Mini Hikes around Sea-Tac Airport
By Angie McFarlane
Looking to kill some time while near the airport? Grab a rental car and explore all that Washington’s natural beauty has to offer!
Where can you go to find that perfect hiking trail? One that leaves you breathless as you climb and experience the awe-inspiring views of the natural landscape? One that is so enjoyable, it will make you say, “wow!” over and over again? Whether a local or out-of-state visitor, you’re bound to find the perfect hiking trail for you in the state of Washington.
Among the many recreational activities the state has to offer, it’s perhaps best known for some of the top hiking trails in the world. With more than 56 trails covering 4259 miles, the convenience of these spots located near Sea-tac airport makes it easy to schedule in some exercise, fresh air, and time in nature anytime. Want to venture out into nature on foot without loading up the car? If you answered yes then our hand-picked list below of hiking spots located near Sea-tac airport runs the gamut from easy and popular to calve-burning and rugged. So grab your travel gear and a friend or pup, and find your bliss!
The Des Moines Creek trail is good for all skill levels and accessible between the south side of Seattle and the waterfront community of Des Moines on Puget Sound. Spanning at around 2.2 miles long, the hiking trailhead begins south of the Sea-Tac Airport and curves along beautiful Des Moines Creek Park. The terrain of the paved trail is defined flat and descends slightly as it approaches the water. On the journey south down to Marine View Drive, there’s a shared 2-mile bike trail frequented by pedestrians, bicyclists, runners, and dogs where you’ll see sandy beaches, tide pools, and a scuba diving reef. The plentiful stairs, benches, boardwalks, stairs, picnic tables, and drinking fountains found on the trail offer safety and peace of mind and also showcase impressive artistry. Aside from offering a bounty of fitness and lush greenery in a wildlife habitat, once near the trail’s end, you can enjoy a stroll over the water on the long pier.
Known as the jewel of Burien’s park system, Seahurst is a fascinating loop trail that not only shares with bicyclists but also dogs! The trail is mainly used for running, walking, and hiking and is offers year-round access. It stretches 1.8 miles long and features a saltwater beach on Puget Sound and spectacular stunning ravine surrounded by forest greenery. There are several offshoots for additional exploring, with many of the side trails leading out of the park and into stunning neighboring areas. If time (and energy) permits, walk along the beach barefoot along the water’s edge for a real thrill. With several picnic and tables, you are able to reserve one and catch a panoramic view of the Olympic Mountains, sure to take your breath away.
The Salmon Creek Trail found on Shorewood Drive is one you don’t want to miss. Just a few blocks from Seahurst Park, it features 5-miles of trail with 88 acres of riverbank vegetation set through steep terrain all the way down to the Salmon Creek drainage. There are two main trails and several side trails, but go ahead and explore as many as you can take. Along the route, you’ll find a few optional side trips on trails where you can enjoy a densely framed view across the heavy-wooded ravine. Though, due to its dense foliage during the summertime, it best to check this trail out in the fall or winter. Don’t be startled at the many otters, red foxes, and bald eagles that you see along the way!
Marked by an openwork iron gate, the Seatac Botanical Gardens provides a natural setting for hikers to sightsee and relax. Once in the garden, you’ll be welcomed by gorgeous views of the lovely Elda Behm Paradise Garden (which occupies about an acre of the overall garden) and more beyond it. Taking a few steps will introduce you to a tranquil place along the garden with a canopy of greenery and a series of waterfalls before running into a sparkling 7-gallon pond. There’s also a community garden and a fuchsia garden on the outskirts, as well as a rose garden featuring over 100 flowers, so enjoy spendiing some time appreciating the various displays this garden.. You can even bring your pet to witness the beauty!
If you have a rental car, take a short Ferry Fern Cove! At 0.3 miles long, this historic and iconic back trail is situated near the northwest part of Vashon Maury Island. The trail is good for all skill levels, it features a stream known as Baldwin Creek that follows along the right of the short hiking terrain also used for walking, biking, and running. Traveling deeper into this trail welcomes a mossy, wet forest and chance to see all wildlife, and luckily, no predators. Known as the best spot for viewing shorebirds, a beautiful beach traces this path and depth of scenery that beach trekkers won’t be able to resist exploring. Low tide brings lots of sea life to shore and will make the perfect getaway, especially the naturally beautiful view of Kitsap you can’t miss.
Located in the center of Vashon Island, campers and nature lovers alike will enjoy this trail. Island Center Forest stretches 363-acres long and consists of more than nine elaborate miles of trails and road hiking option. Outdoor enthusiasts such as hikers, mountain bikers, and road trekkers get the chance to explore the many forest pathways and meadows, as well as the Mukai Pond and Meadowlake wetlands. Although the trail is quite peaceful in nature, it’s popular for bird watching and home to more than 70 bird species, so you just might hear a little bird calling every now and then. Feel free to ditch all of the switchbacks and hike to a well-placed bench or picnic area. Offering such a natural and beautiful environment, you’ll enjoy the soft sounds of ponds making their way through various culverts and the dappled light that filters through the beautiful forest canopy. It really doesn’t get any better than that!
Approximately 37 square miles long with fifty miles of beachfront, Vashon Island has a rural flavor that samples some of the endless beach hiking available on the island — exactly what has brought in folks from all over! It offers a number of an amazing selection of beaches, including Lisabeula Park, Jensen Point (Burton Acres), KVI Beach (Point Heyer), Point Robinson, Dockton Park, Point Robinson Lighthouse, Tramp Harbor Dock, Wingehaven, North End Boat Launch, and many more. This hike will begin and stop at the ferry dock and may be best to explore during low tide, though, not extremely low. Whether you’re on a family trip, a date with that special someone, or just hanging with a few friends, Vashon’s beaches are great places to just relax and unwind.
Washington’s stellar landscapes are truly unlike any other and we felt these hikes do a great job of showing off its incredible trail diversity. From stunning waterfalls and rivers to majestic mountain tops and glimpses of the geological past, they may look great in photos, but they’re even better once you’re actually there. We can assure you that the sweat equity is well worth the views, so get to stepping!
Angie McFarlane has spent the last 5+ years helping brand and market numerous cannabis products in the Washington State recreational market. Her expertise in the industry brings a technical and business perspective beyond the average cannabis consumer and advocate. Angie lives in Seattle, loves the outdoors and her two kitties, and is a living force against the stoner stigma!