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The best waterfall hikes in western Washington State offer hikers a variety of experiences, from leisurely strolls to strenuous treks. Whether you’re looking for a quick day trip or a multi-day adventure, these top 10 best waterfall hikes in western Washington will give you plenty of options.
When I plan vacations, I always like to include a hike for my family. Our favorites tend to be waterfall hikes. If you are heading to Western Washington there are plenty of waterfall hikes to choose from but here are our top 10 picks and a little information about each one.
Best Waterfall Hikes in Western Washington
Western Washington is a beautiful area. The Cascades are one of my family’s favorite areas to explore in Western Washington, but even beyond that there is so much to do. If you are looking for a great waterfall hike in Western Washington, we have you covered with these top 10 picks.
PS- If you are just getting started hiking, be sure to check out my tips for beginning hikers.
If you are looking to build a trip around one of these Western Washington Hikes, I have included some information about the nearest city or town as found from the city’s tourism page, personal experience, or from talking with friends who have visited these towns.
1. Twin Falls, western Washington Waterfall Hike
This easy-to-moderate 3-mile roundtrip hike near North Bend offers up stunning views of the Snoqualmie River and Twin Falls itself, which cascades down in two tiers. The elevation gain is minimal at just over 400 feet, making it suitable for all ages and experience levels.
The closest city in distance to the Twin Falls hike is North Bend, located just a few miles away. Located at the base of Mt. Si, North Bend has plenty to offer visitors looking for an adventure.
From its vibrant downtown area filled with shops and restaurants, to its nearby parks and trails offering stunning views of the Cascade Mountains, there’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re planning on visiting for a day or staying longer, North Bend will provide you with all the best that western Washington State has to offer!
2. Franklin Falls, western Washington Waterfall Hike
One of the most popular waterfalls in the region, this short 2-mile roundtrip trail near Snoqualmie Pass has a mild elevation gain of just over 200 feet and offers breathtaking views of both Mount Si and Franklin Falls itself.
The closest city in distance to the Franklin Falls hike is Snoqualmie Passhis small mountain town offers visitors plenty of outdoor activities as well as some great restaurants and shops. From its scenic views of the Cascades to its easy access to nearby hiking trails, Snoqualmie Pass has something for everyone looking for an adventure in western Washington State. Whether you’re looking for a quick day trip or planning on staying longer.
3. Silver Falls, Hike In Western Washington
Located near Roslyn in Kittitas County, this 3-mile roundtrip hike is best enjoyed when wildflowers are blooming in the summertime months. Enjoy an elevation gain of 800 feet while you make your way to one of central Washington’s best-kept secrets: Silver Falls.
For those wishing to extend their stay, nearby Roslyn provides plenty of dining options and other attractions.
Roslyn has a wide variety of restaurants that offer everything from traditional American fare to Mediterranean cuisine. Visitors can also take advantage of local pubs and breweries or grab coffee at one of the many cafes throughout town. With its charming atmosphere and picturesque mountain views, visitors will find something special about this small town nestled in western Washington State’s Cascade Mountains.
4. Cascade Pass/Sahale Arm Trail Hike In Washington
A great option for those looking for a multi-day backpacking trip, this 8-mile loop takes adventurers through some of the best views that North Cascades National Park has to offer. This trail climbs steadily for about 5 miles with an elevation gain of 2400 feet before reaching spectacular Sahale Glacier and its neighboring waterfalls at Cascade Pass.
The closest city to Cascade Pass/Sahale Arm Trail is the charming town of Marblemount, Washington. Marblemount is full of unique restaurants and diners that offer a variety of different cuisines. From classic American fare like burgers and fries to Mexican dishes such as tacos and burritos, there’s something for everyone in Marblemount.
There are also several breweries that serve craft beers, wineries with fantastic wines, and plenty of cafes for coffee or tea. If you’re looking for a special dining experience, The River’s Edge Restaurant serves up some of the best local seafood around! No matter what type of food you crave after a long hike through Cascade Pass/Sahale Arm Trail, Marblemount has you covered.
5. Wallace Falls Hike
Located off Highway 2 near Gold Bar and best enjoyed during spring months when snowmelt adds volume to this three-tiered beauty, Wallace Falls is easily accessible via an easy 3-mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of 1300 feet. A great spot for picnicking or camping overnight, Wallace Falls also offers excellent opportunities for bird-watching along the way!
The closest city to Wallace Falls Hiking Trail is Monroe, Washington. It is located about 10 miles south of the trail and offers a variety of outdoor activities. Families can enjoy fishing in the nearby Skykomish River or exploring nearby Big Four Ice Caves.
Additionally, there are many local parks like Lake Tye Park and Miller’s Pond Park that offer great picnicking opportunities. There are also several nearby wineries where families can sample some of the region’s best wines. In addition to the hiking trail, the area also has a wide selection of restaurants and shops for families to explore.
6. Boulder Creek Waterfall Hike In Western Washington
Near Index, this 7-mile out-and-back trail takes hikers through old-growth forests and along boulder-strewn creeks before terminating at Boulder Creek Waterfall itself—a stunning cascade positioned among lush hanging gardens on either side along with sweeping mountain views beyond—all worth any effort it takes to complete this moderate hike with 1600 feet of elevation gain!
