Washington Archives - Urban Outdoors
Tag

Washington

Browsing

Seattle is one of those cities that attracts outdoor lovers from all over the US, and for good reason: it’s surrounded by waterways and mountains and beautiful nature. Hiking in Seattle is one of the best ways to explore outdoors without spending a ton of money or time. Trust us – the hikes in Seattle are some of the best in the country, spanning rainforests, coastlines, mountains, and more. We’ll admit it: this guide was exceptionally difficult to write because there are literally hundreds of incredible places to go hiking near Seattle. However, we’ve narrowed it down to a handful of spectacular hikes near Seattle for all levels of hikers so you can plan your next adventure!

Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite hiker? Here’s a comprehensive list of our
35 favorite (practical) gifts for hikers, updated for 2020!

Easy Hikes in Seattle

Picture Lake Path

  • Trail Length: 0.4 miles
  • Location: Mount Baker National Forest

While barely a hike at just 0.4 miles of trail, the Picture Lake Path is one you absolutely have to do at least once if your life. Yes, there are longer and closer hikes in Seattle, but this easy trail boasts an iconic view of Mount Baker that will take your breath away. A short, easy stroll will take you around Picture Lake to the viewpoint above – we’d recommend going in the morning or evening to get the most stunning view (with the smallest crowds. At over 2.5 hours from the city, it’s not necessarily the most convenient to get to, but you can combine the trip with other hikes in the Mount Baker area for a solid day trip from Seattle.

Ebey’s Landing

  • Trail Length: 5.2 miles
  • Location: Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

One of the most unique aspects of Seattle is its proximity to the sea, and Ebey’s Landing is a fantastic easy trail to explore the coastline. This is one of the best hikes near Seattle to experience the Puget Sound’s vast beauty, with views overlooking the water and surrounding farmlands. Located on a bluff bordering the water, it’s an easy and long trail that gives visitors a serene space to admire the horizon and the countryside. People especially love this trail because of the sweeping views and its accessibility for families and beginners.

Photo Credit: Ashlyn G (Flickr CC)

Grove of the Patriarchs

  • Trail Length: 1.2 miles
  • Location: Mount Rainier National Park

As one of the most family-friendly spots for hiking in Seattle and the surrounding areas, Grove of the Patriarchs is a short and sweet trail that winds through the dense Douglas fir forests of Mount Rainier National Park. The trees here are exceptional, some dating back hundreds of years, and the park has accessible boardwalks and bridges through the area so visitors can see some of the most interesting sights.

Photo Credit: Mattia Panciroli (Flickr CC)

Ruby Beach

  • Trail Length: 1.4 miles
  • Location: Olympic National Park

When we say hiking in Seattle is diverse, we really mean it! The trail at Ruby Beach is a great example of this, taking hikers of all levels through a scenic area that blends pine forests, craggy rock formations, and the seaside in one beautiful, breathtaking place. Along the trail, you’ll find warped driftwood branches, lots of pebbles, and foggy views of the nearby rock formations and islands off the coast.

While this trail is short, it’s an absolutely spectacular place for any hiker to be spellbound by the beauty of nature. It can also be paired with any of the other hikes in Olympic National Park for an incredible day trip or weekend getaway.

Photo Credit: W. Tipton (Flickr CC)

Hall of Mosses Trail

  • Trail Length: 1.1 miles
  • Location: Olympic National Park

If you’re ready for some more variety after visiting Ruby Beach, you can head to the Hall of Mosses Trail, which runs through a literal rainforest. That’s right, you can pair a beach stroll with a rainforest adventure all in the same day, at the same park. The Hall of Mosses is known for its lush, tropical plant life, especially the moss-covered trees that line the trails. On this trail, hikers of all levels can find a beautiful tree canopy that’s often laced with fog. There are also plenty of eerie plants, making it great for kids (or adults) who want to let their imaginations run wild.

