Make use of all that Gore-Tex at Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park.

While the wettest season in Washington state is winter, somehow the spring, when we venture outside, can feel the most damp. When it drizzles (or pours), hikes to viewpoints and vistas should go on the back burner; try a wild wander through attractions suited to rainy days.

Wallace Falls

Highway 2

When precipitation makes only close-range views visible, waterfalls make for the ideal hiking destination. Extra water only turns a torrent of water into something more impressive. Just outside Gold Bar, Wallace Falls State Park offers well-maintained trails with easy access, plus an optional detour to a lake that looks its best when misty and moody. The waterfall has several drops, falling almost 400 feet in total. Stay on the well-marked route here; the park's off-trail slopes are treacherous even before rain makes them slippery.

Swamp Trail

Issaquah

Lean in to the Tiger Mountain trail so well-designed for kids that even its name is appealingly slimy. But what's surprisingly not squishy: the footpath itself, designed to drain well and appropriate for even unsteady toddlers in galoshes. Interpretive signs—well, maybe more like imaginative signs—tell the story of Zoe, the Swamp Monster, and the woody, mossy surrounds. 

Fort Ward Park

Bainbridge Island

The former military base on Bainbridge's south end was long a state park but is now overseen by the city. The long, straight trail parallel to the water is well-suited to bikers (but wide enough for everyone) and passes the moss-covered remnants of the old gun batteries that once protected Bremerton's shipyard. Almost a mile of shoreline offers views of Rich Passage in Puget Sound and plentiful birds and marine life.

Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Trail

North Bend

Many organizations, from local nonprofits to the forest service, came together to rebuild a riverfront trail that was prone to washouts and landslides. Following a three-year closure, the trail reopened in 2021. The Middle Fork Valley receives more than 100 inches of rain per year, meaning a wet day shows off its quintessential essence. With mostly a gentle grade through forest and along the river, it is an ideal route for wandering up to six miles before turning around for the return trip.

Sol Duc Falls

Olympic National Park

Yes, another waterfall, but one with a distinct feel: Sol Duc Falls is no single pillar but rather a wide tumble of water seen from various viewing platforms on a short trail. The greens of the Olympic rain forest are incomparable, the ferns, leaves, and mosses each celebrating a different hut. But why this bit of rain forest, this waterfall in particular? Because the day can end with a dip in the Sol Duc Hot Springs pools, a fitting end to any day in the Washington wet.

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