After years of trekking with the kids, we are sharing the best hiking trails in Washington for kids. Included are notes about each trail, drive time from Seattle, and even a few hidden gems and tips. Let’s get planning your next kid-friendly hike!
The Best Hiking Trails in Washington for Kids
Hiking in Washington state is one of the best ways to experience the area. Although we’ve had to change where we hike and the duration, our family still loves to get on the trails.
In this article, I’m sharing our favorite hikes in Washington which are kid-friendly. I define kid-friendly as a 5-year-old being able to do the majority of the trail without help (or being carried). If you’re back-packing a young one in, these trails are easy enough to be safe, as well.
We are in Seattle, so I’ve included the drive time to these kid-friendly hiking trails in Washington from the city.
Franklin Falls, Snoqualmie Pass
Drive Time from Seattle: 1 hour
This is one of the area’s hidden gems we go to at least a couple of times each year. The hike is easy with only one steep hill. That steep decline is to get to the pools of the waterfall. 4- and 5-year-olds are fine to do it on their own but younger kids will need some help.
This family-friendly hike is good for all ages, young and old. Bring along a picnic lunch, your bathing suits, and some sturdy water shoes. You will not be disappointed!
Watershed Park – Olympia, Washington
Drive Time from Seattle: 1 hour
If you’re heading to the state’s capital or even onto Portland, OR, Watershed Park is tucked away in the city of Olympia. It’s just off the highway and can give the kids (and adults) a break from a long car ride.
We were absolutely amazed this was tucked away in the city! The trails are easy for kids (one bigger hill) and it’s less than a 2-mile loop. If you have time, the kids will love the playground!
Twin Falls, North Bend
Drive Time from Seattle: 40 minutes
Relatively close to the city, this is a wonderful spot to hit on a hot day. You won’t be crowded on the actual trail but it is a popular destination. Many people take pictures on the bridge in summer which can lead to a bit of a bottleneck.
We started hiking this area when my daughter was 4-year-old and we did have to pick her up on two small parts. At 6, she does the whole thing on her own.
Second Beach (Near La Push, Olympic Peninsula)
Drive Time from Seattle: 4 hours (includes a ferry ride and is best as an overnight trip+)
The Olympic National Park and Hoh Rainforest s is an amazing AREA for kids – we go every year and find something new. The trail down to Second Beach is gorgeous and relatively easy.
Getting to the water and beach is easy and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best hiking trails in Washington for kids. I won’t ruin the surprise, but my daughter dug in the sand and even got some climbing practice in! Hiking back up might require picking up the littlest ones but you’ll be rewarded with views like nowhere else.
If you have tweens or teens who were fans of the Twilight books or movies, Forks, Washington – where the movies are set – is very close by. They have some themed locations and activities.
Ebey’s Landing (Preserve) – Whidbey Island
Drive Time from Seattle: Less than 2 hours (a short, fun ferry ride is required)
We love taking the ferry with the kids. If you’ve never done it, it’s easy (check the available times here for leaving Mukilteo) be prepared to watch your kids squeal with delight! Ebey’s Landing preserve and hiking trails are gorgeous and present many different scenes to explore.
There is a steep section you’ll have to navigate for the very young, but this is one of the best hiking trails in Washington for kids. And it’s never busy!
Hidden Lake, Lake Wenatchee
Drive Time from Seattle: About 2 hours
If you’re on your way to a relaxing vacation in Lake Chelan or want to make a day trip of a hike with the kids, stop at Hidden Lake trail. Stretch your legs and take in the beautiful scenery. My daughter really loved this trail – it’s perfect for bug exploration (her words).
Because it’s a couple hours drive, plan on the whole day if you’re heading out from Seattle or the surrounding areas.
Over to You
Have you been to any of these kid-friendly hiking trails in Washington state?