Coal Creek Falls

  • Trail Length: 2.1 miles
  • Location: Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

Our list of easy hikes near Seattle wouldn’t be complete without a waterfall hike, and Coal Creek Falls is a fantastic one to start with. Located in a mostly forested area, the trail runs through a lush, tree lined area and culminates at the beautiful Coal Creek Falls. It’s an easy hike, so it’s great for families or beginners wanting a forest adventure with some great photo opportunities. People especially enjoy this hike for children, as the variety in terrain, many bridge crossings, and the beautiful waterfalls are a great way to get them excited about the outdoors.

Photo Credit: Michael Matti (Flickr CC)

Moderate Hikes in Seattle

Rattlesnake Ledge

  • Trail Length: 5.1 miles
  • Location: Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area

**Unfortunately, this trail is temporarily closed due to current unforeseen circumstances. You can check the latest status of the trails in Rattlesnake Mountain Scenic Area here.**

At less than an hour from Seattle, Rattlesnake Ledge is one of the most accessible hikes from the city. It’s also one of the most beautiful and popular, with views around the surrounding mountains and down into the valleys below. Because of its proximity and popularity, this trail can get extremely crowded, especially in the high season. Go early or on weekdays for the best and least crowded hiking experience.

Snow Lake

  • Trail Length: 6.4 miles
  • Location: Mount Baker Snowqualmie National Forest

Snow Lake is one of the most spectacular hikes in Seattle, as the views here are absolutely breathtaking almost the entire way. Evergreen forests surround rocky trails, providing a challenge with jaw-dropping rewards. The beginning of the hike runs through the woods, where you can see small streams and rocky outcroppings. Then, towards the end, you’ll arrive at Snow Lake, which is a super scenic area that’s surrounded by mountains. For hikers wanting a moderately difficult trail with some seriously unique photo opportunities, Snow Lake is one we’d strongly recommend.

Photo Credit: JH Moyer (Flickr CC)

Wallace Falls

  • Trail Length: 5.9 miles
  • Location: Wallace Falls State Park

One of our favorite hikes in Seattle is Wallace Falls, which brings hikers up a pretty steep incline to some raging, towering waterfalls that drop 367 feet. Picturesque wooden boardwalks wind through the lush, mossy rainforest to arrive at the falls. Get ready for a workout, because this hike requires over 1,200 feet in elevation gain to get to the falls. In the summer, hikers can take a dip in the pools, making for a luxurious treat after a serious sweat session.

Photo Credit: Andrew E. Larsen (Flickr CC)

Poo Poo Point

  • Trail Length: 7.2 miles
  • Location: Tiger Mountain State Forest

Named after an odd and seemingly misplaced toilet landmark at its summit, Poo Poo Point might sound like a strange hike to try. However, stunning views of Mount Rainier on clear days and a fun challenge make this trail one of the most beloved hikes in Seattle. Don’t be fooled – the beginning of the trail seems like an easy incline, but the more you hike, the steeper it gets. This is one of the most popular places for hiking in Seattle, so be sure to plan ahead and start early if you’d like to avoid the crowds.

Comet Falls

  • Trail Length: 4.3 miles
  • Location: Mount Rainier National Park

If you haven’t noticed, waterfall hikes are abundant in the Seattle area, and there are several that are moderately difficult and perfect for hikers wanting a bit of a challenge. Comet Falls in Mount Rainier National Park is one such hike. If you choose to tackle this hike, prepare for rocky terrain, lots of stairs and steep ascents, and potentially slippery conditions. Trekking poles are strongly advised as well. The end will reward you with a 380-foot waterfall that’s incredible awe-inspiring.

Photo Credit: Brooke Hoyer (Flickr CC)

Twin Falls

  • Trail Length: 3.6 miles
  • Location: Olallie State Park

Another of the best waterfall hikes near Seattle is Twin Falls, a beautiful set of waterfalls located in Olallie State Park. This short but steep hike will definitely give even experienced hikers a run for their money, but the views at the end of the powerful waterfalls will send chills down your spine. Note that this trail can be extremely slippery, so trekking poles and solid hiking boots are strongly recommended.

Skyline Trail

  • Trail Length: 5.9 miles
  • Location: Mount Rainier National Park

If you’re an experienced hiker who hasn’t done the Skyline Trail yet, it’s time to plan your trip out here! This is one of the most spectacular hikes near Seattle, offering jaw-dropping mountain vistas of Mount Rainier National Park. The Skyline Trail passes through evergreen forests, across cool creeks, past waterfalls, and above the treeline to show off the beauty of this area. Locals really, really love this trail, citing the captivating scenery, the trail difficulty and challenge level, and good upkeep as some of their favorite things about hiking the Skyline.

