With proper planning and precaution, hiking is a great way to get outside right now, but hikers must continue to physically distance on trail. This can be hard because a lot of trails are narrow with limited space to step aside while others pass. This is especially true on switchbacks where the edge of the trail can literally be a drop off, or on trails where stepping off the tread means trampling fragile vegetation.
Finding Wide Trails
The following list compiles just a few of the many spacious trails in Washington. To find others, consider road-to-trail conversions, and rail trails. These two categories offer wide tread that makes it easy to pass safely. Head to our Hiking Guide and find the Keyword Search on the left side of the page. Search phrases like "road to trail," or "old road" or "rail trail." You can also filter by region to find wide trails close to home. Read through the trail description and recent trip reports to see if it fits your criteria.
Even the widest trails may have some narrow sections, so be sure to follow our tips for recreating responsibly.
Six Tips to #recreateresponsibly
- Know Before You Go: Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don’t go. If it’s crowded, have a plan B.
- Plan Ahead: Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack lunch and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering.
- Stay Close to Home: This is not the time to travel long distances to recreate. Most places are only open for day use.
- Practice Physical Distancing: Adventure only with your immediate household. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you are sick, stay home.
- Play It Safe: Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained.
- Leave No Trace: Respect public lands and communities and take all your garbage with you.
Chehalis River Discovery Trail
Location: Centralia Area
Mileage: 3.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 310 feet
This trail takes visitors through farmland to the shores of the Chehalis River. Landmarks abound, with rustic barns standing in contrast to the native riparian habitat that has been restored along the riverbanks. Big trees line the opposite shore and birds dive through the air above the water. The trail is wide and forms a T shape, offering lots of space to spread out.
castle Rock Riverfront Trail
Location: Lewis River Region
Mileage: 3.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 150 feet
The ADA-accessible trail along the Castlerock Riverfront is a lovely jaunt, clocking in at just over three miles roundtrip, along a section of the Cowlitz River. A mountain bike course, playground, and several picnic areas dot the trailside, and with various access points to the town of Castle Rock.
Location: Sedro Woolley
Mileage: 22.5, one way
Elevation Gain: 60 feet
Travel through Skagit farmland on this old railroad grade that connects the towns of Sedro Woolley and Concrete. This wide corridor parallels the north cascades highway, but hugs the Skagit River for much of its course. It's a popular path for cyclists as well as runners, walkers and hikers.
Tommy Thompson Trail
Mileage: 6.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: minimal
This ADA accessible trail offers a mix of urban and natural. The trail starts in the town of Anacortes, with quick access to shops and restaurants, then extends out to the shores of Fidalgo Bay and out into the bay on an abandoned railroad trestle. The water views are expansive and likely to include a great blue heron or two soaring across the horizon.
Puget Sound and Islands
The network of trails on Taylor Mountain is extensive. The old logging roads which crisscross this King County park are your best bet for getting some space. These roads curve and climb and take visitors through a lush forest. Narrow singletrack trails connect to these access roads, but you'll have no trouble filling a day by staying on the main thoroughfares.
Chambers Bay Loop
Location: Tacoma Area
Mileage: 3.25 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 315 feet
This unique trail circumnavigates the Chambers Bay golf course. Wide paths wind around the 18 holes with almost constant views out over the Puget Sound. The trails are wide with plenty of space to step aside while others pass, and, if you do the whole loop, you'll get some great exercise.
Location: Wenatchee Area
Mileage: 6.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,470 feet
Since this hike is along an old road, there is plenty of space. And the scenery is magnificent in the spring when the wildflowers are out and the hills pop with color. And that's not all--Views of the Columbia River valley, interesting geology, and wildlife keep visitors energized.
Candy Mountain Trail
Location: Richland Area
Mileage: 3.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 555 feet
The Candy Mountain trail exists as a testament to the over 240 volunteers who helped build it. And we're glad it's here because it offers a great option for a hike close to the Tri-cities. The trail is gentle and climbs steadily to the summit, passing some interesting geology on its way.
Location: Colfax Area
Mileage: 6.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 260 feet
Follow the course of an old railroad along the banks of the Palouse River. It's a calming scene with the cool water gently flowing through the golden grass. The way is mostly flat, so it's a good place to casually stroll and let your mind wander.
Mount Kit Carson Loop Road
Location: Mount Spokane State Park
Mileage: 13.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet
Numerous trails wind through Mount Spokane State Park, but this one is especially good for physical distancing since it is on an old road. In the winter it's a popular snowshoeing destination, but in the spring, when the snow melts out, it's a great loop hike as well. Starting out in the forest, you will climb to grand vistas.
Dosewallips River Road
Location: Hood Canal
Mileage: 13.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
This mossy corridor is wide and wonderful. Hikers can luxuriate under the big leaf maples that act like arches over the trail while listening to the river splash along its course. The valley carries hikers gradually uphill with a few steep sections, and eventually arrives at the boundary to Olympic National Park.
Olympic Discovery Trail
Location: Northern Coast
Mileage: 126.6 miles, one way
Elevation Gain: Various
When completed, this trail will span the entire northern portion of the peninsula. For now each of the multiple segments offers a little something different. Most sections are wide enough to have two lanes for bikers, runners, and hikers; some are paved, others are dirt or gravel. With so many access points and so many miles of trail, there is plenty of room to spread out and get some miles in.