The closest city to Boulder Creek Waterfall Hike in Washington State is Bellingham, which is just a 30-minute drive away. Bellingham offers visitors a range of dining, activities, and lodging options. When it comes to dining, Bellingham has everything from fine eateries with locally sourced ingredients to casual pubs and cafés.
Activities in Bellingham range from browsing independent boutiques downtown to exploring the surrounding outdoors with popular hikes or scenic drives nearby. There are also plenty of great lodging options available including hotels, vacation rentals, and camping sites. Whether you’re looking for an exciting adventure or a relaxing weekend getaway, Bellingham has something for everyone.
7. West Fork Foss River Trail Hike
Located off Highway 2 east of Skykomish, this 13-mile out-and-back trail travels through the old-growth forest as it follows the curves and cascades that give the Foss River its unique character before leading up to Glacier Lake where wildflower meadows abound during late summer months alongside multiple waterfalls that make excellent photo opportunities!
With 1700 feet in elevation gain throughout the course of this moderate trail, it’s best enjoyed by experienced hikers due to its length but still manageable by those looking for a more challenging day hike!
The nearby city of Skykomish, Washington is a great place to visit for a variety of fun activities and delicious dining. Visitors can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains from the town’s many hiking trails or take a drive on Stevens Pass for panoramic views of the area.
There are plenty of local restaurants offering up everything from casual eats to fine dining. For nightlife entertainment, there are several bars and pubs for visitors to enjoy a beverage or two with friends.
Other activities in Skykomish include fishing and hunting, whitewater rafting, disc golf, and snowshoeing in the winter months.
8. Big Four Ice Caves
Heading eastward on Highway 92 out past Granite Falls lies Big Four Mountain where one can explore ice caves formed hundreds—sometimes thousands—of years ago by glacial activity now safe enough for exploration with proper cautionary equipment (such as crampons).
At only 4 miles roundtrip but involving nearly 1500 feet in elevation gain expect challenging terrain as you discover some amazing glacial features along your way including several small waterfalls before finally reaching the incredible ice cave formations themselves! This hike is definitely for experienced hikers, and we suggest a guide.
Granite Falls, Washington is a charming small town with plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy. Dining options in Granite Falls include the cozy French-style bistro, Serendipity Café, as well as the popular pub and grill, The Ebb & Flow.
For outdoor activities, visitors can visit Wallace Falls State Park to take advantage of its trails and waterfalls or take a leisurely stroll along the riverfront promenade.
Visitors looking for lodging in Granite Falls have several options such as the upscale boutique hotel, The Grand Hotel, or the family-friendly River Lodge Suites. No matter what you’re looking for during your stay in Granite Falls you are sure to find something that pleases everyone.
9. Heather Lake/Heather Meadows Loop
No Western Washington Waterfall Hike list would be complete without including perhaps one of the best-known hikes around the Mt Baker area: The Heather Lake/Heather Meadows Loop which begins closer toward Artist Point with a winding climb through old-growth hemlock forests eventually leading into meadows filled with alpine wildflowers amid stunning views atop Table Mountain!
This 5-mile loop involves 1100 ft in elevation change making it yet another great option for experienced outdoorsmen looking for breathtaking scenery on their way down from lofty heights!
Mt Baker Washington offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. There are plenty of hiking trails and mountain biking routes available throughout the year. For those looking for winter thrills, it is home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the US.
If you’re looking for something more leisurely, Mt Baker also has a number of scenic drives and views from its many lookouts.
For dining, there are numerous restaurants located in nearby towns that offer delicious cuisine from all around the world.
10 Chirico Trail
Last but certainly not least comes Chirico Trail located within Gifford Pinchot National Forest outside Randle; This fairly short but steep 2 mile out and back trail involving 950 ft in total elevation change rewards adventurers with two magnificent waterfalls flowing down consecutive tiers amidst rocky cliffs surrounded by lush green foliage creating mesmerizing scenery ideal for hiking photography enthusiasts out there!
The closest city to the Chirico Trail in Washington is Bellingham. Bellingham is a vibrant and picturesque city located about 40 miles south of the trail. If you recall, this was also the closest city to the Boulder Creek Waterfall trail.
For those looking for dining and lodging options when visiting the Chirico Trail, Bellingham has a wide variety of restaurants and hotels from which to choose.
Visitors can explore the city’s many attractions including waterfront parks, art galleries, museums, farmers’ markets, and breweries.
If you are looking for outdoor activities, you can also visit nearby parks like Lake Samish or take part in recreational activities such as hiking, biking, or fishing at nearby areas like Blanchard Mountain State Park or Whatcom Falls Park. Whether you are looking for a romantic dinner or a fun day outdoors, Bellingham has plenty of options to keep visitors entertained during their stay.
Western Washington has a plethora of stunning and breathtaking waterfall hikes to choose from. Whether you are looking for an easy hike with minimal elevation gain or more experienced hikers seeking out the best views, there is something here for everyone. From North Cascades National Park to Gifford Pinchot National Forest, these best western Washington waterfalls will take your breath away! So don’t wait any longer – grab your gear and hit the trails now for some unforgettable experiences in nature’s beauty!