Photo Credit: Michael B. (Flickr CC)

Difficult Hikes near Seattle

Mount Si

  • Trail Length: 7.9 miles
  • Location: Mount Si Conservation Area

Experienced hikers will love the challenge and thrill of getting above the clouds on Mount Si, one of the most scenic areas for hiking near Seattle. This challenging hike is one of the more popular hikes on our list, but for good reason – it’s got some of the most beautiful views of the Cascade Mountains in the entire Seattle area. This hike is not for beginners or the faint of heart, as it requires climbing some steep inclines over 2,000 feet to the summit, as well as a little bit of scrambling/climbing.

Photo Credit: Sean Munson (Flickr CC)

Mailbox Peak

  • Trail Length: 7.8 miles
  • Location: Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area

Named after the solitary mailbox stationed at its summit, Mailbox Peak is one of the hardest and most visually incredible hikes in the entire Seattle area. Steep ascents and scrambling are the name of the game here, but those who stick with the trail to the top will be reward with sweeping views of the Cascades, including Mount Si, as well as a chance to see the iconic namesake mailbox. On clear days, you can even see out to Mount Rainier!

Many hikers strongly recommend micro spikes for this trail, as it can get icy and slippery towards the top, even in the spring.

Photo Credit: Ham Hock (Flickr CC)

Mount Pilchuck

  • Trail Length: 6 miles
  • Location: Mount Pilchuck State Park

Formerly used as a trail to get up to a fire lookout tower, the Mount Pilchuck trail is one of the coolest and most challenging hikes near Seattle. This difficult trail is for experienced hikers only, as there’s quite a bit of technical hiking required to get up to the summit. With an elevation gain of 2,125 over 3 miles, you’ll definitely break a sweat to get up there! However, once you arrive at the top, you can actually explore the historic fire tower for yourself, which offers some of the most magical views from Mount Rainier and Mount Baker all the way to the Puget Sound.

Mt. Rainier Summit

  • Trail Length: 14.7 miles
  • Location: Mount Rainier National Park

**NOTE: This is a serious, multi-day summit hike that requires ample prior experience and training before you attempt it. Many people opt to go with an experienced guide and group like this one, which is what we would recommend if you are new to multi-day technical hikes or plan to hike alone.

The Mt. Rainier Summit hike is neither a day hike nor a hike for all levels, but we figured we’d put it on here as it’s a hiking experience of a lifetime that’s accessible from the Seattle area. Requiring experience in high alpine and glacier hiking, as well as crevasse rescue knowledge, this hike is absolutely not for beginners or less experienced hikers. However, the opportunity to summit Washington’s iconic peak is certainly one worth writing home about.

With an elevation gain of nearly 9,000 feet, as well as two overnight stays at camps along the mountainside, this hike is best done with an experienced group or a tour. However, once you plan and figure out the logistics, some of the most majestic and captivating views of the Pacific Northwest await.

Additional Resources for Hiking in Seattle

What to Bring Hiking in Seattle

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

Related Articles

You might think of Seattle as a city of rainy weather and coffee shops, but it’s also a fantastic city for people who love the outdoors. With the nearby Cascades accessible in just minutes, there are tons of places to spend time outdoors year-round. Yep, that includes many options for snowboarding and skiing near Seattle during even the dreariest months of winter. If the cold weather is making you stir-crazy, check out our list of the best ski resorts near Seattle that you can visit this winter.

**Note that some resorts are in Canada, so a border crossing may be necessary!

16 Amazing Places to Go Snowboarding and Skiing Near Seattle

Summit at Snoqualmie

Known affectionately as “Seattle’s home mountain,” Summit at Snoqualmie is a popular place for snowboarding and skiing near Seattle – it’s just a 1 hour drive. The Summit at Snoqualmie is one of the most beloved ski resorts in Washington, earning tons of press coverage throughout the years. The resort has a whopping 2,000 skiable acres, with options for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snow tubing. The trails at Snoqualmie Summit range from beginner to advanced, but the majority are suitable for more advanced skiers.

