With the warm weather here till late September, there is no better time to put on your outdoor gear and head out to the hills for some summer activities. So grab your backpacks and boots as with these six epic trails in Yakima, or just a short drive away! These hiking trails are ranked from easy to hard for beginner and expert hikers.

Yakima hiking trails
The off-season at Boulder Cave is important because Big-Eared Bats use the cave as a hibernation spot. Bats are a big reason why those who like to explore caves should always remember to start their journeys with a pair of clean, sanitized shoes to keep the caves healthy for the bats! Photo credit: Seb Hutchinson

Boulder Cave

Length: 1.2 miles
Gain: 173 feet
Discover Pass required

Starting on an easy hike, don’t miss Boulder Cave. This route is an out-and-back type trail. However, some people choose to walk through the water that will lead back to the parking lot. (Please only do this if you have previous experience or a guide who knows the way back!) The trail is relatively flat and takes around 31 minutes to complete.

The unique part about this trail is, of course, the cave! The route will lead you to the mouth of the cave carved out years ago by Devil’s Creek, where you can walk inside. You will immediately notice the coolness of the cave compared to the heat outside, and you may not want to leave it on those hot summer days.

Good to Know About Boulder Cave

  • You will walk through a pitch-dark cave and will need a flashlight.
  • Dogs are allowed and must stay on a leash.
  • Parking fee
  • Timed reservation
  • The cave has a delicate ecosystem, which includes bats. When planning a hike through any cave, please start your journey with clean, sanitized shoes. This will keep you from tracking diseases or germs from other caves or forests into the cave’s fragile ecosystem.
  • Once you return home, remember to clean your shoes again and do your part to preserve wildlife.

To read more about the Boulder Cave trail, visit here. To learn about Bolder Cave’s new timed reservation requirements, visit recreation.gov.

Tieton Nature Trail

Length: 3.3 miles
Gain: 121 feet
Discover Pass required

Just outside of Naches, along the river, is Tieton Nature Trail. As an easier hike that takes around an hour to complete, this is an excellent choice for a casual hike or biking. With lots of wildflowers, incredible geological sights, and the sounds of the Naches River, this hiking trail is extremely popular with beginners and experts alike.

There are not a lot of trees on this trail, being in the region’s naturally dry climate. However, next to the river with easy access, it can’t be beaten. There are bridges to cross over the water and stops along the way to admire the wildlife. Tieton Nature Trail is wonderful for bird-watching, rockhounding, and just getting outside.

Good to Know About Tieton Nature Trail

  • Watch for rattlesnakes.
  • Dogs are allowed but must stay on a leash.
Yakima hiking trails
The Basalt rock structures around Tieton Nature Loop are popular with local rock climbers. When hiking around Tieton Nature Loop in the summer, you’re sure to encounter loads of folks going out to climb these large rock walls. Photo credit: Seb Hutchinson

Cowiche Canyon Wine Trail

Easy to Moderate
Length: 3.4 miles
Gain: 531 feet

Vowiche Canyon Wine Trail is a unique trail, and depending on which end you start at, it can be an easy hike, or a more moderate hike, depending on your experience with the type of terrain. With a higher gain than the previous entries, a bit of a steep climb, and no shade for most of the trail, this ranks as a more moderate hike.

Starting at the east trailhead at Cowiche Canyon, hike the trail that follows the old railroad, and cross a few bridges. You’ll find a sign that leads to the vineyard and tasting room for Wilridge Winery. Following the trail up 500 feet gain for half a mile, the course will spit you out at the vineyard, where you can stop by the old farmhouse after your hard work and indulge in wine tasting. This trail takes around an hour and a half to complete from start to finish.

Good to Know About Canyon Wine Trail

  • The parking lot for this trail is known for break-ins. Keep valuables at home or on your person.
  • Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash
  • Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes
  • Trail Map for Cowiche Canyon Wine Trail
Yakima hiking trails
When visiting any area around Mount Rainier, its best to remember that the rivers that rush through these areas are composed of melted glacier water. In other words: they are cold! It isn’t advised to take a dip in these rivers, no matter how beautiful the water looks. Photo credit: Seb Hutchinson

Silver Falls Loop

Easy to Moderate
Length: 2.9 miles
Gain: 531 feet

Silver Falls Loop is a trail where once again, depending on where you start, the hike is easier or more moderate. Starting at Ohanapecosh Campground in Mount Rainier National Park, you can enter the trail through the campgrounds Loop B near the visitors center. This route is easier and much flatter and by far more popular. Or use the entry across the bridge near Loop D  for a moderate start with a higher hill to climb but fewer trail-goers.

The entire loop is worth the completion of whichever way you decide to start. Along with the amazing rock formations, giant trees, and wildlife, the trail’s halfway point is Silver Falls, where melting glacier water cascades through the rocks and creates a stunning view.

Along the trail, you will encounter natural hot springs, where warm water flows through vents in the ground, heated by Mount Rainier’s volcanic activity. Silver Falls Loop takes around an hour and a half to complete. After you are finished, stop by the Ohanapecosh Visitors Center to learn about the volcano, or book a campsite at one of the most popular parks in the state.

Good to Know About Silver Falls Loop

  • No dogs allowed.
  • Swimming is not recommended in any of the water.
  • A National Park Pass is needed to enter Mount Rainier National Park.
  • Trail Map for Silver Falls Loop
Yakima hiking trails
The rushing water of Silver Falls provides a much-needed cool mist to hikers that make it to the water. During the hot summer hikes, this waterfall’s mist is sure to help cool you off. Photo credit: Seb Hutchinson

Naches Peak Loop

Length: 3.5 miles
Gain: 659 feet

Another hiking trail inside Mt Rainier National Park, near Goose Prairie, is Naches Peak Loop. Considered a moderate hiking trail, this spot is extremely popular for visitors to the park and local hikers alike. With stunning views of nature and gorgeous encounters of Lake Tipsoo, most hikers that take this trail recommend starting at Lake Tipsoo and taking the trail counterclockwise.

Taking the trail counterclockwise is said to have the best sights of Mount Rainier and Mount Adams. With meadows to walk through, this is a picturesque spot for your next hiking trip. This trail has a longer length and has a little bit more of a gain, which takes an average of two hours to complete.

Good to Know About Nache Peek Loop

Yakima hiking trails
Goose Prairie is pretty quiet, but the tall pines and rushing creeks make for an enjoyable outdoor experience for a solo or group hike. Photo credit: Seb Hutchinson

Goose Prairie Trail

Length: 10.4 miles
Gain: 3,765 feet

For experienced hikers or those looking for a bit more of a challenge, Goose Prairie Trail is a 10.4-mile hike with an almost 3,000-foot gain. However, despite the intimidation of its length and incline, this trail is famous for its gorgeous scenery of the forest and its challenge. Taking around six hours to complete, it is generally a quiet area, and you won’t encounter many people due to the intensity of this hike. But for those thrill seekers looking for something new and a bit more extreme, this hike is for you!

Good to Know About Goose Praire Tails

Whichever one of these trails around Yakima you choose to hike, remember to practice proper trail etiquette and, most importantly, leave no trace. So grab a few buddies or your dog and head out to hit those trails this summer!

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