Ten tiny treks to try today!

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A hike through the fall leaves at Squak Mountain State Park is fun for kids of all ages! Photo by Peter Stevens.

Nov. 14, 2018

Ever get that hiking bee in your bonnet? 

The all-of-a-sudden sort that sends you scrambling for your walking shoes? Then you look at the clock, and it’s 3 p.m. and you’ve got the neighbor’s barbecue at 6 p.m. and…

We get it! And we’ve got ’em—plenty of trails where you can seize the day in an hour or less. And just in time for National Take a Hike Day on Nov. 17! Bonus: the weather promises to be cool but clear for most of the state this weekend.

Here are 10 short hikes to try in Washington state parks. Some trails offer interpretive opportunities, and others require a bit of travel to get to, just in case you’re in no hurry to get back.

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♦Twin Harbors State Park 
Shifting Sands Trail
Length: .5 mile

Kids and adults alike will enjoy flat, pleasant hike along a grassy shore covered in soft sand. It’s ADA-compliant, and interpretive signs tell a short story as you listen to the music of the ocean waves. If you want to hang out longer, bring along a kite. This is one of the nicest places to fly your favorite colors in a consistent Pacific breeze!

♦Squak Mountain State Park
Pretzel Tree Trail
Length: .3 mile

The Pretzel Tree Trail at Squak Mountain is custom-made for kids (and kids at heart)! Through interpretive signs, an adorable field mouse hosts your short journey. Learn about the forest as you seek the Pretzel Tree. If you feel more ambitious, take on Double Peak Loop Trail.

♦Lake Sylvia State Park
ADA-compliant trail
Length: .5 mile

Lake Sylvia is a fairy forest dream year-round. And it reaches its peak in fall. Enjoy the .5 mile ADA-compliant trail, and then if you are feeling inspired, take in a mile or more of the park’s 5 glorious miles of gentle lakeside hiking.

♦Lewis and Clark Trail State Park
Riverside and Birding Trails
Length: .8 mile

Lewis and Clark is a true oasis! A verdant place in the heart of arid wheat fields, this park is a welcome respite if you are driving Highway 12. Meander along the mostly flat interpretive loop trail through the campground and along the banks of the Touchet River.

Jarrell Cove trail

Looking for lush? You will find that and much more on a walk around Jarrell Cove State Park on Harstine Island.

♦Wenatchee Confluence State Park
Interpretive Trail
Length: 1 mile

This park was made for walking! Wander along the shorter, ADA-compliant interpretive trail and enjoy the sunshine and warmth! This park is close to town, making for a convenient lunchtime walk for Wenatchee workers. If you feel ambitious, keep on walking and enjoy the Apple Capital Loop Trail!

♦Bogachiel State Park
Park trail
Length: 1 mile

Set your sites on Bogachiel for a short but breathtaking hike through the climes of the Hoh Rain Forest. This temperate rain forest is believed to contain the highest living standing biomass in the world, making the vegetation here nothing short of lush. Right off Highway 101 on the banks of the Bogachiel River, this park is truly a hidden gem!

♦Fort Worden Historical State Park
Battery Trail
Length: 1 mile

Take a walk into Victorian-era America’s military history! A 1-mile historic walk enriches your knowledge of this former fort as you explore the old gun batteries. Kids will love this hike! So much to explore and plenty of climbing and hiding to do.

♦Jarrell Cove State Park
Park trail
Length: 1 mile

A nice, flat trail in a tucked-away corner of lovely Harstine Island. Explore the riches of the South Sound’s waters. This park is a destination, and once you’ve arrived, you’ll be glad you made the trip.

Girl near the dunes copy cropped twin harbors

Even a short hike is enhanced by a playing-in-the-sand break! Step off the path and into the dunes for a little fun at Twin Harbors State Park.

♦Bottle Beach State Park
Park trail
Length: .7 mile

Love birdwatching? Bring your binoculars! This ADA-compliant hike on the short trail across the sand and grasses takes you to a bird-lover’s paradise! Close to Grays Harbor, this is site is designated as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.

♦Fields Spring State Park
Puffer Butte Trail
Length: 1 mile

1. Hike 1 mile to Puffer Butte. 2. Huff and puff. 3. See for MILES! Once you are at the top of the butte, you have a 360-degree view of the northern end of Hells Canyon, the Wallowa Mountains and the Grand Ronde River.

Learn More

Want to find more fantastic hikes — plus trip reports, tips, recipes, food for thought and more!
Check out “Find a hike” on the Washington Trails Association’s website.

Have a favorite go-to short hike?
Tell us about it! And share your pictures on our story share page! We just might feature your submission!

Looking for more ADA–compliant outdoor opportunities?
Peruse our new, interactive ADA recreation page!