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Family Friendly Hikes near Campgrounds

Car camping is a great way to spend time outdoors with children. While on your next camping trip take a family hike and explore the trails nearby.

Car camping is a great way to spend time outdoors with children. While on your next camping trip take a family hike to explore nearby trails. Many campgrounds in Washington offer plenty of opportunities to hike within a short distance.

Denny Creek Campground

Kids enjoy camping and sleeping in a tent. Photo by Asia Dolling

Location: Snoqualmie Pass
Logistics: Camping fee required; reservations recommended
Best Seasons: Summer through fall
Directions: From Seattle, go east on Interstate 90. Take Exit 47 and go north over freeway and follow signs 3 miles to campground.

Nearby Trails:

Northwest Forest Pass required at all three trailheads

Asahel Curtis Nature Trail
0.5 mile loop. 180' elevation gain.

Level trail. Enormous trees. This is a wonderful hike for even the shortest of hikers. Because it is so short, you can slow way down and examine the moss, the lichen, the slugs and the bugs.

>> Read WTA's Hiking Guide entry, powered by Mountaineers Books

Denny Creek Water Slide
2.5 miles round trip. 500' elevation gain. powered by Mountaineers Books

A great escape on a hot day. Kids will love to play in the water on the slippery and smooth rocks. Expect company, however! This trail is popular.

>> Read WTA's Hiking Guide entry, powered by Mountaineers Books

Franklin Falls
2 miles round trip. 400' elevation gain.

Kids love waterfalls, and this one is certainly rewarding and easy to reach. The trail head is next to the one to Denny Creek, but you will find far fewer people on this historic route.

>> Read WTA's Hiking Guide entry

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White River Campground

Families can explore several excellent hiking options from the Sunrise Visitor Center. Views of Mount Rainier star in each of them, along with plentiful wildflowers. Photo by Jon Stier.

Location: Mount Rainier National Park
Logistics: Camping fee required; park entry fee required; no reservations accepted
Best Seasons: Summer through fall
Directions: From Seattle, go South on I-5 to I-405 (Exit 156). East on I-405 to SR 167. Sound on SR 167 to SR 410. East on SR 410 to the White River Entrance.

Nearby Trails:

Shadow Lake- Sunrise Camp Loop
3.5 mile loop. 300' elevation gain.

Mount Rainier in constant view - check. Dancing fields of wildflowers - check. An easy hike to a small lake - check. Chances of seeing wildlife - pretty good! This hike will please everyone.

>> Read WTA's Hiking Guide entry, powered by Mountaineers Books

Silver Forest - Emmons Glacier Vista Trail
2.4 miles round trip. 200' elevation gain.

Start along the Emmons Vista Trail and pause to take in one of Mount Rainier's most famous glaciers. Then enter into a ghost forest - gleaming silver spires left over from a long-ago wildfire.

>> Read WTA's Hiking Guide entry

Sourdough Ridge Trail
2.5 miles. 400' elevation gain.

A lollypop loop for the whole family - with views in all directions, abundant wildflowers and surprisingly few people for how popular Mount Rainier National Park is. The elevation gain is all at the beginning, then it is smooth sailing the rest of the way.

>> Read WTA's Hiking Guide entry

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Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass State Park hosts one of the top campgrounds for families. The spaces are large and afford privacy, and there are many kid-friendly activities in the park. Photo by Susan Elderkin.

Location: Whidbey Island
Logistics: Camping fee required; reservations recommended
Best Seasons: Year-round
Directions: From Seattle, drive north on I-5 to Exit 230, then travel 18 miles west on SR 20 toward Oak Harbor. Park entrance is on right, one mile south of Deception Pass Bridge.

Nearby Trails:

West Beach - Sand Dune Trail
1.2 mile loop. No elevation gain.

Sand dunes! Aside from the fact that sand is just plain fun for kids, this interpretive trail offers that chance to study the vegetation on the dunes and discuss how it protects Cranberry Lake from blowing sand coming in off of West Beach.

>> Read WTA's Hiking Guide entry

Goose Rock
2.5 mile one way. 350' elevation gain.

Leave the other campers behind and climb to the top of one of Whidbey Island's tallest summits. From the top, the Olympics, the San Juan Islands and even Mount Rainier are visible on a clear day.

>> Read WTA's Hiking Guide entry

Ebey's Landing
3.5 mile loop; longer or shorter options exist. 240' elevation gain.

Coming to or from Deception State Park, Ebey's Landing is a wonderful stop-over. A long beach, an inland saltwater lagoon, a coastal bluff abut an area rife with Washington state history. From the bluff, kids will be delighted to watch the shipping traffic along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, admire the occasional bald eagle flying overhead and gape at the views of the Olympics so close they could be touched.

>> Read WTA's Hiking Guide entry

For more information about Car Camping with Kids click here

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Diablo Lake

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