There’s a bus that goes directly from downtown Seattle to the resort, making it a convenient favorite for city dwellers who may not have a car. Visitors love the variety of the trails and terrain parks, although stated that the Central Summit can get pretty crowded on peak days. Advanced riders and skiers can hit up the Alpental area, while beginners may want to stick to Summit West and Summit Central.

How to Get There: If driving, take I-90 E towards Spokane, then take exit 52 towards W Summit, then WA-906 until you reach the mountain. If not driving, Snoqualmie partners with Flixbus to offer bus shuttles from Seattle directly to the mountain – you can purchase tickets online here.

Stevens Pass

Stevens Pass is another one of the ski resorts near Seattle that locals absolutely love. Located between two national forests, the resort boasts over 1,000 acres of skiable terrain, with 52 trails and numerous bowls, glades, and faces. With night skiing five days a week, there’s literally no shortage of time to explore the many trails that Stevens Pass has to offer. While the park does have trails for all skill levels, the vast majority are rated intermediate or advanced.

For non-riders and non-skiers, there’s free snow tubing available at Stevens Pass, as well as the charming Bavarian ski town of Leavenworth nearby. There are also options to go snowshoeing on the property as well.

How to Get There: If driving, start on I-5 N to Exit onto US-2 E toward Wenatchee, At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto US-2, turn right and you’re at the mountain. If not driving, Stevens Pass partners with MTR Western to provide the Snowbus, which includes shuttles to and from Seattle and 20% off your lift ticket.

Crystal Mountain Resort

  • Distance from Seattle: 82 miles (~1 hour, 45 min)
  • Accommodations Available: Yes, at Crystal Mountain Resort
  • Ability Level: All levels

At less than 2 hours from the city, Crystal Mountain Resort is one of the top places to go snowboarding and skiing near Seattle. Given its beautiful location spanning two peaks, the resort became famous after hosting the 1955 National Alpine Ski Championship. With 58 trails ranging from beginner to advanced levels, you can definitely test your skills here. Crystal Mountain Resort has great offers, like discounts during the month of January, family Sundays, and more.

Not planning on skiing? No problem! Crystal Mountain also has plenty of non-slope activities, like snowmobiling, ice skating, and snow biking.

How to Get There: If driving, start on I-5 S then WA-410 E/Roosevelt Ave onto  onto Crystal Mountain Blvd/NF-7166. If not driving, there is the Crystal Mountain Express Bus that operates on holidays and weekends that has 5 routes, including to Seattle.

Mount Baker Ski Area

  • Distance from Seattle: 132 miles (~3 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Not on site, but there are a few hotels nearby
  • Ability Level: All levels, but more of a snowboarder’s mountain

With over 1,000 skiable acres, the Mount Baker Ski Area is a great resort to go and disconnect from city life in Seattle. Frequented mostly by snowboarders, this winter sports area is perfect for adrenaline junkies. There’s a fairly even split of beginner, intermediate, and advanced terrain here, with trails interlaced through the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. With a maximum elevation of over 5,000 feet and a vertical drop of 1,589 feet, this snowy resort is a great choice for a weekend winter getaway.

While the resort does attract a cult-like following, it’s important to note that it is also known to have avalanches. As it is located in one of the most snowy regions of Washington, the trails can be hazardous and are typically not groomed. There are resources for avalanche education at the resort, but it’s always good to check conditions before you go.

How to Get There: The best way to get here from Seattle is by car. If driving, start on I-5 N via the ramp on the left to Vancouver BC, then take the first exit and stay on WA-542 E to the mountain (the end of the drive is icy/snowy, so snow chains are highly recommended).

Grouse Mountain

  • Distance from Seattle: 148 miles (~3 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Not on site, but there are several nearby options
  • Ability Level: All levels

Known as the “peak of Vancouver,” Grouse Mountain is one of the more accessible ski resorts near Seattle, at just 3 hours from the city. In fact, its most famous run, The Cut, was ranked as a top 100 run in the world by CNN Travel. Boasting spectacular views of Vancouver from its 33 runs and 6 terrain parks, it’s not only a fun resort, but also a scenic one. People especially love the night skiing, as it provides stunning views of the city’s twinkling lights.

