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Rainy Day Hikes

Where to go hiking in the rain - seven old growth hikes: Upper Dungeness River, Thunder Creek, Goat Lake, Old Sauk River, Wallace Falls, Middle Fork Snoqualmie River, Greenwater Lakes.

Dungeness mushroom
A treat for hikers during the rainy season: a colorful and diverse array of mushrooms. Photo by Bob and Barb.

Hiking in the rain. While it might not be your first choice, rainy day hikes can offer solitude and a special ambiance, especially if you're dressed to stay dry and warm.

Hiker and a contributor to Washington Trails magazine Pam Roy has this advice for choosing a hike for a drizzly day: "Pick trails suitable for the weather and avoid exposed ridge walks or hikes involving scrambling over slick rocks. Think old growth forests."

Get started with one of the seven hikes below for a rainy, wet November (and December and January and February and...) day. Besides big trees, you will find rivers, waterfalls, lakes and abundant flora along the trail.

Before heading out

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Gray Getaways - Hikes for a Rainy Day

Upper Dungeness River

Dungeness River. By Jon Lee.
Dungeness River is an excellent November hiking option. Photo by Jon Lee.

Location: Olympic National Forest - East
Distance: 6.8 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 600 feet

Amazing old growth forest combined with easy hiking and a shelter at Camp Handy make this an ideal hike for wet weather. Be sure to take your guide to Northwest mushrooms-many species can be easily spotted from the trail.

>> Read more about Dungeness River in WTA's Hiking Guide

 

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Thunder Creek

Thunder Creek
Thunder Creek shows off its many colors during a winter outing. Photo by bob barb.

Location: North Cascades National Park
Distance: 10.2 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 2600 feet

Even after snows close the North Cascade Highway, Thunder Creek's trailhead at the Colonial Creek Campground remains open. Hike as far as you like on this flat, quiet trail, which guides you along lakes and creeks while offering glimpses of the surrounding mountains through gaps in the forest's thick canopy.

>> Read more about Thunder Creek in WTA's Hiking Guide.

 

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Hiker on Goat Lake Trail in Rain vert
Raincoat, gaiters, gloves and hat - all good choices for rainy season hike. Photo by Kim Brown.

Goat Lake

Location: Mountain Loop Highway
Distance: 10.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1400 feet

Because of its low elevation and beautiful mountain lake, this is a popular destination for spring hikers. It's also a good hike for early November when you will enjoy the forest walk more and encounter none of the crowds. Note that the trailhead may be inaccessible in winter.

>> Read more about Goat Lake in WTA's Hiking Guide

 

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Old Sauk River Trail

Old Sauk River Trail
Old Sauk River Trail in Autumn. Photo by bob barb
Location: Mountain Loop Highway
Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 150 feet

This hike is a lovely stroll along one of the Skagit River's surging tributaries. The roar of the river is your constant companion as you weave between forest and stream bank on this level trail.

>> Read more about the Old Sauk River Trail in WTA's Hiking Guide

 

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Wallace Falls

Wallace Falls
Lower Wallace Falls can usually be accessed year-round. Photo copyright Wendell Beitzel.

Location: Stevens Pass - West
Distance: 5.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1200 feet

One of WTA's favorite trails! Thousands of hours of volunteer trail maintenance has gone into the trails in this state park. There are nine waterfalls in all. What better way to keep your mind off the rain?

>> Read more about Wallace Falls in WTA's Hiking Guide

 

 

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Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

Middle Fork Snoqualmie winter
Middle Fork Snoqualmie River with a dusting of snow. Photo by bev.

Location: Near North Bend
Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 200 feet

If you can tolerate the pot-holed drive to this lovely hike, you will be well-rewarded. An easy ramble upstream gives hikers plenty to like - a fast-moving river, tall trees, and views of peaks like Granite Mountain and Stegasaurus Butte - all within a short drive from Seattle.

>> Read more about the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River in WTA's Hiking Guide

 

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Greenwater Lakes

Greenwater Lake
Trails can get slippery during the rainy season. Consider traction devices for your boots. Photo by mbrockus.

Location: Chinook Pass
Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain:
300 feet

For solitude and relaxation, few areas can compete with Greenwater and Echo Lakes. Under the dense forest shelter, the trail passes the turquoise waters of both Greenwater and Echo Lakes. Though long, the miles fly by on the mostly even trail. Be on the lookout for elk, deer, coyotes and other local wildlife that frequent the area.

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