Rainy Day Hikes
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
- Remember to check mountain weather conditions. Snow can occur at any elevation this time of year.
- Pack the Ten Essentials and consult Trip Reports.
- Contacting the appropriate ranger station can help you determine the most appropriate hike.
Gray Getaways - Hikes for a Rainy Day
Upper Dungeness River
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.
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.
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.
Old Sauk River TrailLocation: 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.
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?
Middle Fork Snoqualmie River
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.
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.