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Tunes and Trails: Festival Hikes Around the State

In Washington, music festivals feature gorgeous landscapes as the backdrop to weekends packed full of music. Many of the venues that host these festivals have lots of hiking nearby. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic means these festivals are on pause.

Note for 2021 - Some festivals are cancelled for the 2021 season, but hiking is still an option. Check trip reports and recreate responsibly on these trails.

Summer in the Northwest feature outdoor music festivals, where you can listen to your favorite musical artists (and discover new ones) as you drift between stages with gorgeous landscapes as your backdrop. And as with so many places in Washington, hikes are never far away, but it can be hard to hike once you get camp set up on the festival grounds. 

So we put together a few recommendations of where to hike on your way to and from the festival — whether you want to stretch your legs on the way to the show, or come back after the crowds are gone to enjoy the surroundings, sans soundtrack.

Hike safely and go lightly on the land

Remember, whether you venture out for a break from the crowds or plan to revisit these locations later, it's important to always head out with the Ten Essentials, and to practice Leave No Trace.


Volume: The Inlander's Music Festival

Spokane: May - June

A rapid in the river.
Some rapids at Riverside State Park in Spokane. Photo by Susan Elderkin. 

Riverside State Park

Location: Eastern Washington -- Spokane Area/Coeur d'Alene

Visit during the festival: There are many different options at this park just outside of Spokane. Take a break from the crowds at the race and hike the Bowl and Pitcher trail, the Deep Creek Canyon trail, or the Little Spokane River trail. If you don't want to get quite that far out of town, try the Spokane Centennial Trail, accessible from many different trailheads.

> Plan your trip to Riverside State Park

Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail

Location: Eastern Washington -- Spokane Area/Coeur d'Alene
Mileage: 37.0 miles, one-way
Elevation Gain: 600 feet

Visit during the festival: If you don't want to get quite that far out of town, try the Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail, accessible from many different trailheads. Hike or bike along the Spokane River, and with 37 miles of trail, your journey can be as long or as short as you want it to be.

> Plan your trip to the Spokane River Centennial State Park Trail


Capitol Hill Block Party

Seattle: July - 2021 festival cancelled

Large neon sign that says Public Market Center.
Stop by Pike Place Market during your urban hiking through Seattle. Photo by wafflesnfalafel. 

washington Park arboretum

Location: Puget Sound and Islands -- Seattle-Tacoma Area
Mileage: 50 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 50 feet

Visit during the festival: If you're feeling ambitious it is possible to walk to the arboretum from Capitol Hill -- but it's a long walk. Have good shoes and allow several hours to get there and back. On the other hand, it's a great way to snag some quiet minutes with your thoughts in between sets. 

> Plan your trip to the Washington Park Arboretum

Elliot Bay Trail

Location: Puget Sound and Islands -- Seattle-Tacoma Area
Mileage: 10.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: minimal

Visit during the festival: This paved urban trail will take you along the Elliot Bay shoreline and is open to walkers, runners and bike riders. The Elliot Bay trail provides a splendid alternative to walking the main city streets of Seattle. You can stop by the Olympic Sculpture Park and Myrtle Edwards Park along the way.

> Plan your trip to the Elliot Bay Trail


Timber! Music Fest

Carnation: July - 2021 festival cancelled

Timber Fest Jason Neuerberg
 Photo by Jason Neuerberg.

Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Location: Puget Sound and Islands -- Seattle-Tacoma Area
Mileage:
 32.0 miles, one-way
Elevation Gain: minimal

Visit during the show: If you need a break from all the excitement, take a hike or a bike ride on the mostly flat Snoqualmie Valley Trail. The summer is a good time to look for wildflowers like blackberry, elderberry, pea, daisy, buttercup and wild rose on this old railroad grate.

> Plan your trip to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail 

Tolt-Macdonald Park

Location: Puget Sound and Islands -- Seattle-Tacoma Area
Mileage: 12.0 miles, roundtrip

Visit during the show: Timber! isn't just a music festival -- there are plenty of activities for kids and adults to explore the outdoors. Go on a guided hike/activity by pre-registering for one of the festival's organized adventures. Or, if you prefer, simply take a nice stroll along the banks of the mighty Snoqualmie River

> Plan your trip to Tolt-Macdonald Park 


Northwest String Summit

Hornings Hideout: July

String Summit pdxymsb
Photo by pdxymsb

Paradise Point State Park

Location: Southwest Washington -- Lewis River Region
Mileage: 1.0 mile, roundtrip

Stop by on the way: Disc golf, swimming, short hiking trails through old-growth trees and a waterfall are just off of I-5 in this hidden gem of a hideout. Camp here on your drive down to Oregon, or just take a walk to check out the disc golf course under the freeway!

