Dog-Friendly Hikes: Washington State

Dog-Friendly Hikes: Washington State

Posted by Jen Sotolongo, Long Haul Trekkers on 6th Feb 2017

Photo Credit: YouDidWhatWithYourWiener.com

With the Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges, there is no shortage of mind-blowingly beautiful hikes in Washington State with some of the best views in the country. Many hikes in the state require a NW Forest Pass , which you can purchase for $5 per day or get an annual pass for $30. State Parks require a Discover Pass, also $30 annually.

Easy

Catherine Creek (Columbia River Gorge) — This short hike in the Columbia River Gorge offers spectacular views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River. Come during the spring when the colorful wildflower spectacle will guide your way, thanks to the poor, shallow soil that does not permit grasses to overtake the flowers. Bring a picnic lunch, or better yet, dinner and watch the sun set as it casts a pink alpenglow over Mt. Hood.

Lewis River Trail (Gifford Pinchot National Forest) — One of the premier waterfall hikes in Washington, Lewis River is a relatively flat 6.6-mile out and back where hikers pass several spectacular waterfalls. This hike is great year round, and a winter visit will only intensify the water flow and the waterfalls may even be partially frozen, which is a particularly beautiful sight. If you know your mushrooms, this is the perfect place to look for chanterelles.

Sheep Lake to Sourdough Gap (Mt. Rainier) — Given that dogs are not permitted in Mt. Rainier National Park, this is the best place to head with your pup for a taste of what’s inside. This short and easy hike offers a glorious view of Mt. Rainier and Crystal Lake, and is particularly beautiful on a clear, fall day.

Moderate

Maple Pass Loop Hike (North Cascades) – Maple Pass is a classic Washington hike will allow you to take your pup as close to North Cascades National Park as you can get, thanks to the fact that this trail runs along a corridor just outside of the park boundaries. A fantastic hike any time of year, the best time to visit is during the fall to catch the changing colors of the plants and trees. The 7-mile loops offers sweeping views of alpine lakes and heaps of North Cascade peaks.

Marmot Pass via Upper Big Quilcene (Olympic Peninsula) – This 10.6-mile RT hike can be done as a long day hike or as an overnighter. Another hike that skirts the edges of a national park, Marmot Pass sits just outside of Olympic National Park this is THE must-hike trail in the Olympic Peninsula. If you’re making this an overnight trip, leave your heavy packs at camp at Camp Mystery and hike the remaining ¾-mile hike to Marmot Pass for open views of the Olympic Range.

Ed’s Trail to Silver Star Mountain (SW Washington) – If views of Washington and Oregon’s most prominent peaks are what you’re after then Silver Star Mountain is the hike for you. The 5.5-mile exposed trail to the twin-summited mountain is lined with meadows filled with one of the best wildflower shows in the region.


Difficult

Oyster Dome (Bellingham) — Just outside of Bellingham, one of Washington’s most darling outdoor towns, Oyster Dome offers a sea to sky hike in the Chuckanut Mountains. This popular hike rises a steep 2,073 feet in three miles, and in exchange for the effort, offers 180 degree views of the Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, and Olympic Mountains. Reward yourself with a beer afterward from Paws for a Beer, Bellingham’s own dog-friendly bar.

Blanca Lake (Henry M. Jacskson Wilderness) — Blanca Lake is a challenging 7.5-mile hike that’s well worth the effort. Bring a picnic lunch, a swimsuit, and a towel and make the trek to the turquoise lake in the heat of summer. Be sure to snack on the delicious huckleberries lining the first three miles of the trail as you walk through secondary forest.

Mailbox Peak (Snoqualmie) — Choose from one of two options to reach the top of this mountain: Difficult or Most Difficult. The Old Trail to Mailbox Peak is legendary, both as a bucket list hike for local hikers and as a brutally steep, rooted hike that inevitably requires a call for rescue due to injury or getting lost. Either path you choose, Mt. Rainier greets you, front and center at the top.

Mt. Dickerman (North Cascades) — This challenging peak ascends 4,000 feet, leading to some of the best views in the state. A series of switchbacks through dense forest eventually lead to a ridge where ripened wild blueberries provide the perfect opportunity to rest and take in the view. Continue on along the ridge to complete the 8.6-mile RT hike and stop and marvel at all the snow-capped peaks dotting the skies around.

Looking for other hiking destinations? Read about Dog Friendly Hikes in Oregon and Dog -Friendly Hikes in British Columbia. For guidelines on which National Parks are dog-friendly, check out a full list here.

Check out our Dog Hiking Checklist to make sure you have everything you need

Jen Sotolongo is a writer and photographer and runs Long Haul Trekkers, a blog about independent, responsible travel with a pet. Over the past 2 years, she and her partner have taken their dog, Sora on a cycle tour spanning across Europe and South America, proving that adventures can include your dog, no matter where in the world they may be.