Our mild winters make outdoor adventures a year-round thing in Seattle. What better way to spend these wonderful winter days than taking a family hike? We’ve hit the trail in search of easy hikes for kids and found nine that trailblazers of all ages can handle. Ready, set, go!
Editor’s note: Please remember to recreate responsibly by wearing masks, following group size guidelines and social distancing on the trails. Happy hiking!
Coal Creek Falls—Issaquah
Waterfall hikes are always a hit with the kids, and we love the fact you don’t have to travel too far to get to this one. Clocking in at just over two-miles, this trail is the definition of family-friendly. It’s not too muddy and is a pretty steady climb up to the waterfall, which every parent knows makes for an easy trip on the way down. There are tons of trails to explore here, so be sure to follow the Red Town Trail, to the Cave Hole Trail until you hit the Coal Creek Falls trail to finish out the hike. Enjoy the view!
Length: 2.5 miles
Cougar Mountain Recreation Area
Newcastle-Coal Creek Rd.
Always a hit with the kids, no matter what time of year it is, Discovery Park has it all. An expansive beach complete with lighthouse, a nature-themed playground and miles of easy trails that take families from the forest to the Sound. Just hop on the loop trail and see where it takes you. In one big circle or along a divergent path.
Length: 2.8 miles
3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary—Everett
If a stroller-friendly trail, or one that toddlers can handle, is on your winter wish list, this hike is for you. Much of it winds through the wetlands along an elevated boardwalk, so kids can be in the thick of it, looking for birds, ducks and maybe even a beaver or two. Plus, Fido can join in this outdoor adventure too (as long as your pooch is on a leash), so that means everyone in the fam can enjoy this easy winter walk.
Length: 2 miles
6900 Seaway Blvd.
Deception Pass—Oak Harbor
Winter is a great time to visit this popular state park and avoid the summer crowds. Even without the warmth of the summer sun, it’s got everything you need to make the most of your day hiking. Beautiful beaches, unbeatable views and miles of trails to choose from. Plus, after the kids are tuckered out from all that fresh air and exercise, they’ll easily fall asleep in car on the way home.
Length: 38 miles of trails
41229 State Route 20
Oak Harbor, WA
This Eastside park is a great spot for urban hikers of all ages. Situated next to Lake Sammamish, its easy trails wind through the old growth forest, and you can't help but stop to take in the lake view every once in a while as you explore. Keep your ears peeled for woodland creatures and the sound of unsuspecting waterfalls dotted throughout the forest as you hike. Add this one to your regular hiking rotation.
Length: 2.5 miles
1200 164th Ave. S.E.
Tolt-MacDonald State Park—Carnation
If rivers and forests are your hiking jam, the trails at Tolt-MacDonald are the place to be this winter. Your adventure starts with a bridge crossing over the Snoqualmie River and continues along the Cottonwood Trail Loop. The loop itself is about two miles and has a few cross trails so you can cut your hike short if you need to. Plus, much of the path skirts the river so your kiddos can stop to throw rocks along the way. Bundle up for this one!
Length: 12 miles of trails
31020 N.E. 40th St.
Boulder Garden Loop—North Bend
This sweet little trail is an offshoot of the super popular one that leads up Little Si. Clocking in around 2 miles, it leads hikers along a wooded trail to an oversized boulder that would fit right in somewhere in Middle Earth. Stick to this easy, level trail or add a trip up Little Si if your kiddos are feeling extra adventurous (Little Si is about 4.5 miles round trip). Psst.. the Little Si bonus is a great one to do if your kids are in a carrier. Either way, you’ll have fun with this one!
Length: 2.5 miles
S.E. Mt. Si Rd.
North Bend, WA
If a hike at a wastewater treatment plant doesn’t sound appealing, think again. This easy hike is as family-friendly as it comes, whether you’re carting kids in the stroller or need space for them to roam safely. You’ll spy local wildlife and find wetlands, streams and ponds as you wander the gravel-paved trails here. Stick to a short mile long hike or piece them all together to make an afternoon of it. If Rover wants to come, just remember the leash.
Length: 3 miles of trails
22505 State Route 9 S.E.
Wallace Falls—Gold Bar
This popular, well-maintained path along the Wallace River has all the bells and whistles for a fantastic family outing. Old growth forest, plenty of rest stops and views that come in waves. Families can hike the complete waterfall trail or turn around at either the lower or middle sections (the section between the middle and upper falls is the hardest) and still feel good about getting out and spending time in nature. Whatever turnaround point you choose, be sure to veer right at the Woody Trail junction to take the most direct route to the summit.
Length: 5.6 miles
14503 Wallace Lake Rd.
Gold Bar, WA
Winter hiking tips:
1. Remember to bring your Discover Pass if you’re hiking in a state park.
2. Expect lots of wet and muddy trails when you hike in the winter (some trails may even have frost or a bit of snow). Sturdy shoes are a must, and a quick check of the Washington Trails Association’s trail reports (for the latest conditions) helps everyone have a good time.
3. Our winters may be mild, but it can still get chilly, especially on an overcast or wet day. Layers work well and don’t forget to pack your rain gear, even if the forecast calls for dry skies.