Grey weather got you down? Although The New York Times recently suggested that Seattle’s gloomy winters stir creativity, the city’s relatively temperate winter months also provide for decent hiking conditions. So don’t let dreams of sunny summers prevent you from getting outside: There are some great, moderate day hikes less than an hour’s drive from Seattle.
- Rattlesnake Ledge: This 4-mile roundtrip hike is a popular one, especially during peak season. And there’s a reason why – with 1200-feet of elevation gain, you get a good workout without pushing yourself too hard. You may find some snow at the top, but the outstanding views of the Issaquah Alps are worth the sweat and mud. Celebrate your workout with a post-hike break at serene Rattlesnake Lake at the bottom of the trail.
- Little Si: Mount Si’s smaller and more approachable cousin will take you 1200-feet up through dense forest and provide you with beautiful views of the Snoqualmie River Valley. Don’t forget your Discover Pass!
- Twin Falls Natural Area: This hiking area is not too steep or strenuous (only 500 feet of elevation gain), so it’s more appropriate for a family outing. It doesn’t provide spectacular views of mountain ranges, but you will hike in dense, mossy forest alongside a stream and view two impressive waterfalls. The falls and greenery make up for the occasional sounds of traffic from nearby 1-90. Discover Pass required.
- Coal Creek Park: Wear clothes you don’t mind getting muddy and come for the history lesson. It’s hard to believe that this mossy forest was home to a bustling coal mill town in the late 1800s. It may not be the most challenging or scenic trail in the area, but you will find some fascinating remnants of the old mill town equipment on this 6-mile roundtrip walk.
- Licorice Fern Trail (Cougar Mountain): You may very well be the only other hiker on this hidden, winding trail that leisurely takes you through mossy old-growth forest, fields of ferns, and to a waterfall.
- Poo Poo Point - Chirico Trail: If you are in the mood for a workout, hike this steep 4-mile out-and-back hike, which will take you 1700-feet up Tiger Mountain in under two miles. The views of the Issaquah Alps – from the north and the south – make the climb worthwhile, especially since you chance sharing the view with nearby paragliders.