Look, folks, you’re in the PNW so go outside and explore nature. Not sure where to start? We’ve put this list together to accommodate all skill levels. Pro tip: Everett is the proverbial centralized launchpad for all of the best outdoor stuff this great state has to offer. So, good call on being here. (Thumbs up emoji).
This 29-mile paved recreational trail is for everyone: walkers, bicyclists, dogs, children and runners. The wide path runs along the Pilchuck River and past several cities. Along the way you can stop for craft beer, coffee, food, playing fields and playground recreation. Truly a scenic gem.
Lime Kiln Trail
A hike for the not-faint-of heart. This trail was used by miners a century ago and leads hikers up and down the Cascade foothills, past a deep gorge to a giant stone monolith: a kiln that was once used for smelting lime. The lime kiln is a great photo op. Stop at Granite Falls on the way out of town for a brew at the “local color” logger’s bar the Spar Tree.
- Moderate to advanced
This moderate-to-advanced hike leads upward to the peak of the tallest mountain in Snohomish County. The path winds up through thick forest and over fields of scree. Part of the year the path is covered in snow, making for a brisk trek. There’s a fire lookout at the summit that offers an imposing panoramic view of Washington State. A word of caution: the mountain is closed for part of the year due to snowpack and may not be safe for inexperienced/overambitious hikers.
One of the most beautiful hikes in the state less is than an hour from Everett. From the trailhead the path goes up moderately steep switchbacks through old growth forest. Small wooden huts line the path, perfect for taking a breather or a picnic lunch. At the top of the trail is a sweeping view of the blue-green treetops of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, as well a nice peek at the upper falls. This is a social media photo op worth sweating for.
This hike has a 1000-foot gain in elevation. If you get rained out you can always drive to the top, too. The mountaintop vista takes in Skykomish Valley, Fidalgo Bay and the San Juan Islands.
North Creek Trail
A four-mile urban hike that almost anyone can knock out in a single morning or afternoon. The paved path leads walkers through wetlands. There’s ample parking at the north trailhead (site of a Park and Ride) and the south end of the trail deposits walkers into the heart of the Mill Creek Town Center.
Lord Hill Regional Park
Trails wind through this 1,463-acre nature preserve, leading hikers, horseback riders and picnic-goers through old growth forest. The trails split off in several areas offering river and pond access. There’s plenty of wildlife to view in marshy glens and a stunning variety of plant life in all seasons including ferns, cattails, berries and wildflowers.
Popular hike to a scenic mountainside lake. The trail features waterfalls, mountain views, old growth forest and boardwalks. The route is easy enough to complete in a few hours, but steep enough to give a sense of accomplishment when you reach the top and gaze on rocky slopes and mirrored water. The crisp, alpine beauty of the lake is what cell phone cameras were made for.
North Cascades/Mountain Loop Highway
People come from around the country for the eye candy that the North Cascades can offer. Old growth forest, wetlands, waterfalls and downed hemlock trees. This is all in our back yard – and all accessible through the Lake 22 hike. The bland name “22” belies the natural beauty of this 5.4 mile round trip hike which has its outlet in a panoramic mountainside vista. The drive there on the Mountain Loop Highway is scenic as well. A day trip there and back is sure to reward the most jaded urbanite looking for respite in nature.