A likely reason you came to Washington for school, or decided to stay here from childhood, is our easy access to the outdoors, our alpine lakes, mountain spires, and rushing rivers that even a novice at recreation can enjoy. If you happen to be around for Spring Break as week 9 closes and finals, thankfully, will come to an end too, and you have the desire to get outside if winter quarter has been keeping you up all night in study lounges, here are a few of my favorite hikes that are in close reach that I, born and raised on the east side, would recommend you check out.
1. Teneriffe Falls
Driving distance from UW: 40 minutes (via I-90)
This relatively hidden hike just a stone’s throw up the road from the more trekked Little Si and Mount Si trails brings you, after a little bit of hustle, right underneath a mesmerizing waterfall, where you’ll likely have the trail to yourself if you go early. If you’re seeking solitude, look no further than here.
2. Ira Spring Trail—Mason Lake
Driving distance from UW: 55 minutes (via I-90)
When my friend and I couldn’t decide on a hike to do one Monday in July, she finally coaxed me into this, which I now give her continuous thanks for. Just before Snoqualmie Pass, bustling with skiers and snowboarders and those seeking out a good snowball fight, are little chains of gorgeous alpine lakes, so head to Mason Lake, a rewarding all year round. If there’s still too much snow for your liking, try Annette Lake instead.
3. Fisher Lake
Driving distance from UW: 1 hour 50 minutes (via WA-522 and U.S. Highway 2 East)
If you seek both solitude and are willing to challenge yourself, Fisher Lake will surely not disappoint, as a hot afternoon in September only greeted me with two other visitors the entire ten miles. As long as you don’t mind a longer drive and come prepared with a killer playlist, Fisher Lake holds a unique outdoor experience that one needs to experience at least once in their lifetime.
4. Old Robe Canyon
Driving distance from UW: 1 hour (via primarily I-5 and Washington SR-92)
If an intensive Pacific Northwest hike isn’t your taste, or perhaps you don’t have all day to enjoy the outdoors but still want to escape campus, Old Robe Canyon is a nice little jaunt next to a calm river underneath a serene forest. Grab as many friends as you can and make a day out of this side-of-the-road gem.
Washington Trails Association is your outlet for finding all the trails in your wildest dreams to explore all Washington has to offer, from Seattle to Spokane, and includes helpful information about what others observed on your intended hike, so make sure you check here so you stay up-to-date on the trail’s information.
Have fun getting out there!