The Pacific Northwest is bursting with amazing places to hike with kids. Whether you’re starting near Seattle, Portland, or have a road trip planned throughout the region, you won’t run out of exciting places to explore with these hikes near Seattle and Portland for families. One amazing thing about hiking in Washington and Oregon with kids is the variety of hiking experiences you’ll find. From the mountains of Olympic National Park to dramatic waterfalls like Multnomah Falls, and even the tide pools along the coast, your family will love the special features you’ll find here. In fact, there are many places to explore the great outdoors near major cities like Seattle and Portland. If you have a family adventure planned in the Pacific Northwest, check out this list featuring the Best Hikes Near Seattle And Portland For Families, grouped by region for easy planning!
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The Best Hikes in Washington for Families
If you’re seeking some of the best hikes in Washington with kids, this is the list for you! Not only have we included some great family hikes near Seattle, but we’ve also included some easy hikes in Central Washington for families too. Where you are looking for short easy hikes near Seattle with kids or the best day hikes near Seattle for families, this list has you covered!
The Best Hikes West of Seattle for Families
Because the Olympic Peninsula is so large, your family could spend multiple days driving through, hiking, and still miss a few of the best hikes near Seattle. As such, we have compiled a few of our favorites to help you plan. If you drive from Seattle, you can access the peninsula from the north or south. For those who choose to access from the north, Port Angeles makes a great home base for short easy hikes near Seattle with kids. Alternatively, if you drive around and enter through the south, Olympia also makes a good entry point for hiking with kids near Seattle.
Olympic National Park Trails near Port Angeles
Hurricane Ridge, just 17 miles from Port Angeles, offers multiple family hikes near Seattle that are adventurous, yet accessible for kids. This includes the popular hike to Hurricane Hill. When you make it to the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Range, and Vancouver Island. While this 3.4 mile out and back trail is paved, it may be covered with snow (unless hiking July-September). Finally, be sure to spend some time at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center to learn more about Olympic’s mountains.
Families looking for beautiful hikes for kids near Seattle will adore Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail. At the end of this 1.6 mile out and back hike is a gorgeous waterfall. Not only is the endpoint beautiful, but all along the way you’ll enjoy wide and well-maintained trails through lush rainforest with tall ferns and scenic moss. Even families with younger kids will love this accessible hike, located within Olympic National Park. Because this is such a popular hike, plan to arrive early to find a parking spot before embarking on one of the best short easy hikes near Seattle for families.
Lake Crescent is a gorgeous landmark within Olympic National Park. To soak in its beauty, the Moments in Time Trail is a perfect choice. When you hike this 0.7-mile loop trail, take your time and let the kids wade in the lake or climb the rocks and trees. Looking for a nearby hike to add to the fun? Try Marymere Falls Trail. Speaking of exploring further, be sure to stop by Granny’s Cafe near this hike for a delicious meal or dessert! Certainly, this part of Olympic National Park offers some of the best hikes in Washington with kids!
Olympic National Park Trails near Olympia
While exploring the southeastern part of Olympic National Park, visit the Staircase area. Here, look up in awe at the towering trees. For family hikes near Seattle in this area, Staircase Rapids Loop is a perfect choice. A 2.1-mile loop trail, it features a lake, moss-draped trees, and a suspension bridge. This makes a fun crossing point over the rapids for kids. If you’d like to keep going, there are additional spurs to add to the challenge when hiking with kids near Seattle.
Within the Olympic National Forest, you’ll find the Lower Lena Lake Trail. While this trail is a little longer at 7 miles, it is out and back and is one of the best day hikes near Seattle for families. However, if little legs get tired, you could turn back. If you continue to the end of this moderate trail, though, you’ll be rewarded with views at the lookout rock of gorgeous Lake Lena. This is the largest backcountry lake on the Olympic Peninsula. While hiking with kids near Seattle here, be sure to catch a peek of the lake through the trees and you’ll cross over a couple of interesting bridges. If you’re searching for the best hiking near Seattle with kids, you’ll surely find something spectacular within the Olympic National Forest!
Olympic National Park Tidal Trails
Some of the most unique hiking trails in Washington for families reside along the beach within Olympic National Park! Perhaps the most popular hike for kids near Seattle, Hole in the Wall from Rialto Beach is 3.3 miles out and back. Here, kids will love discovering rocks and tidal creatures. Plan to do this kid-friendly hike during low tide. Once you reach the end, continue through the rock hole and climb among the boulders to the tide pools. Here you can see sea urchins, snails, and starfish while enjoying one of the best hikes near Seattle for families!
Another fantastic place to explore tide pools is Salt Creek Recreation Area. While this is a campground and picnic area, the beach access is the perfect place to discover marine animals. In fact, this is one of the best tide pool spots on the Olympic Peninsula. For this reason, check the tide schedule to ensure a visit during low tide. In addition to the rocky places, ideal for marine exploration, there’s also a large beach for kids to explore. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a bald eagle flying overhead.
While there are many other hikes for kids near Seattle to check out on the Olympic Peninsula, don’t miss the Hoh Rainforest. Here, you’ll discover one of the best examples of temperate rainforest in the United States. Plan to hike at least a portion of the Hoh River Trail. While the trail is over 17 miles long, it’s an out and back trail, so you can turn around anytime. Certainly, it is one of the best day hikes near Seattle! One destination along the trail that families love is the river access (about 2 miles round trip). Finally, if you have more time, consider Hall of Mosses.
The Best Hikes East of Seattle for Families
While the Olympic Peninsula is a true gem, Washington boasts many other beautiful hikes for kids near Seattle. Mount Rainier is an iconic spot with lakes and several great hiking trails in Washington for families. Additionally, families love Central and East Washington for outdoor adventures. While it’s impossible to cover all the best hikes in Washington state for families, here are a few of our favorites as you explore this gorgeous area!