For non-skiers, there’s ice skating, slight rides, a mountaintop cinema, and strolls through the Light Walk, a lit trail area on the property. People love how many different activities there are at the resort, making it a perfect family-friendly getaway spot!

How to Get There: Merge onto I-5 N via the ramp on the left to Vancouver BC, 11 for Route 91A toward New Westminster, Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 W to resort. If not driving, there is a bus and a train that leaves from Seattle King Street Station that takes you directly to Grouse Mountain (4 hrs).

Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort

  • Distance from Seattle: 153 miles (~3 hours, 15 min)
  • Accommodations Available: Not on site
  • Ability Level: All levels, mostly intermediate and advanced

Located in a 2,000 acre basin in the Cascades, Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort is a small but mighty resort for skiers and snowboarders. With 36 trails, the resort caters largely to experienced athletes, and is known for its sunny days and dry powder. The resort boasts stunning views of Mr. Rainier, the Columbia River Desert, and the surrounding Cascade Mountains.

Visitors love the small town, community feel of Mission Ridge, with its down-to-earth ambience. With incredible dry powder snow, the resort differentiates itself from the otherwise slushy conditions of the Pacific Northwest. Many skiers and snowboarders also appreciate the historic WWII bomber ruins that can be seen from the runs.

How to Get There: If driving, take I -5 N via the ramp on the left to Vancouver BC, Take exit 168B for WA-520 toward Bellevue/Kirkland, Exit onto US-2 E toward Wenatchee. Continue onto Mission Ridge Rd/Wenatchee Mountain Rd. If not driving, there is the Wenatchee Valley shuttle service from SeaTac airport for FREE or a bus from Seattle King Street Station (5 hrs).

Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area

  • Distance from Seattle: 100 miles (~3.5 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Not on site
  • Ability Level: All levels

Have you ever wanted to ski in a national park? Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area is your chance! Located in the heart of Olympic National Park, this small, locally owned ski area has just 10 runs overlooking the nearby mountains and is the westernmost ski area in the USA. For an affordable and absolutely outstanding place to ski, Hurricane Ridge is a fantastic option for snowboarding and skiing near Seattle.

One of the most famous runs on the property is The Face, which has a nearly 1,000 foot elevation drop and is definitely not for the faint of heart! For non-riders and non-skiers, there’s also snow tubing, snowshoe walks, and cross-country skiing options here as well.

How to Get There: If you are driving, take the Seattle – Bainbridge Ferry to Bainbridge Island, turn right to merge onto WA-3 N toward Olympic Peninsula. Then, take a slight right onto Hurricane Ridge Rd.

Mount Hood Meadows

  • Distance from Seattle: 237 miles (~4 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Not on site
  • Ability Level: All levels

Another spectacular place to go skiing and snowboarding near Seattle is Mount Hood Meadows, which operates in the Mount Hood National Forest. The area’s 87 trails are largely intermediate and advanced level, so we’d recommend having plenty of experience under your belt before choosing to tackle this resort. The highest elevation at the resort is 7,300 feet, so many of the runs are not for the faint of heart. More experienced skiers can head to Heather and Clark Canyons for a more back-country trail experience with a variety of terrain.

How to Get There: If you are driving, head towards Sea-Tac Airport/Interstate 5 S and merge onto I-5 S, then take exit 22 for Interstate 84 E/U.S. 30 E toward The Dalles, then take State Route 35 N exit toward Hood River to take the exit toward Ski Resort/Bennet Pass/Soo Park/Mt Hood Meadows.

Timberline Ski Area

  • Distance from Seattle: 227 miles (~4 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Yes, at Timberline Lodge
  • Ability Level: All levels

It might seem hard to believe, but Timberline Ski Area is open year-round for skiing. Yup, that means 12 months out of the year, it’s available for courageous skiers and snowboarders to visit. Located near the top of an 11,245 foot volcano, Timberline has the unique advantage of being on the side of the tallest mountain in Oregon.

