As a city encased by mountains and sea, Seattle is rife with temptations for its residents who love outdoor recreation. And there sure are a lot of them: while Seattle certainly has its fair share of grey days, when the sun comes out so do its people, and in droves.
Whether you like to spend your time hiking, paddling, climbing—or doing pretty much any other outdoor activity—Seattle has the landscapes and communities that will empower you to get out, play hard, and, most importantly, have fun.
Here’s how some of Seattle’s best outdoor experiences break down:
Trails:Seattle’s park system provides a great network of trails right within the city. Discovery Park is a locals’ favorite for trail runs, featuring forests, beaches, and mountain views. Cyclists will love the Burke-Gilman, an 18.8-mile paved trail that runs along the Ship Canal and Lake Washington. And, just outside the city, there are enough hiking trails within the I-90 corridor to keep you busy for a lifetime.Union, Washington, and Greenlake, this city is practically filled to the brim with water. Many Seattleites know there is no better way to spend a sunny summer’s day than exploring the city by boat, and serious paddlers will continue to take out their vessels year round. For those looking for a bit more of a thrill, there are fun white water rivers—like the Wenatchee or Skykomish—within easy access from the city, too.
Seattle has long been a great city for climbers because it has so many ways to get in good mountain time close by. Aspiring alpinists may want to start with an ascent of the Tooth, which was first climbed nearly 100 years ago. Experienced traditional climbers could spend season after season at Index, which was largely developed in the 1970s and 1980s, and still never get bored. And then there’s the burgeoning bouldering scene at Leavenworth. Play around on the problems that have already been established here, or get in on the action by scouting out new ones—and contribute a piece to Washington’s climbing history yourself.