Easy Weekday Hikes
Try these close-to-home hikes and trail runs before or after work or school. No need to wait until the weekend to get your hiking fix.
Whether you are trying to reach your Hike-a-Thon goals or just need a way to unwind after your work or school day, we've put together a few close-to-home hikes around the state. Start with these, and use our Hike Finder map to explore others.
Have a favorite morning, lunchtime or evening hike? Post it in the comments section at the end of the post.
In this shady 2.5 mile roundtrip, you can race up to the waterfall and be at your desk before your boss walks through the office door. The next day, you can return and pick a different route in the extensive Cougar Mountain trails system.
A classic hike that's a little farther east on I-90, this 4-mile hike is a great way to up your elevation without hitting the high country. It's a busy trail, so you won't be alone, but if you go during the week, you'll share the pain of the switchbacks and the glory of the views with fewer fellow hikers than on a typical weekend.
If you go all the way up, it's a 7-mile roundtrip. Even if you cut it short, this hike can make a great trail run or hiking workout. The trailhead can be a bit tricky to find, so read a few of the recent trip reports about where to park and how to find it if you've never been.
If your daily commute takes you from Tacoma to Seattle, veer east on your way and walk or run along this wide, flat trail in central Maple Valley. With offshoots into Lake Wilderness, the Lake Wilderness Arboretum and the Maple Valley Community Center, you can make this hike as long as you need it to be.
Off of I-5 between Olympic and Tacoma, you can revisit the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge trails again and again on your morning commute. To start with, try the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail for a 4.0 mile roundtrip hike where you are guaranteed to spot some wildlife (especially if you go in the morning.)
If you're trying to up your miles mid-week, give yourself at least 3 or 4 hours to hike the 9-mile out-and-back trail in the Capitol State Forest. You'll get rolling ridge tops and a summit with mountain and ocean views.
If you're short on time, race around this 1.5 mile loop that starts follows a creek and beaver pond. If you're out early, this may be a great chance to spot a beaver. If you commute with small children, this would be a great hike to bring them along on before dropping them off at daycare.
This 2.6 mile hike is so close to downtown Everett, you can do it on your lunch break. This is a relatively flat tromp with a few distant views, but the real joy is escaping the office and spotting the waterfowl and songbirds that abound here.
Drive only 25 minutes from downtown Everett, and you'll have your pick of 11 miles of flat trails through forests, meadows and along the Snohomish River in this park named for an old homesteader. Whether you have an hour or three, you'll be able to put together a hike here.
Walk through the gulch on the way to the beach and back, this is a hike to start or end your workday. It’s only 2.5 miles roundtrip, and you likely won’t be alone on the trail. If you get out of work late, you may be rewarded with lovely sunset ocean views on this hike.
You'll get a good workout on this 5.5-mile climb on this well-maintained trail loop. It's a popular spot, so getting to it early on a weekday morning (maybe with a thermos-full of coffee) may be your best chance for experiencing the views on your own.
This 6.5 mile roundtrip hike with stellar views out over on the south side of Larabee State Park would be a great choice for people who live south of Bellingham (since it's about a half an hour drive from downtown, perhaps more with traffic).
A 20-minute drive South of downtown Bellingham, this 4-mile roundtrip has views and a healthy 1,000 ft of elevation gain. You may not escape the sound of traffic from I-5, but you're pre-or post workout will be rewarded with a view.
Depending on how much time you have, there are lots of different loops you can create out of the network of trails in this park only 20 minutes up the Gorge from downtown Vancouver. A loop up along Lacamas Creek, over to the Camas Meadows, around Round Lake and back past the Pothole Falls is about 4.5 miles.
If you've got a bit more time, go farther up the Gorge to Cape Horn Trail. The full 7-mile loop provides fantastic views of the Columbia River Gorge, an intimate look at the Cape Horn Falls and a challenging workout as it climbs and descends the rocky slopes of Cape Horn. Check out the map in our hiking guide before you.
Clocking in at only 4-miles roundtrip, this trail makes a good climb either before or after your work day (though the afternoon may prove hot). If you're going for elevation gain, you'll get 1,710 and a grand view over the valley. Keep an eye out for snakes in the gully section near the beginning.
The gentle grade of this rail-to-trail canyon hike makes its 6-mile roundtrip possible to sneak into your work or school week Whether you hike or run it, take some water and keep your eye open for wildlife (including rattlesnakes.)
If you don't have time to complete the entire 8-mile loop, just use a portion of this trail as an out-and-back. The forest shade will keep you cool on hot afternoons.
On the north side of I-90 in the Spokane Valley, Antoine Peak is as close to your commute as a hike can get. Go in the early morning to spot wildlife. (If you go, tell the WTA community how the trail conditions are in a trip report.)
Because there are several trails that lead to the top of Mount Kit Carson at Mount Spokane State Park, you can visit this one again and again, or link up with the trails on Mount Spokane.