The 41 trails here are fairly evenly split between easy, moderate, and difficult ratings, with plenty of resources for beginners and first-timers. Interestingly enough, this mountain was developed as part of the New Deal, and a lot of people flock here to learn about the history of this National Historic Landmark.

Some of the most highly recommended runs are Upper and Lower Salamander, Upper Dew Drop, and Lower Almost Heaven, as well as skiing on Palmer Glacier.

How to Get There: Driving is the easiest way to get to Timberline from Seattle. If you are driving, head towards Sea-Tac Airport/Interstate 5 S and merge onto I-5 S, then take exit 22 for Interstate 84 E/U.S. 30 E toward The Dalles, to onto Timberline Hwy. Keep straight towards the mountain.

Methow Valley

  • Distance from Seattle: 217 miles (~4 hours, 20 min)
  • Accommodations Available: Not on site
  • Ability Level: All levels, cross-country skiing only

For people interested in cross-country skiing, Methow Valley is the mecca for cross-country skiing in the Pacific Northwest. There are over 200 kilometers of Nordic trails here for use during the winter. Scenic forested trails wind through valleys, rivers, and towns. And it’s a dog-friendly and family-friendly environment, too! Non-skiers can also enjoy showshoeing and fat tire snow biking here. The most scenic (and also the most difficult) trails are by Rendezvous Mountain. Visitors also recommend visiting the suspension bridge overlooking the Methow Valley River.

How to Get There: If driving, start on  I-5 N via the ramp on the left to Vancouver BC, then Take exit 168B for WA-520 toward Bellevue/Kirkland, Exit onto US-2 E toward Wenatchee to the mountain. If not driving, there is an Amtrak bus from Seattle to Methow Valley (6 hrs).

Whistler Blackcomb

  • Distance from Seattle: 240 miles (~4 .5 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Yes, at Whistler Blackcomb Resort
  • Ability Level: All levels

If you thought some of the other ski resorts near Seattle are big, wait until you hear about Whistler Blackcomb. Home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler Blackcomb offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the entire continent. As the biggest ski area in North America, the resort area spans two mountains (Whistler and Blackcomb) and has over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain. There are so many runs at Whistler (over 200!) that you could ski for several days without having to repeat any trails.

For people who get bored easily, Whistler is a playground. Aside from skiing and snowboarding, there’s a town and an extensive luxury resort area to explore. With its huge variety and well-staffed center, Whistler is great for both beginners and expert-level skiers and riders. For non-skiers, the resort offers a tubing park, winter zip lining, and snowmobile tours.

How to Get There: If driving, start on I-5 N via the ramp on the left to Vancouver BC, then take exit 16 for BC-91 N toward North Delta/New Westminster, Merge onto Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 W to Blackcomb way to resort. If not driving, there is a bus from Seattle to Vancouver (4 hrs) then there is a free shuttle from Vancouver International Airport to the resort.

Mt. Spokane

  • Distance from Seattle: 314 miles (~5 hours, 40 min)
  • Accommodations Available: Not on site
  • Ability Level: All levels

Located near Spokane, Washington in Spokane Mountain State Park, Mt. Spokane is a local’s favorite ski area. Affordable and casual, this resort is beloved by Washingtonians. The resort has 52 runs across different experience levels, and 16 of them are open for night skiing. Also, on Fridays, Toyota owners ski for free! Visitors especially love the great value of this resort and the scenic, wooded, well-groomed trails. There’s also snow tubing available for all the non-riders and skiers out there.

How to Get There: If driving, Take the I-5 S ramp on the left to Portland, then Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Interstate 90 E/Bellevue/Spokane, to Mt Spokane Park Dr to Summit Rd. If not driving, there is a Flixbus from Seattle directly to Spokane, then a short drive to the mountain.

Ski Bluewood

  • Distance from Seattle: 291 miles (~5.5 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Not on site
  • Ability Level: All levels

Ski Bluewood is a fantastic option for skiers looking for pure, unfiltered slopes. You might find it strange to learn that Bluewood is famous for its trees – namely, hidden pockets of fresh, dry powder snow you can find between them. With some of the most affordable lift ticket rates in the United States, Ski Bluewood is comprised of 24 trails spanning beginner to advanced experience levels. It’s not one of the closest ski resorts near Seattle, but it’s well worth the trek to get there.

