Active City Spotlight: Seattle


Places to Hike

Seattle is a rare big city that has three national parks within a couple hours' drive—Olympic National Park to the west, North Cascades National Park to the northeast and Mount Rainier National Park to the south. All three parks have amazing hiking.

Climbing to the top of Mount Rainier is difficult, but doable if you're an experienced climber. It typically takes a few days. For the less serious, the 5.5-mile Skyline Trail and the less-difficult but scenic Grove of the Patriarchs Trail are worthy alternatives.

At Olympic, explore Hurricane Ridge and go hike at Rialto Beach to see the tidepools abundant with life. The Hoh Rainforest is another must-see place.

North Cascades is less popular than Mount Rainier and Olympic, but has several great hiking opportunities. This includes Cascade Pass, a 4-mile trek with 1,700 feet of elevation gain and spectacular views. If you're in really good shape, continue on the 6-mile trail to the Sahale Glacier—another 4,000 feet of climbing.

A hiker at Olympic National Park.

Other great hikes:

Issaquah: Cougar Mountain Regional Park has 36 miles of popular trails in the 3,000-acre park.

North Bend: Mount Si is a popular trek for hikers of all abilities. The climb totals 4,000 feet and is 4 miles from parking lot to summit.

North Bend: The Twin Falls Trail in Olallie State Park is a 3-mile hike that's highlighted by a stunning waterfall that's part of the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

Stores to Check Out

REI is a national chain and that might be undesirable to some who prefer the local shops, but to Seattleites, REI is a local shop.

One of the flagship stores of the 130-store corporation is in Seattle at 222 Yale Avenue N. Here, you can climb the 65-foot Pinnacle climbing wall, rent outdoor gear, get your bike worked on, attend a variety of outdoor-related classes, and shop for your hiking must-haves.

Other stores to check out:

  • Second Ascent, 5209 Ballard Avenue NW
  • Outdoor Research Retail Store, 2203 1st Avenue S
  • Outdoor Emporium, 1701 4th Avenue S

One Last Tip

It can get a little chilly in Seattle and the hiking-friendly areas nearby, and one store has made a name for itself by catering to the warm-me-up market. Feathered Friends at 119 Yale Avenue is family-owned and specializes in hand-made down garments, sleeping bags, bedding and more.

More: Tips for Easy Long-Distance Travel

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About the Author

Ryan Wood

Ryan Wood is an editor for He enjoys a good ride and loves participating in endurance events throughout the year. Follow him on Google+.
Ryan Wood is an editor for He enjoys a good ride and loves participating in endurance events throughout the year. Follow him on Google+.

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