Washington State is the Pacific Northwest’s emerald jewel and outdoor lover’s dream! From the snow-capped Cascade Mountains with its many ski resorts to the hiking trails of the lush forests, to the Pacific Ocean and all the water activities it offers, there is a little something for everyone.
Let’s talk about those hiking trails for a bit. According to this guide, there are over 3,000 hiking trails in Washington! But, I want to concentrate on only 8 of them because they offer some of the most spectacular sunset views you’ll ever see!
1. Cape Flattery Trail
This easy 1.2 mile long trail near Sekiu, WA, is famous for its gorgeous sunset views. It lies in the Cape Flattery Nature Preserve and is maintained by the Makah Indian Nation. It’s a favorite place to see wildlife like sea lions, seabirds, sea otters and even whales! About 3/4 of a mile along the trail is a viewing platform where you can see the Cape Flattery lighthouse on Tatoosh Island. It’s often foggy in the area, so check weather reports before you go. More information can be found here.
2. Discovery Historic Loop, Vancouver
This 2.3 mile loop is a very popular trail in Vancouver, WA. This easy, paved urban trail is popular with hikers, bikers, rollerbladers and runners. It starts on E. Evergreen and makes its winding way through Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Officers Row, and downtown Vancouver. It joins up with the Waterfront Renaissance Trail at Vancouver Landing. Find more information here.
3. Iller Creek Conservation Area Trail
This trail near Spokane is an easy, but long hike if you hike all 5 miles. The Rocks of Sharon, about halfway along the trail, are great for rock climbing, too! Wildflowers put on a spectacular show from late March through mid-July and, if hiking in the Summer months, shade from the dense forest will keep you nice and cool. Visit this website to learn more.
4. Artist Point
This trail can be found at the very end of the Mount Baker highway, about 55 miles East of Bellingham. It’s aptly named for the magnificent views of Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, Coleman Pinnacle, and the Ptarmigan Ridge. This 5 mile long trail is a popular snow-shoeing trail in the Winter. More information can be found here,
5. Shi-Shi Beach, Olympic Peninsula
This moderate-difficulty 6.7 mile long trail is located near Neah Bay. If you don’t feel like hiking the entire trail, a relatively short 2 mile hike will get you to Shi Shi beach where you can camp right on the beach! Click here for more information.
6. Sunrise Peak Trail
Even though it’s called Sunrise Peak, the sunsets here are amazing! This trail, located near Stevenson, is most popular from June through October. It’s popular with dirt bikers and the trail can get rutted and is steep in places. It’s recommended you bring hiking poles for those reasons. Don’t let the presence of the dirt bikes turn you off. For putting up with that small nuisance, you are rewarded with a 4 mountain view of Mt. Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. More information can be found on this website.
7. Park Butte Lookout Trail
The longest hike on my list at 7.5 miles, is also moderately difficult due to the 2,200 foot gain in altitude you make along the way. But, the fantastic views of the Northern Cascades, the flowing fields of wildflowers and beautiful waterfalls make the effort all worthwhile. Find more information about this incredible trail here.
8. Snow Lake, Mount Rainier National Park
This 2.5 mile round trip hike affords incredible views of Mt. Rainier on clear days. The trail takes you up and down a series of low ridges past Bench Lake and Snow Lake, which usually remain covered in snow until late July. The trail can also be very muddy until then, too. In mid-Summer, wildflowers explode with color! In the Fall, huckleberries and mountain ash brighten the landscape with their colorful leaves. You might even see a black bear along the way. Click on this link for additional information.