11 Incredible Beginner Friendly Hikes In Washington

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One of the questions I get asked most frequently is about my recommendations for Washington hikes. In particular, which trails I suggest for beginners and people just getting into hiking. So I have put together this blog post featuring the 11 BEST beginner-friendly hikes here in Washington state!

In this article, you will also find tips on how to plan hiking adventures, what to wear and pack on Washington hikes, and some handy trail etiquette tips.

Beginner Hikes In Washington

Below I am sharing tips on how to plan hiking adventures in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington State. I am also featuring 11 of the best hiking trails for beginners. But keep in mind that these hiking trails are suitable for more experienced adventurers too! Then towards the end of this blog post, you will find some handy packing tips for your next hike. So leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Planning Tips For Beginner Hikers

One of the most common misconceptions is that all beginner hikers only want to do super easy trails. This isn’t true! A lot of beginner hikers have told me that they often want to be challenged but would prefer to stick to well-maintained trails and hikes where they won’t be the only ones out there (in case they get into any difficulties).

Keeping that in mind, the following 11 beginner friendly Washington hikes range from easy to moderate, short to long, and are spread out across the state of Washington. All of these trails are relatively popular, well-maintained, mostly accessible via paved roads, and have facilities such as vault toilets at the trailheads.

Before You Head Out Hiking For The First Time You Will Need To:

  • Research your trail (use this guide plus other resources such as the Washington Trails Association).
  • Factor in overall distance, elevation gain, current conditions and your fitness when selecting a trail.
  • Start easy and gradually work your way up to longer and more challenging trails.
  • Be sure to wear and pack the appropriate items (more on this further down the blog post).
  • Print a physical map of the trail and/or download offline maps (I use the Gaia GPS app, click here to get 20% off a Gaia GPS membership)
  • Tell someone your plans before heading off (where you are going and when you will be back).

Washington Hikes #1: Barclay Lake


Barclay Lake trail is short in length, not very steep, and has an easy-to-follow route – making it the perfect beginner-friendly Washington hike! It’s also a great one to access in late spring/early summer because the trail becomes snow-free before a lot of other hikes are higher in the mountains. Those living on the northern side of Seattle can also make this an after-work hike in the middle of summer when the days are longer!

Insider’s tip – For those newer to the outdoors who are looking to test their backpacking skills and gear, Barclay Lake is also the perfect place to do it. There are a few designated areas close to the lake where you can set up for the night, and if for some reason things didn’t go to plan, it’s only a short walk back to the car.

  • Location: Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest
  • Native lands: Coast Salish, Tulalip
  • Distance: 4.4 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Pass/permit: Northwest Forest Pass
  • Dogs: Yes, leashed
  • Road access: Dirt forest road but 4×4 is not usually required



Marymere Falls is a great hike for those wanting to stretch their legs after driving around the Olympic Peninsula. At less than two miles roundtrip, it winds through the forest and will you cross a beautiful stream on the way to the falls. Be sure to check out Lake Crescent and the picturesque Storm King Ranger Station while you are in the area.

  • Location: Olympic National Park
  • Native lands: Klallam
  • Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Pass/permit: National Parks Pass
  • Dogs: Not allowed
  • Road access: Paved road, 2×2 friendly


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