5 Dog-Friendly Hikes in Seattle

Pupper ready to dust off the ol’ Fitbit and hit the trail? We sniffed out some active adventures of varying degrees of difficulty fur you and your pal. Here are five of our favorite dog-friendly hikes near Seattle that will give both you and your tiny forest nymph a good workout and amazing views.

1. Ira Spring Trail – Mason Lake

  • Region: Mt. Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest 
  • Length: 6.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation: 2,420 feet gain / 4,320 feet highest point 
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

Wildflowers. Ridges. Meadows. Waterfalls. Lakes. Mountain views. Puppy views. Bathroom at the trailhead (for you—a dog’s bathroom is everywhere). Need we say more about Ira Spring Trail at Mason Lake?! No, but we will. The 6.5 mile trail is named after Ira Spring, a lifelong conservationist and nature photographer, and fittingly is a photographer’s dream. Once you put your pup in front of it….game over.

Your dog may be pulling you at the beginning, but we promise that not even fit lil’ princess will be able to keep her energy allll the way to Mason Lake at the top. Stop for a quick swim at Mason Creek before the serious climbing starts around 2 miles in. Take another dip while everyone’s panting calms down a little bit, and enjoy the gorgeous views of Bandera Mountain. Heck, bring gear and stay in one of the designated camping areas overnight!

Person and dog sitting on the ground looking at picturesque mountains in the distance
@seattlebred

2. Navaho Pass

  • Region: Snoqualmie Region
  • Length: 11 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation: 3,000 feet gain / 6,000 feet highest point
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

Ok. Deep breath. We know you’re nervous about that 11 mile number. This is definitely not a hike for the timid or for the first timer. While we know your could-chase-balls-for-hours Retriever likely could do this in their sleep, we are—well, human after all. But for those of you PNWers who hike all the time (we know you exist, you monsters that make the rest of us look bad!), we highly encourage you to try out Navaho Pass.

The hike starts out difficult right away, running sharply upwards alongside the babbling Stafford Creek (nbd). But don’t worry, that won’t happen the entire time! A more moderate climb sets in in the third mile, where you and your pup can wind through wildflower-strewn meadows and majestic ridges and passes. A good halfway point is a popular camping area where views of Earl Peak against an iron-rich, bright red landscape would make for incredible #dogsofinstagram post. But the views don’t stop there! If you do make it all the way, the scenes of Mount Stuart and the rest of Stuart Range and Ingalls Creek Valley to the east is just breath-taking. Even to the little mouth-breather next to you. 

Person crouching down to kiss dog on mountain
@pnw.nic

3. Anderson and Watson Lakes

  • Region: North Cascades Mount Baker Area 
  • Length: 6 miles roundtrip 
  • Elevation: 1,100 feet gain / 4,099 feet highest point 
  • Pass: Northwest Forest Pass

If you ignored the Navaho hike the minute you saw the words “difficult” or “uphill” —first, we see you. We hear you. We are you. Second, we have the right hike for you! Anderson and Watson Lakes is the perfect “choose-your-own-adventure” trail with multiple options  great for families and beginner hikers alike. Just one mile in, you get to a gorgeous, wildflower-laden meadow where you can continue right to Watson Lake or take a detour to the left towards Anderson Lake. The detour is a steep 1.5-mile climb, but the crazy views of Mounts Shuksan and Baker will make it worth it, we promise. Regardless of whether you detour to Anderson, continue on through the meadow along a rippling stream to Watson Lake. Don’t just look back to check on your dog—Mt. Baker’ll be popping up behind you as well (and your fren does NOT wanna miss that view)

@bernadoodleaspen

4. Mount Erie Loop Trail

  • Region: Puget Sound and Islands – Whidbey Island
  • Length: 5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation: 1,000 gain / 1,300 highest point
  • Pass: None

The perfect day trip–take an early morning ferry to Whidbey Island, hike Mount Erie, and still make the last ferry back! You can visit in conjunction with Whistle Lake or Sugarloaf (nearby popular locations), or just stick to Erie on its own. A large part of the winding trail is through open forest, then you’ll climb, and climb, and climb, and climb! When it feels like your legs are dead, you’ll finally reach…the parking lot. Yes, we’re serious–but don’t fret! Those views you’re looking for? Just across the lot!

@ollie_the_samoyed

5. Discovery Park Loop

  • Region: Puget Sound and Islands – Seattle
  • Length: 2.8 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation: 140 gain / 325 highest point
  • Pass: None

The infamous Discovery Park Loop Trail takes you through *three* different landscapes to pose Your Majesty in front of, if you like a good hike plus a great IG pic. Grassy fields? Check. Overlooking the Sound? Check. Forest? Check. The almost 3-mile loop may be only 10 minutes from downtown Seattle, but it’ll feel like you’re hiking miles away in the woods.

What are your favorite dog-friendly hikes near Seattle? Let us know in the comments!

Featured photo: Tadeusz Lakota

Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, then join our Dog-Friendly Seattle Facebook Group.

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