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Gray Getaways: Hikes for a Rainy Day

Where to go hiking in the rain.

Hiking in the rain. While it might not be your first choice, rainy day hikes can offer solitude and a special ambiance, especially if you're dressed for the occasion. 

So the next time it's a wet day in November (and December and January and February and...), throw on a raincoat (or rain skirt) and find out what's so great about hiking when it's wet. 

As always, we've got lots of suggestions for places if you need somewhere to start. Besides big trees on these trails, you'll find rivers, waterfalls, lakes and abundant flora along the way.

If you can't get out today, save these hikes in your My Backpack profile for later. 

Before heading out


Olympic Peninsula

Tumwater Falls Park

Location: Olympia
Mileage: 0.5 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 30 feet

Tumwater Falls Park. Photo by lpick10..jpeg
Colorful leaves alongside the raging Deschutes River in Olympia. Photo by trip reporter lpick10.

This half-mile scenic trail along the Deschutes River has three cascading waterfalls with interpretive signs featuring pictures that illustrate the history of the area. Glimpse the old Olympic Brewery from the lower falls and let the mist from the cascading falls blend in with the seasonal rain.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Quinault National Recreation Trails

Location: Pacific Coast
Mileage: 4.25 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 350 feet

Quinault National Recreation Trails. Photo by KatieJM.jpg
Quiet and wet trails in the Quinault Rainforest. Photo by trip reporter KatieJM.

Enter a world of lush green under a towering rainforest canopy of Sitka spruce and western hemlocks. This mossy loop meanders through a boardwalked bog, past crashing creeks and the shore of Lake Quinault, returning via the shorter interpretive loop. This system of interconnecting trails provides you with options to lengthen or shorten your hike.

Hiking with kids? Consider trying out the shorter Quinault Rainforest Nature Loop nearby.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Notch pass

Location: Hood Canal
Mileage: 8.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 2700 feet

Notch Pass. Photo by cswestii..jpeg
The mossy trail sign to Notch Pass. Photo by trip reporter cswestii.

The Notch Pass trail climbs steeply through classic Olympic forest, surrounded by redcedar and hemlock trees cloaked in moss. The switchbacks are constant, and there's not much for views on your way to the pass, but look closely at your surroundings and you'll be surprised at how many varieties of moss spring to life on the forest floor — especially in the rainy season.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


North Cascades

Old Sauk River Trail

Location: Mountain Loop Highway
Mileage: 6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 150 feet

Old Sauk River Trail. Photo by Gabep..jpeg
A dusting of snow along the shores of the Sauk River. Photo by trip reporter Gabep.

This hike is a lovely stroll along one of the Skagit River's surging tributaries. The roar of the river is your constant companion as you weave between forest and stream bank on this level trail.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


edfro creek preserve

Location: Mount Baker Area
Mileage: 9.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: minimal

Edfro Creek Preserve. Photo by trip reporter gberry..jpeg
A sunnier winter day at Edfro Creek Preserve. Photo by trip reporter gberry.

At the confluence of Skookum Creek and the South Fork of the Nooksack River lies the 135-acre Edfro Creek Preserve. It is a very accessible forest, with a wild quality but a nicely-maintained out-and-back trail. Once known as the “Thousand Puddles Trail,” it is now much-improved — hikers can expect to keep their feet dry on trail, which is mostly gravel for the first mile or more.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


bay to baker trail

Location: Mount Baker Area
Mileage: 3.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 100 feet

Bay to Baker Trail. Photo by wafflesnfalafel..jpeg
A stormy day at the Bay to Baker Trail. Photo by trip reporter wafflesnfalafel.

Hate driving in the rain? If you live near Bellingham, you can stick close to town and still get a hike in on the Bay to Baker trail. After a long day at the office, this route offers a convenient dose of nature right in the heart of town. Starting from Little Squalicum Park, the route follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way and connects a string of city parks.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Central Cascades

Kelly creek via martin creek

Location: Stevens Pass - West
Mileage: 5.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1100 feet

Kelley Creek. Photo by ejain.jpeg
The bridge crossing Kelley Creek. Photo by trip reporter ejain.

Start off with a bit of railroad history, then follow a trail into the Wild Sky Wilderness. Parallel Martin Creek on a bench above the waterway, winding upward through the forest to meet Kelley Creek and the old Kelley Creek trail. WTA helped construct the connector, designed to increase the connectivity of the trail system of the Iron Goat. One word of warning - this trail may have quite a bit of snow. Be sure to read the trip reports before you go.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


hidden lake (lake wenatchee)

Location: Stevens Pass - East
Mileage: 1.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 220 feet

Hidden Lake. Photo by BradJohnson..jpeg
Hidden Lake. Photo by trip reporter BradJohnson.

