Hi there, this is innkeeper Linsy writing for the Greenlake Guest House Blog.
Born and raised in the neighborhoods of the greater Seattle area, I grew up exploring, playing, and getting muddy all around the Pacific Northwest. There is still plenty I’ve yet to explore, but what I have found is that there is something to offer everyone, no matter the age or physical restrictions. There are lots of great day trips and weekend trips to pull together. On days when I’m really craving a nature fix in my life and don’t have the time to get far out of the city I have three hiking spots where I typically end up. Hopefully you find a little magic in them.
If you are looking for some of that classic PNW trail, greenery, and views without heading too far out of the city and not too taxing on the body I’d recommend heading over to Discovery Park, about 20-30 minutes from Greenlake Guest House, depending on traffic. This loop trail is 2.8 miles roundtrip, just the same length as Greenlake, but with more hilly trails and waterfront. If you start out at the Visitor Center you can grab a map and start exploring.
You could easily spend up to 3 hours or more wandering around this park and discovering all the gems or you can choose to do a quick loop in a little over an hour. Do check a tide chart before heading out and try to get down to the lighthouse during low tide so you can peruse the beach for shells and crabs and anemones! On the way to the lighthouse, depending which way you start the loop, you’ll find lots of birds, ferns, historic buildings and more. And even if you get down to the beach in high tide there is lots to play in and discover.
Poo Poo Point is a near and dear hike to me as I’ve spent many years returning to this trail and rediscovering myself. I’d also consider it a ‘backyard’ hike in my books as I went to high school in Issaquah and could pop on over as I pleased in those years. Now the highlight of this hike is timing everything just right to catch the paragliders jumping off the top of the mountain in late Spring and Summer. If I recall, around 12p, 3p, 5p, and 7p were when the crew would jump off but it is all dependent on weather conditions and bookings.
Depending on your experience I’d plan 1-2 hours to hike to the top. I think it is on the more moderate side of hiking difficulty. Of all the trails I’ve done, this one always seems to get my knees a bit cranky on the way back down but I can’t seem to resist the views. So, bring some walking sticks, a good amount of water, and some sunscreen/sunglasses and you’ll be good to go. If you are stopping for some food or sips in town I’d recommend Rogue Issaquah Brewhouse where the locals go, or anything along Front street if you’re fancying a little more variety.
There are a plethora of easy/moderate hikes in the foothills of the Cascades but if you are looking to make it a day of seeing waterfalls I’d recommend hiking Twin Falls in North Bend. I like to start my own hiking season with this one as I’m just starting to get into shape. If I recall this is about a 2 hour hike roundtrip give or take depending on your speediness to get through. It is a heavily used trail so parking may be challenging on the weekend. However, on a week day you should easily get in. A Discovery Pass is required for this hike which you can find at the local Seattle REI, or for purchase at the trailhead entrance to Twin Falls.
This is a great hike to soak in some of that piney Pacific Northwest air, vibrant moss, and lots of falling water. Afterward, you can head into North Bend for a bite and sip or head over to Salish Lodge to rest your legs and see beautiful Snoqualmie Falls. A classic destination point for many locals and tourists, Snoqualmie Falls never fail to impress. The Falls are great on their own, but I enjoy making a day of it by doing a day hike to Twin Falls and grabbing a small bite or beer at the Salish Lodge and Snoqualmie Falls on the way back into town.