There’s nothing like escaping the city’s hustle and bustle for a short break to the wilderness. If you are visiting or living in Seattle, you don’t need to travel far to enjoy beautiful falls, dramatic peaks, exotic wildlife and or cross the border to Canada.
Taking a road trip from Seattle is easy whether you are a multi-generational mix family or a family with little ones. We’ve come up with five road trips to take from Seattle that are less than a four-hour drive each way:
1. Multnomah Falls
It takes three hours to drive from Seattle to Multnomah Falls Historic Lodge. Fall is the best time to visit Multnomah Falls for those who enjoy fall foliage and want to avoid crowds.
In Multnomah Falls, there’s an observation deck on the first level which is accessible by wheelchair. For better views, walk to the historic Benson Bridge, and if you are able, from the bridge you can continue your journey. Take it to the top through a steep trail and get a closer look at the falls. From the top, you can view the Columbia River Gorge.
Multnomah Falls is the second highest falls in America. It is a 1.2-mile hike from the Lodge to the Multnomah Falls overlook. You’ll need to be physically fit to climb because it involves climbing on steep switchbacks.
2. Mount Rainier National Park
Wildlife viewing is one of the attractions at Mount Rainier National Park. According to VisitRainier.com, the season and elevation will determine the type of wildlife you see in Mount Rainier National Park:
Coyotes can be seen along Stevens Canyon Road and Box Canyon, as well as near the “goat overlook” below Longmire. Red foxes are seen at the picnic areas around Paradise and Longmire. Although they are called “red” they often appear gray or black in color.
Columbian black-tailed deer, Mule deer, elk and mountain goat are some of the animals found on the east side of the mountain in September. You’ll get the best chance to see mountain goats at Summerland, Panhandle Gap, and Indian Bar.
You may also encounter cougars and black bears in the Park. Other activities in Mount Rainier National Park include:
- scenic gondola rides
- mountain biking
- trail running
- Northeast entrance – White River/Sunrise
- Southeast entrance – Stevens Canyon
- Northwest entrance – Carbon River
- Southwest entrance – Nisqually
Information: Mileage chart to Rainier National Park
3. Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve. With nearly a million acres, Olympic National Park consists of the forest, coastal and mountain ecosystems.
Olympic National Park is known as the wilderness lover’s paradise. Hiking is the best way to explore the park. Before you make your trip, print out the Wilderness Trip Planner and plan out your itinerary.
Day hikes are available for those who can’t spend a few days hiking and camping in the park.
Information: Olympic National Park mileage chart
4. Whistler Canada
If you like a longer drive, we suggest a four-hour drive to Whistler Canada. Whistler is year-round destination located in the southern Pacific Ranges of British Columbia’s Coast Mountains.
Get your R & R (rest and relaxation) at The Scandinave Spa after experiencing all the outdoor activities in Whistler. The Scandinave spa experience includes eucalyptus steam bath, sauna, cold bath, and relaxation in a solarium.
5. Port Townsend
For less than a two-hour drive you can visit Port Townsend, Washington’s Victorian Seaport. The waterfront is dotted with Victorian buildings and is designated as the National Historic District. Some of the Victorian houses to see are Rothschild House, Jefferson County Courthouse, and Port Townsend Post Office and Customs House.
Information: Port Townsend