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7 Hikes for Seattle-Based Seniors

Posted by Johnine Larsen on April 16, 2019
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Ask someone what they love about living in Seattle, and odds are they’ll mention hiking. Unless they’re seniors. Health risks, long car rides, and the physical demands keep many older people off the trails.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Hiking trails span a huge range; there’s a difference between climbing up Mt. Rainier and simply spending some time in nature. We’ve found seven hikes that are perfect for Seattle seniors. These hikes can be done by almost anyone. We picked these seven in particular based on:

  • Elevation (flat hikes that are easier on hips, knees, and overall stamina)
  • Distance (hikes that are short and/or have easy shortcuts back to the parking lot)
  • Proximity (hikes that don’t require long, uncomfortable drives and stay out of areas without cell reception)
  • Beauty (some of Washington’s best scenery is right by the city)


Tradition Lake Loop, Tiger Mountain

2.9 miles
150’ elevation gain
Discover Pass* required

A short and easy trail. Tiger Mountain has trails that run into each other, so it’s easy to make this shorter or longer depending your fitness and energy.


Redmond Watershed Preserve

4.5 miles
400’ elevation gain
No parking pass required

Mostly flat and easy, but there are a few hills mixed in. For being located right in Redmond, it’s usually surprisingly uncrowded. If you live in the Eastside, this makes for a convenient afternoon excursion.


Seward Park

2.4 miles
140’ elevation gain
No parking pass required.

You can’t miss Seward Park from the sky—it juts into Lake Washington—but it’s one of the most forgotten parks for people who live in Seattle. The trails are short and easy, and you can enjoy old growth forest and water on three sides.


Discovery Park Loop Trail

2.8 miles
140’ elevation gain
No parking pass required

Maybe THE most classic hike in Seattle. The Discovery Park Loop Trail is short, well-maintained, and mostly flat, although descending to the beach means 180 feet of elevation gain. But those who want to avoid hills can still do this hike and just stay on the shorter loop around the bluffs. Either way, Discovery Park reveals gorgeous views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.


Carkeek Park

Up to 3.5 miles
Up to 800’ elevation gain
No parking pass required

Just off of 105th Street, Carkeek Park is an oasis of nature amid north Seattle. It offers 3.5 miles of trails along Piper’s Creek, and if you follow the trail all the way down to the shores of the Puget Sound, you’ll get quite the workout with elevation change. In addition to views of the Olympic Mountains, this urban hiking trail will also show you the historic Piper’s Orchard.


Washington Park Arboretum

Up to 5 miles
50’ elevation gain
No parking pass required

The area is surrounded by houses—it’s just south of the Montlake Cut—but the trails feel removed from the noise and rush of the city. You can hike through this network of flat, well-maintained trails and appreciate the botanical garden. The trails are clearly marked, so no route-finding is needed. You can also stop by the Japanese Botanical Gardens for a peaceful stroll.


Ebey’s Landing

5.6 miles
260’ elevation gain
Discover Pass* required

This one takes you an hour north of Seattle, and it takes you up 260 feet of elevation gain, but the scenic rewards earned it a place on our list. Ebey’s Landing overlooks the Salish Sea and offers beautiful beach-bluff scenery. There are also great birding opportunities and chances to see seals and whales. And on a clear day, you can see Mount Baker and the Olympic mountains, too.


*A Discover pass lets you park in Washington State Parks. An annual pass costs $30, or a day pass costs $10. You can buy one online or at places like Fred Meyer or REI.