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Coyote Trail Loop, Bridle Trails State Park
Showy preserves like Discovery and Seward Parks lure in the lion’s share of visitors, leaving this East Side gem quiet even on sunny days. Wander through 482 acres of giant western red cedar, bigleaf maple, lush salal, and bushy ferns, and pack extra Ziploc for the park’s abundant salmonberries (ripe in June), blackberries (August), and morels (November). Hike the 3.5-mile Coyote Trail loop to circle most of the park (add on the 1.7-mile Trillium Trail and the 1-mile Raven Trail, both loops, for a longer walk or run).
Bandera Mountain, Mt. Baker-Snowqualmie NF
The peaks east of Seattle are thick with trails and Cascades vistas, but the 7.8-mile (roundtrip) hike to this 5,741-foot peak is the locals’ choice for its beargrass-dotted meadows, lake views, and supremely steep summit approach. From the Ira Spring trailhead, ascend through an evergreen forest, then pop out of the trees to views spanning the Snoqualmie Valley. Hurtle up the final push to the summit ridge—so steep you can touch your next switchback—for a mountaintop view reaching to Mt. Rainier and beyond.
Gothic Basin, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie NF
Seattleites usually can’t spend a night in a campsite this nice without getting lucky in a permit lottery. But somehow, Gothic Basin’s sea of pointy peaks, scatter-gem lakes, and boulder-strewn tundra remain open to anyone willing to climb 4.5 miles and 2,800 feet to reach them. From Barlow Pass, skirt the Sauk River on an old roadbed for a mile before jerking skyward on the Western Creek Trail. The route turn scrambly in places after you pass the 40-foot waterfall locally known as King King’s Shower, then ascends to the basin (tangled with wildflowers in July). Scout for an established campsite in the fragile subalpine environment: The prize perch sits near a 35-foot-deep Froggy Lake, a clear pool under 6,213 Gothic Peak and 6,613-foot Del Campo Peak (class 3 and 4 summits worthy of a climb).