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Quick Escapes: 10 Trails Near Major Cities

The perfect metro-area trail: close, wild, uncrowded. Here are 10 major city options.

Phoenix | San Diego | San Francisco | Boston | New York | Philadelphia | Chicago | Seattle | Los Angeles | Austin

Seattle, WA
Find a surf-and-turf adventure at Discovery Park.

With the Olympics, Rainier, and the Cascades tantalizingly close, Seattle hikers have no lack of nearby destinations. But even those won’t do when you need a fix within 15 minutes. For that, head to Discovery Park on the west side of the city. The former military site encompasses 534 acres, with 12 miles of trails and two miles of protected beaches along Puget Sound. Take the 2.8-mile Loop Trail through Douglas fir, western red cedar, and big leaf maple. Thick forests give way to meadows at the South Beach Trail junction, which allows access to the shoreline. (Descending to the beach adds 300 feet of elevation change to your hike.) Kayakers: Start from the hand-carry launch at Golden Gardens Park, two miles north. And yes, on clear days you can see Mt. Rainier and other nearby peaks.

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