As we near the end of Summer and want to make the most of God’s beautiful Pacific Northwest, the blog team solicited some outdoor recommendations from a few TCS folks. Take a look and let us know if you undertake any of these adventures! There are ideas for all levels of skill.
Julia de Boer
The Sammamish River Trail is fantastic for biking. It’s much less busy than the Burke Gilman, and near Redmond there is a space where you can break on the river bank. The kids I cared for and I have biked from Woodinville as far as Marymoor Park.
The East Baker Lake trail is worth mentioning. It would be a great place for families looking to maybe do an easy backpacking adventure. The Noisy Creek campground is about 4/4.5 miles in from the north trailhead (Baker River trailhead) and has fantastic views of Mt. Baker. The hike in is very easy: minimal elevation gain on fantastically smooth, well maintained trail. For the runners out there, this trail is used for the long-standing Baker Lake 25k & 50k races and was some of the most enjoyable trail running I have done in a long time (hard to beat 13.5 butter miles). Nearby are also the Anderson & Watson lakes, which would provide another easy backpack option with big scenery payoff for low mileage investment.
Twin Falls is a good one for those with little ones since it’s short but has pretty views. I did this one with Sam Kelly and she hoisted Aiden around in a pack like a champ!
For beautiful panoramic views of Baker, Rainier and the Olympics, I’d recommend Mt. Pilchuck right off of the Mountain Loop Highway. The last time I hiked this trail was on my 27th birthday; I love that the drive to the trailhead isn’t too far from Seattle.
Easily one of my favorite hikes, Skyline Divide offers the most incredible views of Mt. Shuksan and Mt. Baker. This is a longer trail, so plan to make a day of it; thankfully there’s good variety here – fields of wildflowers, clear viewpoints, a summit scramble, even, if you wish.
Lastly for an evening trail run or a shorter yet still challenging hike, I’d recommend Oyster Dome. This hike has a beautiful view of the Samish Bay and the Olympics. I’d recommend doing it as a sunset hike (with headlamps for the descent!). I did this as a solo trail run a few weeks ago!
Denny Creek – easy hike for even young kids, beautiful area for a picnic at the river, water to cool off, and mileage can easily be added as desired! I have gone swimming in the icy waters below Keekwulee Falls (one of the sites past the creek) and it was marvelous on a hot day!
Skyline Trail, Mt. Rainier – this is more of a drive, a steeper hike, and I would recommend it for a weekday (weekends are busy – but for a reason!). This trail is one of my all time favorites. It includes breathtaking meadows, waterfalls, stunning viewpoints of the surrounding mountain ranges, and will absolutely not disappoint. There may be some snow remaining even in summer so check trip reports and bring appropriate shoes (and a change of socks!). Rainier Base Camp Bar & Grill is a great spot to hit for dinner on your way home if you’re looking to fill your belly. There are also cabins and campsites within the park if you want to stay a little longer.
River float – there are various rivers to float our area and I would highly recommend trying one out for a fun weekend adventure. One is the Snoqualmie River where you can start at Plum Boat Launch and end at Fall City Park for a 3.3 mile run. There are lots of river float options out there and a quick Internet search will show you many more routes or rivers you can try! Pack a cooler, some snacks, and sunscreen and float your cares away 🙂