Categories: Outdoor Adventures

Seattle Outdoor Activities: 9 of the Most Epic Adventures

Well-known for its outdoor adventures, Emerald City is no misnomer for Seattle. With gorgeous green hills and blue waters, visitors will care to experience all this Pacific Northwestern city has to offer. Whether you’re a climber, hiker, sailor, or otherwise, you’re bound to catch some sun and exercise. Furthermore, some of these Seattle activities are free! Use our helpful guide to see the best Seattle outdoor activities.

1) Hike and Rock Climb at Mt Si

A popular destination for mountain climbers, Mt. Si provides incredible views of Mount Rainier, Seattle, and the Olympic Mountains. Bring a pack of water and other necessities for the four-mile, 3,150-foot elevation gain trek. 

If you favor sport rock climbing, take Exit 32 off I-90 towards Little Si. There are lower as well as higher grade climbs available, so there are routes for everyone. World Wall I offers a varied selection of routes on a long, overhanging wall. Also, some routes remain dry even when it’s raining, so keep that in mind even if the weather seems dismal.

King County Parks Your Big Backyard/Flickr

2) Bike around the City 

Seattle’s parks offer countless biking trails. If you want to see multiple neighborhoods, try biking the 27-mile long Burke-Gilman Trail, which wraps through several of Seattle’s notable northern areas such as Fremont and Ballard. Moreover, taking your bike onto the Washington Ferry to road bike around Bainbridge Island remains a local favorite. The 33-mile long trail gives spectacular views of the city skyline, Puget Sound, and beyond. 


3) Mountain Bike Duthie Hill’s Trails  

Duthie Hill offers 120 acres of hilly trails on the Sammamish Plateau for both novice and expert mountain bikers. Just 30 minutes from the city, the adventure park showcases cross-country trails, a practice area, technical routes with adrenaline-racing features, and more.  

Des Rusyan/Flickr

4) Take Sailing Lessons

A staple of the local community, sailing around the city’s waters is a must-do Seattle outdoors activity for water sport enthusiasts. In fact, you don’t have to be an expert, and there are multiple companies to help you gain your sea legs. Check out the Center for Wooden Boats for sailing lessons on Lake Union or Sail Sand Point on Lake Washington. Further, those looking to sail on bigger boats with groups can trek to Windworks Sailing Center at Ballard’s Shilshole Marina to journey across the waters of Puget Sound.

5) Experience Heights with Seattle Ballooning 

Fly high with Seattle Ballooning for an unbelievable trip. Gain a one-of-a-kind view of Mt. Rainier, soar over lakes, rivers, and vast fields, and possess a unique vantage point of Seattle skyline. Ride at sunrise or sunset for awe-inspiring scenes, toasting the day to 2011 reserve champagne and famed Bakery Nouveau croissants.

Sean O’Neill/Flickr

6) Take Scenic Flights via Seaplane or Helicopter

Enjoy the sensation of soaring over the city skyline to take in beautiful views of Seattle. Circle around Elliott Bay, downtown Seattle, waterfront estates, and more in a seaplane. You can also journey to Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens for a 90-minute scenic tour Rainier’s 25 glaciers and Mount St. Helens’ 2-mile wide crater. 

As an alternate means of flying, visitors can take SeattleHeliTours to soar above the city in a helicopter. Take in incredible views of Mount Rainier, Lake Washington, the Space Needle, Snoqualmie Falls, and beyond. With three routes to choose from, you can experience a different angle of the Seattle area with each ride.

7) Kayak through the Locks

Kayak through the Ballard Locks, or Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, to see Seattle’s diverse wildlife such as sea lions, seals, and blue herons in Shilshole Bay and then open waters of Puget Sound. Kayakers can also explore 22 miles of Lake Washington and around Portage Bay and Lake Union.

8) SUP and Kayak at Alki Beach

Stand up paddleboard (SUP) around the waters of Alki Beach for beautiful views and an excellent workout in the sun. Take local classes or go on your own to spend a day out on the water. As an alternative, kayaking around Duwamish Head on Elliott Bay also gives breathtaking views of the shoreline, city skyline, and mountain ranges. 

Tiffany Von Arnim/Flickr

9) Climb Mount Rainier

As the most extensively glaciated peak in the conterminous United States, Mount Rainier proves to be an exciting but doable challenge. Thousands of people each year visit the 14,410-foot active stratovolcano. To reach the summit, climbers must be fairly fit, as visitors gain more than 9,000 feet of elevation over more than eight miles. However, that doesn’t mean you need to be an experienced climber to try. Furthermore, ensure you are well-prepared, especially in terms of checking the weather conditions before setting out. Also, climbers must be at least 18 years old, obtain a permit, and pay a climbing cost recovery fee. 

Begin Your Seattle Outdoors Adventure

No matter which Seattle outdoors activity you choose, you’ll feel like a true outdoorsman in no time. What’s on the top of your list?

Talena McNeely

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