Looking for the perfect first hike for young kids? Here's a moderate, flat snowshoe with a beautiful winter destination. The first half-mile of the trail to Hidden Lake adjacent to Lake Wenatchee is ADA-accessible, as the trail winds through old-growth fir and large cedars.The trail traverses west providing peek-a-boo views of Lake Wenatchee and Dirty Face Mountain. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Big creek trail

Location: Cle Elum Area
Mileage: 9.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 2400 feet

Big Creek Trail. Photo by Ups n Downs..jpeg
Lush greenery along the river. Photo by trip reporter Ups n Downs.

This one's a challenge. It's a narrow, rocky trail that will likely have snow in the winter months. If you choose to go, you'll wander past streams, a deep canyon and old-growth trees on the Big Creek Trail. Note that there are a few creek crossings, so be sure to bring water-proof shoes (though we hope you would anyway!). You may also want to brush up on navigating snow bridges.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


oxbow lake

Location: North Bend Area
Mileage: 1.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain: 56 feet

Oxbow Lake. Photo by WalkieTalkie..jpeg
Oxbow Lake during a light sprinkle. Photo by trip reporter WalkieTalkie.

Still accessible via the Middle Fork Snoqualmie Road, the Oxbow Lake trail offers a loop opportunity in the presence of calm waters and serene second-growth rainforest. The distinct horseshoe (or "oxbow" shape) was formed by the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River eroding the ends of a loop between Russian Butte and the Mount Si massif.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


South Cascades

Greenwater Lakes

Location: Chinook Pass
Mileage: 4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation gain:
300 feet

Greenwater and Echo Lakes. Photo by zpershing..jpeg
Raging rivers along the trail to Greenwater Lake. Photo by trip reporter zpershing.

For solitude and relaxation, few areas can compete with Greenwater and Echo Lakes. Under the dense forest shelter, the trail passes the turquoise waters of both Greenwater and Echo Lakes. Though long, the miles fly by on the mostly even trail. Be on the lookout for elk, deer, coyotes and other local wildlife that frequent the area.


Angel Falls Loop

Location: Cowlitz River Valley
Mileage: 3.4 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 1100 feet

Angel Falls Loop. Photo by Hike ALL The Hikes..jpeg
The epic falls at Angel Falls Loop. Photo by trip reporter Hike ALL The Hikes.

A great hike for shade (read: protection from the rain) and well-maintained trails with views of waterfalls and rock-faces, the Angel Falls Loop also includes a stop by Covel Falls (or Curtain Falls). It is an ideal hike for starting out with a family or for taking during the winter months. This is a network of trails, so be sure to have a map before you go.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Horseshoe and Chinook Creek Falls

Location: Dark Divide
Mileage: 8.4 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 700 feet

Horseshoe and Chinook Creek Falls. Photo by NatalieH.jpg
Siouxon Creek (left) and Horseshoe Creek (right). Photos by trip report NatalieH.

This excellent romp heads up a lush river canyon boasting three gorgeous waterfalls with riverside campsites for an overnight, or a longer, more challenging loop. Be sure to check for snow levels and accessibility before venturing here in the depths of winter.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Dry Creek

Location: Mount Adams
Mileage: 8.4 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 350 feet

Dry Creek. Photo by Solohiker35.jpg
A wet day along the Dry Creek trail. Photo by trip reporter Solohiker35.

Low-lying with impressive trees bordering each side of it, this trail is a nice option year-round. The Doug-fir, bigleaf maple and hemlock forest canopy in this narrow valley provides a relief from the rain, and in winter the elevation means it's unlikely to have heavy snow to navigate. Since it's a former railroad grade, the trail is easy generally gentle enough for hikers of all types. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Central Washington

Wenatchee Confluence State Park - horan Natural Area

Location: Wenatchee
Mileage: 2.5 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 640 feet

Horan Natural Area. Photo by ThayneT..jpeg
A calm winter day at Horan Natural Area. Photo by trip reporter ThayneT.

Located within the 197-acre Wenatchee Confluence State Park, just minutes from downtown Wenatchee, the Horan Natural Area is a wonderful place to take a quiet stroll and contemplate the beauty and importance of our state's rivers. Here, the wild Wenatchee River flows into the harnessed Columbia.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Chamna Natural Preserve

Location: Tri-Cities
Mileage: 3.8 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 30 feet

Chamna Natural Preserve. Photo by Kyle Pomraning..jpeg
Canada Geese at the Chamna Natural Preserve. Photo by Kyle Pomraning.

Chamna Natural Preserve is a 276-acre park hidden in central Richland along the Yakima River. The riparian nature of the park makes it an oasis for wildlife in a part of the state dominated by dry shrub-steppe habitat. One can expect to encounter a wide variety of native and migratory bird species throughout the year as well as deer, rabbits, porcupine, coyotes, beaver, and if you are lucky, rivers otters frolicking in the Yakima.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Tieton River Nature Trail

Location: Yakima
Mileage: 6.75 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 300 feet

Tieton River Canyon. Photo by mytho-man..jpeg
Layers on the Tieton River Trail. Photo by trip reporter mytho-man.

