Five Hikes For Spectacular Fall Colors Around Seattle

Posted on September 09, 2016, 1:00 pm
5 mins

As Albert Camus wrote, “Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower.” In Seattle, we are just starting to see fall colors appear, but in the areas surrounding Seattle, the autumnal displays will soon be peaking. It’s time to go for a hike! Here are five destinations near Seattle with some of the best fall colors in the region.


Naches Peak Loop

β–Ό Location: SE Mount Rainier, Cayuse Pass/Steven’s Canyon

πŸƒ Roundtrip Length: 3.2 miles

πŸ” Elevation: 600′ gain, highest point 5850′ asl

🐺 Dogs: Not allowed

πŸ• Camping: Not allowed

This is one of the easiest and most accessible trails in the region, and that makes it quite popular in good weather. Meadows of huckleberry turn the hillsides into a carpet of orange and crimson in the fall at Naches Peak Loop trail. On a clear day, you will have fantastic views of Mt Rainier, but there is a magic to seeing the landscape glow under a grey sky, too. Learn more on the WTA site.

A photo posted by Lauren Leakey (@latourvi) on


Blue Lake

β–Ό Location: North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20)

πŸƒ Roundtrip Length: 4.4 miles

πŸ” Elevation: 1050′ gain, highest point 6254′ asl

🐺 Dogs: Not allowed

πŸ• Camping: Not allowed

Larches form pillars of gold among the evergreens around Blue Lake. The reflections of the fall colors in the pristine alpine lake make for a striking display against the granite peaks towering above. In the summer, Blue Lake is also a perfect place to cool down with a swim after a long hike. (No lifeguard on duty.) Learn more on the WTA site.


Heather-Maple Pass Loop

β–Ό Location: North Cascades Highway (Hwy 20)

πŸƒ Roundtrip Length: 7.2 miles

πŸ” Elevation: 2000′ gain, highest point 6650′ asl

🐺 Dogs: Allowed

πŸ• Camping: Not allowed

Another gem on the North Cascades Highway, the Heather-Maple Pass Loop is a little longer and more challenging than Blue Lake. From the hilltops, you’ll have great views of Lake Ann, and of course more larches and a spectrum of fall colors. Learn more on the WTA site.

A photo posted by Nandita Mani (@nanditamani) on


Granite Mountain

β–Ό Location: Snoqualmie Pass

πŸƒ Roundtrip Length: 8.6 miles

πŸ” Elevation: 3800′ gain, highest point 6254′ asl

🐺 Dogs: Allowed

πŸ• Camping: Not allowed

The steep grade of Granite Mountain is for more seasoned and fit hikers. In a relatively short space, one climbs from mossy forest to stunning panoramic views of fall colors and mountain peaks from the Lookout at the summit. When the snowfall comes, Granite Mountain is also a popular destination for snowshoers. Unfortunately, avalanches are not uncommon. For those who want less risk on their hikes, summer and fall are the best seasons to visit Granite Mountain. Learn more on the WTA site.

A photo posted by Jovie (@jcobeard) on


The Lakes of The Enchantments

β–Ό Location: Central Cascades

πŸƒ Roundtrip Length: 18 miles

πŸ” Elevation: 4500′ gain, highest point 7800′ asl

🐺 Dogs: Not allowed

πŸ• Camping: Permit Only

If you are a serious hiker in Washington State, you have probably already fallen under the spell of The Enchantments. Year-round, the shapely peaks and pristine alpine lakes draw intrepid hikers from around the region. The austere beauty of the Upper Enchantments is otherworldly, and when you reach the Middle and Lower Enchantments you’ll come across a number of dramatic lake views. Inspiration Lake, Perfection Lake and Leprechaun Lake each offer stunning views, reflected in their glassy surfaces. Beneath the screes and snowy crags, the shores of the lakes are gilded by larches in the autumn. It’s a quintessential PNW view one simply must see in person to appreciate. Learn more on the WTA site.

Top image by Jeffrey Pang via Wikimedia Commons.