My husband and I got away for our 20th Anniversary to Seattle. When we arrived at our Airbnb, we found this great guide for exploring the city: Best Easy Day Hikes Seattle. As a way to make sure I stayed active on the trip, we decided to try out a different one each day. This helped us explore the city of Seattle in a unique way. Here are five beautiful Seattle day hikes for beginners.
1. Alki Beach Trail
If you're looking for a beautiful view of the Seattle skyline mixed with beautiful beaches and a touch of history, the Alki trail is a great option.
We parked free on the street near Salty's in West Seattle and walked down the paved trail to Alki Beach. It is probably the longest of the trails that we walked, but the views were stunning. You start off with an incredible panorama of the city skyline and as you head towards Alki Beach, you're looking at the Olympic Mountains with the Puget Sound sprinkled with a variety of boats heading in and out of the port.
At the Alki Beach end of the trail there are lots of cute shops and restaurants. Since the trail is 2.5 miles, taking a break for dinner was a great option to rest. We ate at Pegasus Pizza and Pasta which was amazing.
After dinner it was a little chilly, so we grabbed a cup of coffee for our sunset stroll back to the car. The only mistake there is that the bathrooms are few and far between! But the views were worth it.
Bike and kayak rentals are all over the place, so if you're looking to experience the trail and views another way, you have lots of options.
2. Elliot Bay Trail
Elliot Bay is the body of water right on the west coast of downtown Seattle. As you sail north, you cross over into the Puget Sound. So if you're looking for a fun way to get to downtown Seattle without driving, this trail is a really beautiful way to do just that, and get a few steps in along the way.
I really love all of the trails in Seattle. They are wide and paved and make it easy for people to get outside and enjoy the beautiful shoreline. As you walk down the Elliot Bay Trail, you'll see several beautiful outlooks and benches to stop and enjoy the view.
Just before you enter the city, you'll find the Olympic Sculpture Park. This is an extension of the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), and a beautiful free exhibit to enjoy. My favorite was Echo, a 46 foot sculpture of a young girl with her eyes closed facing Mount Olympus. It was stunning from every angle.
If you're up for a little more adventure, the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass are only a couple of blocks up Broad Street. You could even catch the Monorail to take you all the way to the center of downtown.
It "rained" on us throughout most of this hike, but the rain in Seattle was more like an intermittent sprinkle. I enjoyed walking around without an umbrella without any intense frizz problems like I expected!
3. Burke-Gillman Trail
On the east side of the city, Lake Union is the natural freshwater lake that is bustling with recreational boaters, seaplanes, and sailboat races. This was one of the shortest trails we walked, but it offered a great glimpse into another side of the city.
If you don't want to hike the trail, Gas Works Park is a great destination by itself. You get a great view of the skyline as well as get to explore some fascinating historical Gas Works and watch the boat activity. On a clear day you can also see Mt. Rainier and the Olympic Mountains.
We followed the trail from Gas Works Park to Fremont Park. This trail follows the Lake Washington Ship Canal that connects Lake Union to the Puget Sound. If this trail made it all the way down to the Ballard Locks, that would have been really cool, but it is just too far away.
We walked down the trail and then headed back to our car down 34th street where there are some really interesting restaurants and bars. We ended up eating at Pablo y Pablo which was incredible.
One really interesting aspect of this trail is that it walks past the Google Seattle campus. It looks like an incredible place to work!
4. Snoqualmie Falls Trail
If you want to get outside of the city, an hour's drive will lead you to a stunning waterfall hike through a beautiful forest. Hiker beware: the way down isn't too bad, but the way up takes some hiking stamina.
This waterfall became famous from the show Twin Peaks, but this 270 foot waterfall is an incredible sight. Parking and admission into the park is free, so that also makes it a great place to visit.
When we made it to the lower observation deck, we were rewarded with an incredible view, and at the same time hit with the realization that it was a long way back up the hill! There is a parking lot at the bottom of the hill if you want to catch the view without losing your breath.
In order to make it back up the trail, we took it slow and paused frequently to take pictures. It was a great way to catch our breath and make it back to the top. Just watch out for those Washington slugs! Yuck!
After our strenuous hike up the hill, we headed downtown to grab some lunch. The Snoqualmie Downtown is a great place for cute cafes and antique shopping. I loved looking through all of the shops down Railroad Ave. You could also visit the Northwest Railroad Museum to catch a little history.
We ate at the Black Dog Arts Cafe and Theater which offered an eclectic environment filled with local art, fresh baked bread, and cozy seating. It was a great place to rest after a long hike!
5. Arboretum Waterfront Trail
We attempted to go on the Arboretum Waterfront Trail, but with all of the recent rain, the entry to the path was flooded.
Although I truly hope this path gets restored, the good news is that the Washington Park Arboretum and Seattle Japanese Gardens are just around the corner, so the hike was saved.
The Washington Park Arboretum is always free. There are some beautiful paths to stroll along. The path from the main gate to the Seattle Japanese Gardens is about a mile in distance, so it makes a great day hike.
The Japanese garden does have an entry fee, but it is worth it.
Any of these hikes offer a great way to get outdoors and enjoy taking in the sights and unique living opportunities Seattle has to offer. I loved that they gave a novice hiker like myself many beautiful paths to enjoy without killing myself!
Have you tried any of these Seattle day hikes? What was your favorite?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.