The Tieton River Nature Trail is an easy hike through the Tieton River Canyon. Along the way, you'll enjoy a ramble along the river, impressive geologic formations, and relative solitude. The trail is best walked in the spring for wildflowers and in the fall for some of the most spectacular fall color you’ll ever see. It’s also a nice snowshoe or cross-country ski in the winter when there is snow on the ground.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Eastern Washington

Little spokane river natural area - knothead loop

Location: Spokane Area
Mileage: 7.0 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 1000 feet

Knothead Loop. Photo by elizabethjw..jpeg
A dusting of winter snow on the Knothead Loop trail. Photo by trip reporter elizabethjw.

You'll get a good workout on this seven mile loop just outside of Spokane — it's a great way to get a lot of miles and elevation close to home all year round. If you visit in winter, note that the trail can get icy, so be sure to bring traction devices. In spring, it's a wildflower haven.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Colfax Trail

Location: Palouse and Blue Mountains
Mileage: 6.2 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 260 feet

Colfax Trail. Photo by RichP..jpeg
A cloudy day at the Colfax Trail. Photo by trip reporter RichP.

The Colfax trail is a Whitman County Park and nature preserve that runs along an old railroad grade. Being a rail-to-trail conversion, there is virtually no elevation change so it's a nice walk for those who want to saunter along a river bank and enjoy basalt cliffs and occasional wildlife. It's a quiet trail and accessible year-round. 

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Similkameen Trail

Location: Okanogan Highlands/Kettle River Range
Mileage: 4.0 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 40 feet

Similkameen Trail. Photo by Jen Coleman..jpeg
River views along the Similkameen Trail. Photo by trip reporter Jen Coleman.

A rail-to-trail conversion, this paved and graveled route offers visitors opportunities for biking, hiking, birding, wildlife sighting and wildflower-spotting, depending on the season. Photographers will love the river views, biologists the salmon viewing, and history buffs the story of the trail.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Sa Teekh Wa Trail

Location: Methow/Sawtooth
Mileage: 2.0 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 minimal

Sa Teekh Wa Trail. Photo by Tari N.jpg
A sunnier view along the Sa Teekh Wa Trail. Photo by trip reporter Tari N.

The Sa Teekh Wa Trail is a two-mile interpretive trail along the Chewuch River from downtown Winthrop. The trail is easily accessed from a bridge at the northwest end of Winthrop's boardwalk. It's a pleasant stroll through the pines along the river, which is also a major salmon spawning area.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Puget Sound and Islands

Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve

Location: Bellingham Area
Mileage: 6.5 miles of trails
Elevation Gain: varies

Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve. Photo by Tiger Hiking..jpeg
Rushing falls at Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve. Photo by trip reporter Tiger Hiking.

Spanning almost 4430 forested acres that house the headwaters of Austin and Beaver Creeks, Lookout Mountain Preserve is located just south of Lake Louise Road and Sudden Valley in Whatcom County. Various trail crews have worked to clean this area up, leaving beautiful recreation options for Bellingham residents.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Little Mashel Falls - Bud Blancher Trail

Location: Seattle-Tacoma Area
Mileage: 4.5 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 500 feet

Little Mashel Falls. Photo by Mare..jpeg
Little Mashel Falls framed by colorful fall foliage. Photo by trip reporter Mare.

Three waterfalls, multiple viewing areas, and two different trailheads provide great choices for an excursion to Little Mashel Falls. The tallest waterfall plunges over 90 feet — so these falls are far from “little”. The names derive from the Little Mashel River (pronounced like “Michelle”). Head for the Bud Blancher trailhead for a shorter, easier to follow, and less muddy trek to your destination.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


paradise valley conservation area

Location: Seattle-Tacoma Area
Mileage: 5.0 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 150 feet

Paradise Valley Conservation Area. Photo by jessicajolene.jpg

This wild wood started out as a working farm and timber producing homestead over one hundred years ago. It became part of the Snohomish County Park system in 2000, and now is in the process of returning to the wild state it once was. Hikers can watch this dynamic landscape by following the many trails that run through it.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Spring Lake/Lake Desire park

Location: Seattle-Tacoma Area
Mileage: 3.0 miles, roundtrip 
Elevation gain:
 minimal

Spring Lake Lake Desire Park. Photo by Erwin Buske..jpeg
Vibrant greenery surrounding the Spring Lake trail. Photo by trip reporter Erwim Buske.

This 390-acre forested site is home to a bald rocky outcrop, a bog and 3 miles of trails situated between the two lakes. You'll find a decent understory to keep you dry as you explore the area. Plus — if you get any sun breaks, you can head up to Echo Mountain (the 900-foot-tall rocky outcrop nearby) to get great views of two lakes and the Cascade foothills beyond.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide