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Whidbey Institute labyrinth. Photo by Archana Bhat.

Walk a Labyrinth to Explore Your Own Path to Discovery

Labyrinths are an invitation to journey inward. How you experience that journey is up to you, but these suggestions on where to go and what to consider as you walk can get you started. | By Richard Porter

Fellow hiker, where are you headed next? It’s probably somewhere out there. If you’re like me, you have a list of next hikes saved to your phone or taped to your fridge — bucket-list destinations at the end of the trail. Like many people, I’m drawn to the hills for the gauzy waterfall, the picturesque mountain, a plunge into the alpine swimming hole.

But what about hikes where the destination isn’t out there? What about the concentric walk that leads you into inner realms?

Now that’s a different story.

Labyrinths offer avid walkers a different type of trek. These paths guide you in a meandering route designed to evoke a contemplative mental, emotional and spiritual state. Labyrinths have been with humankind since the advent of recorded history and probably go further back than that.  

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Trout Lake Abbey. 

The labyrinth is a cross-cultural puzzle, an emblem that is interpreted again and again as it comes to us, down the centuries and around the world. French Christians placed labyrinth mosaics at the entrances of their cathedrals to confound the devil, to lose him in the paths. Neolithic people constructed their labyrinths as part of fertility rites of spring. The Cretans believed that a minotaur lived in the center of the labyrinth and when he bellowed with rage the earth shook.

The symbolism is one of paradoxes. Labyrinths appeal to the basic human desire to create order out of confusion. Labyrinth walkers get lost to find themselves. They become disoriented to the world around them to become oriented to their higher selves.

Also, labyrinths are just fun in the way that all puzzles are fun. They lure passersby into a game, a dance of diversion and engagement.

In the era of smartphones, GPS and geotagging it’s a wonderful gift to lose yourself for even a few minutes. So next time you want to go hiking, instead of going out there, try going within. You may be surprised by what you discover.

Keep reading for a suggestion of labyrinths across the state. This list is only a beginning, once you’re looking you may be surprised how often you a find a labyrinth.

Trinity Lutheran Church
, Pullman
Just outside their sanctuary, the church has a labyrinth and a nearby prayer garden. The labyrinth is available for walking prayer and there are also benches nearby. If you’d like more ideas on how to walk a labyrinth, the church has a pamphlet with ideas to get you started at

Spokane Community College, Spokane
Take a break from classes — or from your everyday life — with a stroll around the brick labyrinth at Spokane Community College. The campus is along the Spokane River and if you’d like to expand your time exploring, just cross the river and take a walk on the Centennial Trail. 

Riverfront Park, Wenatchee
This grass and brick labyrinth is along the Columbia River and the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail. After a twisting trip through the labyrinth, you can further explore the trail, which stays along the river and is 10 miles if you do the whole loop. 

Gilbert Park, Yakima
Gilbert Park has a labyrinth of stone bricks twisting through the lawn, right by the parking lot. It would be a great location for a picnic. Enjoy the wide open park with plenty of space to play or just relax. Or, on warm days, take a break under one of the many trees.

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Lavender and views of Mount Adams at Trout Lake Abbey. 

Trout Lake Abbey, Trout Lake
Trout Lake Abbey is a sanctuary with beautiful grounds, which include a rock-lined labyrinth, surrounded by lavender and with a view of Mount Adams. The 23-acre sanctuary was started by two friends, a Zen Buddhist monk and a Druid priest. It was originally a farm, and food and flowers are still grown there. Visitors can explore the grounds, but due to Covid precautions, some buildings are closed and overnight visits are on hold for now. Usually, the sanctuary hosts retreats and other gatherings.;

Wiggums Hollow Park, Everett
The labyrinth at Wiggums Hollow is compact and follows a narrow route of colored brick around its tightly-wound course. Because there’s so many curves, give yourself some time to hike this maze. There’s a playground, open fields and skate park nearby, so feel free to bring your kids.

St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle
This revered cathedral in Capitol Hill offers a year-round outdoor labyrinth of stone. The labyrinth is available to the general public for free. From the vantage point of the hill, you can see the twinkling lights of Seattle — a perfect perch for reflection over the city spread below.

Seattle Center, Seattle
The Artists At Play Plaza is located right next to the Museum of Pop Culture. This is an extremely kid-friendly labyrinth, as it’s flanked by a climbing structure with ropes and slides, as well as other playground equipment. All of it is in the shadow of the Space Needle.

Chambers Creek Regional Park, University Place
Chambers Creek offers plenty of opportunities for exploration. The 930-acre park includes an extensive series of trails. And it features a labyrinth in a reclaimed gravel pit. Find the labyrinth near the environmental service building. While you’re there, you can also check out a rain garden and plenty of native plants. 

The Labyrinth Mosaic and Halls Hill Lookout, Bainbridge Island
Enjoy quiet reflection at this intricate labyrinth that overlooks the Salish Sea. The location also features a Buddhist prayer wheel, stone sculptures and a 500-pound bell. The Bainbridge Island labyrinth has twelve circles carefully designed to match lunar and seasonal cycles. The path also is covered in inscriptions that impart wisdom to travelers.

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Labyrinth at the Whidbey Institute. Photo by Archana Bhat. 

Whidbey Institute, Clinton
Whidbey Institute is a beautiful space for a contemplative walk. Trails wind all around the property, and the rock-lined labyrinth is a great destination on its own, or as part of a longer day. The Whidbey Institute is dedicated to creating an environment for learning, with a focus on creating a future where people and the environment can live together in harmony. They work with partners to offer retreats and workshops.

Earth Sanctuary, Langley
Get blissed out on Whidbey Island at the Earth Sanctuary labyrinth. The maze is in the middle of a nature preserve and features a nearby sculpture park designed to evoke meditative thoughts in visitors. Earth Sanctuary is open to visitors every day of the year during daylight hours. There is a fee of $7 per person to visit.

HJ Carroll Park, Chimacum
A stone-lined labyrinth offers a space for contemplation among a larger park on the Olympic Peninsula. After winding through the labyrinth, you can explore a native plant garden, take your kids to the playground, play disc golf, walk along the barrier-free trail around the perimeter of the park or explore the nearby Rick Tollefson Memorial Trail.

Find more labyrinths at

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Washington Trails Magazine. Support trails as a member of WTA to get your one-year subscription to the magazine.