With a huge focus on sustainability, Ski Bluewood is 100% self-sufficient, which means the resort generates its own electricity. Visitors to the resort especially recommend Tamarack Trail, Huck Finn, and Tucannon for a fun adrenaline rush.

How to Get There: If driving, Take the I-5 S ramp on the left to Portland, then Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Interstate 90 E/Bellevue/Spokane, then take exit 137 to merge onto WA-26 E toward Othello/Pullman, Turn left onto NF-650 to resort. If not driving, the best way is to fly to Dayton, then drive to Bluewood ski area.

49 Degree North Mountain Resort

With 82 trails across its two peaks, 49 Degree North Mountain Resort is one of the most well-known ski resorts near Seattle. Located very close to the Canadian border, this resort has a mission to “cultivate a lifetime love of outdoor activities” (sounds like us, right?). You can find blue-vested “mountain hosts,” along the trails to provide tips and suggestions for the best runs.

Home to an even split of beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails, there’s something here for every level of snowboarder or skier. Beginners can enjoy green runs from the very top of the mountain, which is somewhat rare in areas that have more advanced trails.

How to Get There: If you are driving, take the I-5 S ramp on the left to Portland, then keep left at the fork. Follow signs for Interstate 90 E/Bellevue/Spokane, then continue onto Chewelah Calispel Rd/Clay/Flowery Trail Rd to the mountain.

Silver Star Ski Area

As one of the biggest resorts in British Columbia, Silver Star Ski Area has over 3,000 skiable acres with 132 trails in the Monashee Mountains. The snow here is 100% natural, as the region typically gets 23 feet of snowfall each year. Visitors mention that the front side of the mountain has some easier, more beginner-friendly runs, while the back side has more advanced slopes.

There’s a diverse array of winter sports activities outside of skiing and snowboarding, including ice skating, snowshoeing, and fat tire biking, and they have an all inclusive pass to take advantage of several activities the resort has to offer. Additionally, the nearby ski town has lifts right outside of its many shops, perfect for a mid-day ski siesta.

How to Get There: If driving, merge onto I-5 N via the ramp on the left to Vancouver BC, then take exit 255 for WA-542 E/Sunset Dr toward Mt Baker. From here, take the Trans Canada Highway/BC-1 E ramp to Hope and turn right to merge onto BC-97 S toward Vernon to the resort.

Big White Ski Resort

  • Distance from Seattle: 385 miles (~6.5 hours)
  • Accommodations Available: Yes, at Big White Ski Resort
  • Ability Level: All levels, mostly intermediate

As the third largest resort in British Columbia, Big White Ski Resort is named after the mountain it calls home – Big White Mountain, which is the highest summit in the Okanagan Highland. There are 119 trails on the property, with the majority rated as intermediate and above. It’s also the largest night skiing resort in Western Canada. If you’re looking for long, uninterrupted runs, the longest on-site is the Around the World Route, which runs from the top of the resort to Gem Lake.

Visitors like the resort’s focus on skiing and snowboarding and the outdoor experience. It’s not very commercial by design. There’s also snow tubing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, and sleigh rides you can do during your down time from the slopes.

How to Get There: If driving, merge onto I-5 N via the ramp on the left to Vancouver BC. Take exit 255 for WA-542 E/Sunset Dr toward Mt Baker. Then, take the Trans Canada Highway/BC-1 E ramp to Hope, then turn right onto Kelowna-Rock Creek Hwy/BC-33 E to Big White Rd.

Additional Resources for Skiing Near Seattle

What to Pack

  • Waterproof outerwear – Possibly the most critical pieces of clothing for your ski trip packing list is durable, waterproof outerwear. Burton and Helly Hansen are famous ski brands for having best-in-class clothing that will keep you warm in the coldest, snowiest conditions. Click here to shop ski jackets and compare prices.
  • Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
  • Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommend these ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive list of things to pack, read our guide on What to Wear Skiing & Snowboarding and our Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List to view our full packing list and gear recommendations for the slopes!

Related Articles