Waterfall Hikes Near Seattle That Will Take Your Breath Away

By Lydia Schrandt Sept. 22, 2020
(Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

Abundant rainfall in the Pacific Northwest and numerous volcanic peaks have given the Evergreen State more than its fair share of waterfalls. A waterfall hike here is practically a rite of passage, and you don’t have to stray far from Seattle to experience it for yourself. From easy walks to challenging day hikes, these beautiful waterfall hikes near Seattle are all within 110 miles of the city. 

Snoqualmie Falls

Distance from Seattle: 29 miles
Length: 1.4 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 310 feet

Snoqualmie Falls plunges 268 feet along the eponymous river. It’s among the most famous falls in Washington, as well as one of the most accessible. A short walk from the parking lots at the top and bottom of the falls leads to viewing platforms, while the 1.4-mile trail connects the two viewpoints. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail.

Wallace Falls

Distance from Seattle: 47 miles
Length: 5.9 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 1,404 feet

Wallace Falls State Park features 12 miles of hiking trails, the most popular of which (the Wallace Falls Trail) leads to the three-tiered Wallace Falls. The path winds through old growth coniferous forests, with lookout points at the lower and middle falls. Start your hike early to avoid the crowds at this popular park, and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at the middle falls lookout point.

The
Follow the Franklin Falls Trail near Seattle in the winter to see the waterfall frozen in place (Credit: Roman Khomlyak/Shutterstock)

Franklin Falls

Distance from Seattle: 51 miles
Length: 2 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 375 feet

The Franklin Falls Trail follows a creek through Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, culminating in a gorge at the base of the 70-foot waterfall. This relatively easy hike has a big payoff for little effort. Cool off in the pool during the summer months, or in the winter, see the falls frozen in place. Four-legged friends are welcome, as long as they’re leashed.

Twin Falls

Distance from Seattle: 35 miles
Length: 2.6 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 500 feet

The Twin Falls Trail inside Olallie State Park follows the South Fork of the Snoqualmie through a mossy conifer forest. Hikers have two opportunities to soak up the views, one from a viewpoint of the Lower Falls plunging over the 135-foot-tall cliff and the second from a bridge overlooking the Upper Falls and Twin Falls Canyon. Wear your waterproof boots, as the trail can get muddy and wet.

Marymere Falls

Distance from Seattle: 102 miles
Length: 2 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 500 feet

The 90-foot Marymere Falls sits tucked in the woods near Lake Crescent on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. The easy path meanders through a forest of conifers and maples and crosses Barnes Creek before arriving at the waterfall. Two viewing platforms, one across a moss-walled pool from the base of the falls and another on a hillside looking down on the cascade, offer a choice of photo-worthy angles.

A
Bridal Veil Falls is one of the most popular waterfall hikes near Seattle (Credit: Mitchell Strenk/Shutterstock)

Bridal Veil Falls

Distance from Seattle: 56 miles
Length: 4 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 1,000 feet

Follow the rocky path through second-growth alders and mossy maples for the chance to see Bridal Veil Creek plummeting 100 feet down a sheer cliff face. From the base, a flight of stairs gets you close enough to the falls to feel the mist on your face. The trail can get busy on summer weekends, so plan accordingly.

Coal Creek Falls

Distance from Seattle: 16 miles
Length: 2.5 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 400 feet

The multi-step Coal Creek Falls cascades down the slopes of Cougar Mountain amid a forest of fir, alder and cottonwood trees. The easy, well-maintained trail begins inside the Cougar Mountain Regional Wildlife Park. It’s particularly lovely in spring when blooming wildflowers add a pop of color to the understory of ferns and salmonberry bushes. The 28-foot waterfall is at its most beautiful in the winter months when runoff from the rainy season fuels its flow.

Teneriffe Falls

Distance from Seattle: 36 miles
Length: 5.4 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 1,585 feet

This longer, moderately difficult hike along the Mount Teneriffe Trail rewards hikers with a more secluded waterfall experience. The last mile includes 850 feet of elevation gain along a series of 22 switchbacks leading to viewpoints for the upper and lower falls. Expect a tread of loose rocks (and icy conditions in the winter and spring); be sure to wear sturdy boots. 

Myrtle
The hike to Myrtle Falls comes with beautiful views of Mount Rainier (Credit: Abbie Warnock-Matthews/Shutterstock)

Myrtle Falls

Distance from Seattle: 104 miles 
Length: 1 mile out and back
Elevation gain: 100 feet

If you’re visiting Mount Rainier National Park, don’t miss the short, easy hike to Myrtle Falls. Take in the view of the 72-foot-tall falls from a bridge overpass, but remember to admire the stellar views of Mount Rainier along the way. Hike in late spring or early summer when the sub-alpine meadows are in full bloom. Don’t forget your camera; this is one of the most photographed areas of the park.

More Recommended

The Best Ski Towns in Colorado

Suddenly your inbox just got flooded with ski movie trailers, pre-season sales, and reports of first snowfall at your favorite resorts. There’s no better ...

READ MORE...

Ski Trip Packing List: For Individuals and Families

Whether you’re cruising down the powdery slopes of Utah or gliding along the cross-country trails of Vermont, a great ski trip requires the right ...

READ MORE...

The Best Places to Ski in December in the USA

Whether skiing over the holidays or maximizing your Epic or Ikon passes, skiers want reliable December snow. But with most resorts offering optimal ski conditions ...

READ MORE...

Best Ski Regions in the USA

Best Ski Destinations in the USA

Highest Vertical in USA