.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 150 ft.
  • Highest point: 1800 ft.
  • Physician: –Terrence Clark, OD, Optometry
    “The trail at Federation Forest State Park near Greenwater is a non-exertional beauty right next to the white river. It is a fantastic place to find old growth Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar and Hemlock. It is a great example of temperate rain forest and a marvelous place to introduce people to the magnitude and beauty of a mature forest.”

Nisqually National Wildlife Area 10. Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Area (South Sound)

This is a great year-round, wheelchair accessible trail for hikers to watch active wildlife and photograph beautiful views.

  • Distance: 5.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: none
  • Highest point: 10 ft.
  • Physician:  Timothy Scholes, MD, Family Medicine
    “The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to view nature and take a pleasant walk.  There are miles of interpretive trails built for viewing both freshwater and saltwater wildlife. Tons of birds including herons and bald eagles.  The scenery changes depending on the tides.  Some of the best walking areas are more interesting when it is not high tide.  Great panoramic views including Mt. Rainier and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  Bring your camera and binoculars.”

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