Since starting Microsoft I've come to the crazy realization that not everyone was born in Washington State! I've definitely taken a lot of the adventures I grew up on for granted. This state is a really special place and I want to share some of my favorite adventures.
I went through some of my pictures this summer and laid out a few of the spots that I went to that I think are super cool. Most were from hikes but some were just places I hung out with friends.
Distance from Seattle: 34 miles
Just outside of Seattle is this really beautiful park with a few trails on it. I've only done 2 or 3 of the trails myself. It's incredibly popular and if you've seen pictures of Seattle folks on Tinder on a cliff with a lake in the background, it's probably Rattlesnake.
Distance from Seattle: 95 miles
A bit further out of the city is the big beauty herself, her presence announced by the locals: "The Mountain is out".
There are plenty of places to camp and hike within the park, though be careful if you have dogs as they're strict about where they're allowed. I went up to Mount Rainier this past weekend with a few coworkers. We stopped at the various viewpoints along the way, but basically just went up to Paradise and back.
Rainier is easy as a quick day trip or you could spend a full-week. Up to you.
Distance from Seattle: 82 miles
If you're into skiing I'd recommend checking out Stevens Pass. I went up a few times this past winter to take the dog out (and take the Subaru out into the snow). There's a sweet spot between when the snow hits and when skiing starts that the parking lots are ripe for letting dogs and kids run around.
Distance from Seattle: 117 miles
Out past Stevens Pass on Highway-2 there's a little Bavarian village that draws massive crowds. It's packed during Oktoberfest and Christmas, but it's a good time. Each weekend during the holidays they do a tree lighting ceremony in the evening where they light up the town's Christmas lights. I went two or three times this past season just to drive (didn't stay long enough to see the lights) but it's a cute little mountain town.
Distance from Seattle: 65 miles
This lake is tucked back pretty far, the hike itself is only about 2.5 miles in but the drive off of the road takes awhile. It's usually not super crowded, but it's definitely not a secret. I've seen folks camp out here or just bring a hammock for the day and let the kids play in the lake.
Distance from Seattle: 47 miles
This was actually one of my favorite hikes that I did this summer. The trail itself is really popular so I'd recommend getting there early to get parking. There are a few great viewpoints along the way (I won't spoil the falls for you) and plenty of places to stop and rest.
Distance from Seattle: 17 miles
Super close to Seattle up I-5 is the city of Edmonds. They've got a really cute downtown area and they're right off of the water. My friends and I frequently go down to docks during the summer to watch the sunset.
Distance from Seattle: 7 miles
Another good spot for sunsets not too far from downtown Seattle.
Distance from Seattle: 54 miles
We went on a really foggy day so I didn't get a very good view of the lake itself. This was easily the most intense hike I did all summer. We took about 6 hours to do the whole thing. The views from the top are stunning, and there are a few bridges and waterfalls along the way.
If you're going to do this hike, make sure to wear the proper gear. I saw some folks with flimsy tennis shoes on and they were NOT having a good time.
Meadowdale Beach Park
Distance from Seattle: 19 miles
This place is super close to where I live. It's a pretty steep hike down, but once you're down there you're right off of the water. Some folks let their dogs off-leash to run in the water and others just sunbathe. It feels pretty far removed from the city right behind it, so I thought it was pretty relaxing.
Olympic National Forest
Distance from Seattle: 108 miles
We went on a pretty non-descript trail in the forest and had a great time. There are a few really popular trailheads but if you look hard enough you can find a trail that you'll be on your own for. Some of my friends went backpacking out here, and lots of folks go camping.
Since it's pretty far out from Seattle you should get a pretty good view of the stars out there.
Distance from Seattle: 103 miles
Near the Olympic National Forest (or maybe inside of?) is a really nice lake. My family stayed at a cabin near here for a weekend, it's super quiet and peaceful. The sunsets were beautiful.
Deer Creek Trail
Distance from Seattle: 67 miles
Another hike in the Cascades. We wanted to go to the Monte Cristo ghost town, but the trail was blocked off because of snow. We also didn't make it very far along this trail for the same reason.