One Foot in Front of the Other

As much as I love taking my pup to the dog park, I do put a limit on how often we go. Luckily, she enjoys getting exercise and fresh air in other ways, like hikes!

Below are three trails that are dog-friendly and fairly short, but easily extendible if you want to keep going. Of course, the Pacific Northwest is very rich with trails, so this list is far from extensive or representative of what is available.

Ravenna Park

5520 Ravenna Ave. N.E., Seattle; 206-684-4075; seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/ravenna-park

For those living in Seattle who don’t want to drive too far out to get on a trail, Ravenna Park is a nice option. The park is forestlike with plenty of trees and a ravine to make you forget you are only a few minutes away from the bustling University District.

This is a good walk for families or dogs that don’t enjoy climbing because it is mostly flat and easy to navigate. There are a couple routes visitors can walk along in the park.

If you have kids in tow, they can take a break at the playground at Ravenna Park or at neighboring Cowen Park. Kiddos might also enjoy marveling up at the two bridges that tower over the trails.

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Depending on how much you want to walk, you can loop around one path or walk around the whole park. This is the simplest option of the three trails and makes for a pleasant post-work or weekend-morning walk.

Sycamore Access Trail / East Side Trail

360 S.E. Crystal Creek Circle, Issaquah; wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/sycamore-access-trail

The start of this unassuming trail is nestled in a residential neighborhood in Issaquah on the northeast side of Squak Mountain. You might feel like you’re in the wrong place at first, but the trailhead is indeed between houses. Because of this, be mindful of where you park as there is no designated parking lot at the trailhead.

Note that this trail is a consistent uphill climb, but it’s not so steep that you and your dog will have difficulty maneuvering through the trail.

In my experience, this hike is pretty quiet even on weekends, so it is a good option if you want to avoid crowds. You’ll quickly forget you started the hike in a residential neighborhood as you become immersed in a forestlike scene and pass a running stream. About 0.3 miles into the hike, you’ll see a sign leading you toward several different trail options of varying lengths.

We chose the East Side Trail, which stays steep, so this one is a great option for leg day! The trail goes on for 1.2 miles, before you come to another sign that gives you more trail options if you’d like to continue hiking.

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This is a good choice if you want a little bit of a challenge but don’t want to commit to a long, intense hike.

Boulder Garden Loop

Southeast Mount Si Road, North Bend; 206-625-1367; wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/boulder-garden-loop

This is the most difficult of the three trails. I would not recommend this hike if you have concerns about accidentally falling. The trail can be quite rocky at times and, if it’s raining, wet rocks can be slippery. Proper shoes are important for this one and hiking poles wouldn’t be a bad idea. As for dogs, we passed several on the trail and mine enjoys climbing. It shouldn’t be a problem for active pups.

Despite the sometimes difficult terrain, this is a beautiful hike on Mount Si.

There are several trails on the mountain, so extending your hike is easy. Note that this is a popular spot and the two parking lots designated for the trailhead are small and fill up fast.

You’ll be greeted with huge boulders on the edges of the trail and the shroud of forestry around you makes for a great escape from the city. However, it is important to pay attention once you begin the down slope back to the trailhead. As mentioned before, the terrain can be rocky at times and also has steep moments. If you have an excited dog that tends to pull on walks, it is crucial to keep a steady grip on the leash to make sure you both stay safe.

The nice part about this trail is that it is a loop, so your journey stays fresh the whole 1.5 miles.