Here are five great hikes within a short drive from the South Sound. Add them to your summer bucket list if you’re looking for outdoor adventures!
Note that these are all true hikes-away from bathrooms and a mile or more in length. You’ll want to bring along the 10 essentials.
If these sound like too much, you may want to check our 10 Great Nature Walks. -all short and close to civilization!
I’ve linked to the Washington Trails Association through out this post. It’s a simply wonderful resource. One of my favorite things about it is that you can read recent trip reports on any hike you’re considering. These are all hikes my family has enjoyed in the summer months.
Denny Creek Slide-I’m planning a more detailed post on this one in the future. It’s an easy, flat hike through pretty woods. Shortly after leaving the trailhead, smooth rocks form a natural water slide kids can play in during warm months. There are several small waterfalls just beyond, or go all the way to Franklin Falls
(the last little scramble down to the falls is very steep and slick) .Note that this is an extremely popular hike-best to do on a weekday, or go early to find a parking space. Rocks are also hard (‘um….like rocks?) and slippery, so that part should be left to older children. There are a few places where the creek is slow and calm enough to let little ones splash, but it is shockingly cold, and you’ll obviously need to watch them.
Greenwater Lakes-Beautiful scenery the whole way, mostly flat, and there are several good turn around spots. You can even take the dog! This link mentions Echo Lake, which is further in, but Greenwater Lake makes a fine turn around for a shorter outing.
Skookum Flats/Falls -Pretty, wooded trail along a river. Lots of giant stumps and rocks to explore, and it ends at the base of a waterfall. Note that actually going to the base of the waterfall requires a steep, uphill climb-not for young children. Also, the river water is swift moving and cold year round. You need a Northwest Forest Pass.
Grove of the Patriarchs-You have to go into Mt.Rainier National Park (and buy a pass) to do this one, but it’s great. Short, flat, and you get to walk across a rope bridge to a magical island of giant trees. Note that some of the trip reports reference Silver Falls. You can add that on to this hike, but it will be much longer. You can easily just go the grove and back again.
Sheep Lake-Parts of this are uphill, but it’s an easy, gradual climb, and you get rewarded with a great lake at the end that’s perfect for kids who like to splash and play. This would also make a nice, first backpacking trip. Note that you will need your bug spray. I was nearly eaten alive on this one! You’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass
For still more ideas, check out Best Hikes With Kids: Western Washington & the Cascades by Joan Burton.
You can find this one at the library, but I recommend investing in a copy. We’ve used ours for years now, and it’s been well worth the small investment (the link is my Amazon affiliate) Take a look inside at Amazon.
Got a favorite family hike I should add? I’d love you to share!