Mount Rainier National Park Trails
Within Mount Rainier National Park are meadows filled with wildflowers, rivers, and of course Mount Rainier, an active volcano. There are enough family hikes here to spend several days exploring. To start, Reflection Lake to Narada Falls Trail is a perfect family hike at 3.6 miles out and back. Like many locations in this area, arrive at the trailhead early to find a parking spot and to beat the crowds. Plus, mornings are best to see the reflection of Mount Rainier on Reflection Lake. While you can’t swim in Reflection Lake, you can wade in nearby Louise Lake.
Nearby is Nisqually Vista Trail, another beautiful family hike near Seattle that is rated easy and even shorter at 1.1 miles. Also, this paved trail is a loop that features picturesque wildflowers. Plus, an overlook at the halfway point showcases views of the receding Nisqually Glacier and the valley below. While the path is paved, the beginning does feature a stone staircase. Once you climb the stairs, hike counterclockwise to save the best views for last. However, whichever way you walk, you can’t go wrong.
Central Washington Hikes near Seattle
For a beautiful hike along a clear river, check out the Icicle Gorge Trail. This 4.5-mile hike is an easy loop. Families love this peaceful walk, winding through shady trees, across bridges, and offering several rest spots with mountain views. No to mention, the beautiful waterfall! If you’re looking for a trail with little elevation change, know that this is a perfect option for you. Another bonus of this trail is that it is not far from the adorable Bavarian town of Leavenworth, which is worthy of a weekend trip in itself.
Then, the Franklin Falls Trail is less than an hour from Seattle. It is a two-mile easy trail that ends at Franklin Falls. As you hike your senses will come alive. Be sure to breathe deep and enjoy the scent of the pine trees. Additionally, pause to listen to the babbling of the creek. Along the hike, there are plenty of places to wade in the clear but cold water. Because this trail is easy to access and well-maintained, it is a perfect first hike for young families, however, once you reach the falls, take caution because some of the rocks may be slippery.
Best State Parks near Seattle for Families
For more places to soak in outdoor beauty and embark on some of the best hiking near Seattle for families, we recommend visiting a couple of state parks. The first, Wallace Falls State Park, is just an hour from Seattle. It is one of the most popular outdoor destinations for families near Seattle. Here, there are more than twelve miles of hiking trails along with places to camp and even cabins to rent. Another state park a little further away, but equally beautiful is Lake Wenatchee State Park, where you can swim in the lake, hike the trails, or kayak through the water, just to name a few exciting activities.
The Best Family Hikes in Oregon for Families
You’ll find incredible family-friendly hikes near Portland and along the Oregon coast. If you’re planning a trip to the region, be sure to check out the best things to do in urban Portland, but don’t forget to include time to explore the beautiful outdoors. When you take a short drive to the Oregon coast, discover quaint coastal towns and beaches. Plus, find family-friendly hikes in Oregon that are perfect for a day trip!
Hiking Trails along the Oregon Coast
Ecola State Park is located between the beach towns Seaside and Cannon Beach, making this hiking destination an ideal spot. While there are many places to explore here, one of our favorite trails is Ecola State Park to Indian Beach. Even though this is a longer trail, it’s still moderate and one of the best hikes in Oregon for families. Not only will you reach a perfect northwestern beach at the end, but you’ll catch glimpses of the ocean along the way. As you hike, the terrain will vary from forests with mossy ferns and wildflowers to cliff overlooks of the ocean below. Also, remember this is the Pacific Northwest and the trail may be muddy and slippery!
Additionally, one of the best hikes in Oregon for families is Hug Point Trail. In fact, this hike is short and easy enough for even the youngest hikers. At the end of this 0.7-mile out and back trail is a beautiful waterfall. Before you go, check the tide chart because you could become stranded if not careful when hiking through this area. If you go at low tide, continue hiking past the waterfall and you’ll also find a sea cave. Also be aware that because this is a popular spot, parking can be difficult to find on busy summer days.
Hiking near Portland
Just 30 minutes outside of Portland, you’ll find Multnomah Falls. This magnificent waterfall is one of the most visited natural sites in the Pacific Northwest. When you visit, stop and take in the view of the falls at the bottom. Take pictures here too. Then, continue to the Multnomah Falls Trail, a 2.4 out and back trail to the top of the falls. Know that this trail is rated moderate and is a steady climb to the top. Once you’re up there, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the Columbia River Gorge. Certainly, travelers searching for hiking near Portland with kids will adore this option!
Nearby is another waterfall trail, the Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail. While Multnomah Falls plummets straight to the ground, Wahkeena Falls is a gorgeous tiered waterfall. When you hike this loop trail, you’ll cover 5.1 miles and see the waterfall and Wahkeena Creek. Another waterfall nearby is magical Fairy Falls which can be accessed from nearby Wahkeena Falls Trail. Whichever waterfall you set as your destination, it won’t disappoint, as each offers one of the best kid-friendly hikes near Portland. Finally, if you’re ready for a drive through the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, try the Hood River Fruit Loop and sample from farm stands along the way. Certainly, it is one of the best hikes in Oregon for families.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the Best Hikes in the Pacific Northwest For Families. Whether you are seeking adventure near Seattle, Portland, or in between, you are sure to find beautiful hikes for your family to enjoy. With a variety of terrains, from rainforests to mountains to tide pools, families will adore these hikes in Oregon and Washington. Regardless of which hikes you choose, we know you’ll make a lifetime of memories along the way. Have a great time in Seattle and Portland with kids!
Unless otherwise note, all images within this article are courtesy of and belong to Angie Reedy.
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.
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