You'll find nearly 700 miles of trails in Washington state parks, from short
interpretive nature walks to challenging long-distance treks. Deception Pass
alone has 38 miles of trails that wander through forests and sand dunes, along
rocky saltwater headlands and beside clear freshwater lakes. Climb up Scarborough
Hill behind historic Fort Columbia for views across the Columbia River to Oregon
and beyond. Spend an afternoon hiking in the timbered Cascade foothills to
thundering, plummeting, 265-foot Wallace Falls. And don't miss the gorgeous
wildflowers that bloom throughout spring and summer on the Puffer Butte trails at
For information on wheelchair-accessible trails see ADA Recreation.
For still more hiking opportunities see "Long-Distance Trails" below.
Mountain Biking Trails
Mountain bikes are permitted on trails in nearly three dozen state parks.
Beacon Rock on the Lower Columbia River has 20 miles of biking trails; Dosewallips
on Hood Canal offers five miles of rideable beach. Bikers who breeze past waiting
cars and onto the San Juan Island ferries are rewarded with lots of good mountain
biking at scenic Moran State Park.
For still more biking opportunities see "Long-Distance Trails" below.
Horses and riders are welcome on most ocean beaches and on established trails in
10 parks. At Bridle Trails, located at the edge of metropolitan Seattle, horses
have the right of way on 28 miles of trails. Battle Ground Lake has a primitive
horse camping area and five miles of riding trails, while Steamboat Rock offers
10 miles of trails in a classic Central Washington landscape of sagebrush and bare
basalt cliffs. Horses can be rented at Lake Wenatchee for both day and overnight
For still more riding opportunities see "Long-Distance Trails" below.
The Cascadia Marine Trail (stretching along the inland waters from Olympia to
Point Roberts) and the Willapa Bay Water Trail
(embracing unspoiled Willapa Bay) are the first two trails in Washington designed
for kayaks, canoes and other non-motorized, beachable boats. Water trails offer
unsurpassed views of Northwest scenery and wildlife while providing access to pullouts,
campsites and other public amenities along the way.
An overnight primitive site fee is
charged for state park campsites along both trails.
This paved trail wanders for 37 miles alongside the Spokane River from Nine
Mile Falls, just outside Spokane, all the way to the state line. (If you like,
you can keep on going right into Idaho.) Several significant historic sites are
marked along the way, with many more signs still to come. Centennial Trail is
open to hikers, joggers, bikers and in-line skaters. Certain portions of the
trail are open to horses as well.
John Wayne Pioneer Trail
The John Wayne Pioneer Trail follows the former roadbed of the Chicago-Milwaukee-St.
Paul-Pacific Railroad two-thirds of the way across Washington, from the western slopes
of the Cascade Mountains to the border with Idaho. The 100-mile portion from Cedar
Falls (near North Bend) to the Columbia River near Vantage is managed as Iron Horse
State Park. It is open to hikers, bikers, equestrians and horse-drawn wagons in
summer, and to snowmobiles, dog sleds and cross-country skiers in winter.
More Rails-to-Trails Corridors
Two other former railroad routes are gradually being transformed into recreational
trails by Washington State Parks. The Willapa Hills Trail stretches 56 miles from
Chehalis to South Bend, rambling through pastoral valleys to tidewater Willapa Bay.
The Columbia Plateau Trail travels 130 miles from East Pasco to Fish Lake (near Spokane),
through the channeled scablands and pine forests of eastern Washington. Only certain
sections of these trails are currently paved or graveled. Future phased-development
plans call for additional surface improvements and the addition of primitive campsites.