> Plan your trip to Paradise Point State Park


Doe Bay

Orcas Island: August

Doe Bay Artist Brandon Milner
Photo by Brandon Milner.

Moran State Park - Mountain Lake

Location: Puget Sound and Islands -- San Juan Islands
Mileage: 3.9 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 50 feet

Visit during the show: You'll be staying in Olga, WA for Doe Bay, and this peaceful lake is just a short drive from the resort. This family-friendly hike is great for festival-goers who are bringing little ones. If you don't want to camp at the show, stay in Moran State Park and relax in the early morning peace and quiet!

Plan your trip to Moran State Park - Mountain Lake

Moran State Park - Mount Constitution via Mountain Lake

Location: Puget Sound and Islands -- San Juan Islands
Mileage: 6.7 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1500 feet

Visit during the show: After you’ve enjoyed you’re leisurely stroll around Mountain Lake, you can take a drive up to the top of Mount Constitution for some stunning views. If you’re up for more of a challenge, you can take the 1500-foot climb up to the top of Mount Constitution instead. However you get there, you will be greeted with exhilarating views of Puget Sound, the Olympics and the Cascades.

> Plan your trip to Moran State Park - Mount Constitution via Mountain Lake


Summer Meltdown

Whitehorse Amphitheatre: August - 2021 festival cancelled

Summer Meltdown Dan Zelazo
Photo by Dan Zelazo.

North Fork Sauk River

Location: North Cascades -- Mountain Loop Highway
Mileage: 11.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet

Stop by on the way: If you're ready for a leg-stretcher, take a stroll along the North Fork Sauk. Walk for long as you like -- 11 miles is possible, but if time is running out or you just need a breather, a couple of miles on this gently rolling trail is just the ticket. Splash in the river but don't fall down!

> Plan your trip to North Fork Sauk River

Rockport State Park

Location: North Cascades -- North Cascades Highway - Hwy 20
Mileage: 3.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 250 feet

Stop by on the way: If you're coming from Highway 20, don't miss this state park at the turn-off for Highway 530. It's full of family-friendly trails for the family-friendly Summer Meltdown Festival.

> Plan your trip to Rockport State Park


THING

Fort Worden: August - 2021 festival cancelled

A curving stretch of beach on the ocean.
The beach at Fort Worden State Park. Photo by Hikeczar. 

Fort Worden State Park - Point Wilson

Location: Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal
Mileage: 2.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: minimal

Visit during the festival: There are over 11 miles of hiking trails to explore at Fort Worden State Park. Point Wilson is only a short ways away from the festival stages. Enjoy a two and a half mile walk along the fine sandy beach between Fort Worden State Park and the Point Wilson Lighthouse.

> Plan your trip to Fort Worden State Park - Point Wilson

FORT Townsend Historical STATE PARK

Location: Olympic Peninsula -- Northern Coast
Mileage: 6.5 miles of trails

Stop by on the way: Take a self-guide tour of this historic marine camping park along Port Townsend Bay. Be sure to grab a map before you go exploring the interpretive trails through the stunning forest, and immerse yourself in the area’s military history.

> Plan your trip to Fort Townsend Historical State Park


Chinook Fest

Naches: September

A valley filled with fog.
Fog-filled valley below Kelly Butte. Photo by nbesio.

Kelly Butte

Location: Mount Rainier Area -- Chinook Pass - Hwy 410
Mileage: 3.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1100 feet

Come back: Stretch your legs on a short hike up to the Kelly Butte fire lookout. The summit is a great place to have lunch and snap some great pictures of Mount Rainier if the sky is clear. In the fall, you will be able to enjoy the changing colors as you make your way up the former logging road. 

> Plan your trip to Kelly Butte

East Rim Waterworks Canyon

Location: Central Washington -- Yakima
Mileage: 3.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 450 feet

Stop by on the way: Follow along the river up the canyon to see fascinating rock formations at East Rim Waterworks Canyon just outside of Yakima. Keep your eye out for a variety of wildlife like bald eagles, elk, rams and more!

> Plan your trip to East Rim Waterworks Canyon


Other Festivals: There are countless other opportunities to hear music in gorgeous parts of Washington. Here are a few more festivals in areas you might want to revisit after the event is over in order to explore the hikes.