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Despite being the 15th largest city in the United States, Seattle has some beautiful nature spots and walking trails. It’s also been coined the Rainy City, and quite unfairly we think! Its reputation comes from being a particularly cloudy city, which is certainly good enough weather to walk in. Traverse through mossy forests, beautiful urban parks, and fairytale wetlands as you make your way through this fantastic city. Seattle has gained a reputation as an outdoorsy city – in less than an hour, you can be ascending 1,000 feet to an alpine lake or scoping a gorgeous glacial landscape. You don’t have to leave the city, either – there are miles of trails in the city parks. Here are 7 of the best walks in Seattle.

Best Walks in Seattle

1. Snow Lake Trail

Length: 6.7 miles
Duration: 3 hours 40 minutes

For stellar views of a fairytale-like alpine lake, the Snow Lake Trail is for you. You certainly won’t feel like you’re just an hour away from the city. Bear in mind that this is a popular walk, but sometimes things are popular for a reason. And not only is it beautiful, but it’s also a relatively easy walk with minimal elevation gain. It’s tempting to want to go to the Snow Lake in winter as it’s surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains and alpine scenery, but we encourage hikers to stick to the summer months. In the winter, there’s an extreme risk of avalanches, and the snow makes the route slippy even during spring.

snow lake in seattle

2. Manguson Park Loop

Length: 2 miles
Duration: 40 minutes

In the leafy Sand Point neighbourhood of Seattle, you’ll find over 350 acres of lush greenery. It’s the second-largest park in Seattle, featuring 20 brick and metal structures that were built in the 1930s and 40s. You don’t have to leave the city to be engulfed in nature, especially in this park. The wetlands are teeming with wildlife – spot dragonflies, frogs, chickadees, and more. There’s also a beautiful lake, which your dog is bound to love splashing around it.

willow tree in mangusen park

3. Discovery Park and Lighthouse Loop Trail

Length: 4.4 miles
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes

Discovery Park puts other city parks to shame. This is a true escape from the brick and concrete of city life, in the corner of the Magnolia neighbourhood. This 534-acre park is actually a former military base, with more outdoor activities than you can shake a stick at. Walk down to the beaches, visit the lighthouse, wind through forests, and enjoy views of the Olympic Mountains. You can also cut off to the upper bluff trail, which offers expansive views of Puget Sound. Although this is a popular and beautiful route, it tends to be less crowded than other walking routes in the area. It’s really ideal for those looking to escape the hubbub.

lighthouse in discovery park seattle

4. Seward Park Loop

Length: 2.4 miles
Duration: 45 minutes

Home to old-growth forests, diverse flora, birds, and other wildlife, Seward Park is an oasis near Downtown Seattle. Stepping into this park, you wouldn’t believe you’re in the heart of the city. It’s a flat, easy walking trail, but a beautiful one. There are several beaches dotted around the park, lining up beside the expansive Lake Washington. You can enjoy stopping off for a picnic along the beach as you look out across the lake’s calm waters. The local flora and fauna are very impressive too, which you can find out more about in the native plant garden.

shoreline at seward park in seattle

5. Kubota Gardens

Length: 1.5 miles
Duration: 30 minutes

Kubota Gardens is a special haven in the city. Created by master landscape Fujitaro Kubota, the gardens look after Northwest native plants while using a Japanese approach. That’s what makes this garden so special, it’s completely unique. Not to mention it’s crisscrossed with streams, koi ponds, waterfalls, bridges, and beautiful rock formations. It’s the perfect place to make an escape from the city, to sit quietly and bask in the beauty. You’re sure to spot wildlife, including birds and rabbits. Although walking around the gardens can take as little as half an hour, we think you could really take your time here and spend a nice morning or afternoon exploring.

japanese style bridge in kubota gardens in seattle

6. Twin Falls

Length: 2.5 miles
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Moss-covered rocks, ferns, and low-hanging trees lead the path to the enchanting Twin Falls. But before you get there, you’ll pass fauna like salmonberries and skunk cabbage, bridges, a clearwater pond full of fishes, and dense woodlands. It’s not a hard walk, but the fairytale-like route is definitely beautiful. Although it isn’t overly challenging, there are a couple of climbs, including stairs. But the view of the Twin Falls is worth it.

twin falls

7. Mason Lake via Ira Spring Memorial Trail

Length: 6.8 miles
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes

This is is the most challenging walk on the list. If you’re a seasoned hiker, you’ll love this one. The trail is named after one of the Northwest’s most celebrated conservationists, Ira Spring, and leads the way to the glassy Mason Lake. While the destination is the lake, the path along the way is breathtaking. It’s a beautiful destination all year round, but it can get icy during the winter months and the lake completely freezes over. Be sure to check the weather conditions first. And in autumn, the wildflowers and foliage are particularly beautiful. It’s a steep climb, reaching 4320 feet at the highest point, but completely worth it.

mason lake in washington state

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