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8 Secret Urban Hikes for Seattle-Area Kids and Families

From woodsy loops to lakeside trails, perfect starter hikes for little kids

Bryony Angell

Published on: May 03, 2022

Curly haired toddler hiking away from camera with sunshine filtering through trees best hikes for little kids seattle bellevue eastside

City nature walks for little legs

As a mother and nature lover, I was thinking about my son's outdoor enrichment from the moment he was born. When he turned 3, we started to explore one of the Seattle area’s greatest offerings — hiking!

We started off easy and local, as I wasn’t about to commit to a long drive to the mountains only to find out I had a resistant preschooler on my hands (or in my arms). During those early years, we investigated the wealth of tucked-away wild areas in the Lake Washington region. We discovered some jewels, from very short wetland walks to a nearly 2-mile hike with significant elevation gain. 

What follows are eight local trails which we’ve used as a training ground for later summer hiking in the mountains. These trails are “secret” urban hikes — part of official open space in and around Seattle but not so well-known. Each offers different ecosystems to explore, most are maintained by dedicated neighbors, and each trail varies in distance. The trails are listed by region, and then from shortest to longest.

Use the arrows above the image to check out the options.

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