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Easy Weekday Hikes

Posted by Loren D at Aug 08, 2012 06:35 PM |

Try these close-to-home hikes and trail runs before or after work or school. No need to wait until the weekend to get your hiking fix.

Whether you are trying to reach your Hike-a-Thon goals or just need a way to unwind after your work or school day, we've put together a few close-to-home hikes around the state. Start with these, and use our Hike Finder map to explore others.

Have a favorite morning, lunchtime or evening hike? Post it in the comments section at the end of the post.


Coal Creek Falls

In this shady 2.5 mile roundtrip, you can race up to the waterfall and be at your desk before your boss walks through the office door. The next day, you can return and pick a different route in the extensive Cougar Mountain trails system.

Rattlesnake Ledge

A classic hike that's a little farther east on I-90, this 4-mile hike is a great way to up your elevation without hitting the high country. It's a busy trail, so you won't be alone, but if you go during the week, you'll share the pain of the switchbacks and the glory of the views with fewer fellow hikers than on a typical weekend.

Poo Poo Point

If you go all the way up, it's a 7-mile roundtrip. Even if you cut it short, this hike can make a great trail run or hiking workout. The trailhead can be a bit tricky to find, so read a few of the recent trip reports about where to park and how to find it if you've never been.


Green to Cedar River Trail

If your daily commute takes you from Tacoma to Seattle, veer east on your way and walk or run along this wide, flat trail in central Maple Valley. With offshoots into Lake Wilderness, the Lake Wilderness Arboretum and the Maple Valley Community Center, you can make this hike as long as you need it to be.


Rufous Hummingbird Nisqually NWR
Rufous Hummingbird at Nisqually NWR. Photo by Bob and Barb.

Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail

Off of I-5 between Olympic and Tacoma, you can revisit the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge trails again and again on your morning commute. To start with, try the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail for a 4.0 mile roundtrip hike where you are guaranteed to spot some wildlife (especially if you go in the morning.)

Capitol State Forest - Capitol Peak

If you're trying to up your miles mid-week, give yourself at least 3 or 4 hours to hike the 9-mile out-and-back  trail in the Capitol State Forest. You'll get rolling ridge tops and a summit with mountain and ocean views.

McLane Creek

If you're short on time, race around this 1.5 mile loop that starts follows a creek and beaver pond. If you're out early, this may be a great chance to spot a beaver. If you commute with small children, this would be a great hike to bring them along on before dropping them off at daycare.


Spencer Island

This 2.6 mile hike is so close to downtown Everett, you can do it on your lunch break. This is a relatively flat tromp with a few distant views, but the real joy is escaping the office and spotting the waterfowl and songbirds that abound here.

Lord Hill

Drive only 25 minutes from downtown Everett, and you'll have your pick of 11 miles of flat trails through forests, meadows and along the Snohomish River in this park named for an old homesteader. Whether you have an hour or three, you'll be able to put together a hike here.

Lunds Gulch

Walk through the gulch on the way to the beach and back, this is a hike to start or end your workday. It’s only 2.5 miles roundtrip, and you likely won’t be alone on the trail. If you get out of work late, you may be rewarded with lovely sunset ocean views on this hike.


Oyster Dome view
The view from Oyster Dome. Photo by Jon Lee.

Fragrance Lake

You'll get a good workout on this 5.5-mile climb on this well-maintained trail loop. It's a popular spot, so getting to it early on a weekday morning (maybe with a thermos-full of coffee) may be your best chance for experiencing the views on your own.

Oyster Dome

This 6.5 mile roundtrip hike with stellar views out over on the south side of Larabee State Park would be a great choice for people who live south of Bellingham (since it's about a half an hour drive from downtown, perhaps more with traffic).

Alger Alp (South Route)

A 20-minute drive South of downtown Bellingham, this 4-mile roundtrip has views and a healthy 1,000 ft of elevation gain. You may not escape the sound of traffic from I-5, but you're pre-or post workout will be rewarded with a view.


Lacamas Lake Park

Depending on how much time you have, there are lots of different loops you can create out of the network of trails in this park only 20 minutes up the Gorge from downtown Vancouver. A loop up along Lacamas Creek, over to the Camas Meadows, around Round Lake and back past the Pothole Falls is about 4.5 miles.

Cape Horn

If you've got a bit more time, go farther up the Gorge to Cape Horn Trail. The full 7-mile loop provides fantastic views of the Columbia River Gorge, an intimate look at the Cape Horn Falls and a challenging workout as it climbs and descends the rocky slopes of Cape Horn. Check out the map in our hiking guide before you.


Westberg Trail

Clocking in at only 4-miles roundtrip, this trail makes a good climb either before or after your work day (though the afternoon may prove hot). If you're going for elevation gain, you'll get 1,710 and a grand view over the valley. Keep an eye out for snakes in the gully section near the beginning.


Cowiche Canyon

The gentle grade of this rail-to-trail canyon hike makes its 6-mile roundtrip possible to sneak into your work or school week Whether you hike or run it, take some water and keep your eye open for wildlife (including rattlesnakes.)


Liberty Lake

If you don't have time to complete the entire 8-mile loop, just use a portion of this trail as an out-and-back. The forest shade will keep you cool on hot afternoons.

Antoine Peak

On the north side of I-90 in the Spokane Valley, Antoine Peak is as close to your commute as a hike can get. Go in the early morning to spot wildlife. (If you go, tell the WTA community how the trail conditions are in a trip report.)

Mount Kit Carson

Because there are several trails that lead to the top of Mount Kit Carson at Mount Spokane State Park, you can visit this one again and again, or link up with the trails on Mount Spokane.


Additional hikes for Spokane

My other work day favorites are the Dishman Hills trails and Iller Creek. Once xc starts, I'll get to count these for Hike-a-Thon while I work instead of just before/after work--I coach, and these are some of my team's favorite training routes!

Posted by:

"Holly Weiler" on Aug 09, 2012 09:47 AM

Thanks, Holly!

Thanks for adding to bank of hike ideas around Spokane, Holly! I spend a lot of time around Post Falls and Spokane, and am always looking for more hikes right there.

Posted by:

"Loren Drummond" on Aug 09, 2012 09:47 AM

Wallace Falls hike

Absolutely stunning.this trails is very rough as the trail is filled with roots and rocks.A very good workout.

Posted by:

"sammy723" on Aug 10, 2012 10:16 PM