By Kate Siber
Right on the kayaker-friendly Puget Sound and just a hop from the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Seattle is famed as a big-city outdoor haven. The best hikes travel through old-growth forest and pay off with views over Washington’s ultragreen landscape, like Mount Si. About 40 miles east of the city, it’s practically a rite of passage for Seattle hikers.
Get Hiking: This popular four-mile hike has a large measure of challenge (3,700 vertical feet of climbing) with an equal payoff (views of Mount Rainier, Seattle, and the Olympics on a clear day). The journey isn’t so bad either: Along the way, hikers pass classic Pacific Northwest conifer and fir forests, streams, and views over the valley.
Après Hike: In nearby North Bend, stop at Boxley’s Place, a renowned jazz club that also serves dinner—try the salmon cakes—accompanied by an impressive wine list.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Photograph by Kurt Swanson