Oregon’s Multnomah Falls, the most-visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon’s Multnomah Falls, the most-visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest.

Trails for all hikers: Visiting spring’s must-explore West Coast parks

Beautiful hikes span the West Coast and are perfect destinations when spring coaxes us back outside!

We’ve gathered a selection of hikes that stand out for their scenic views, accessibility and unique landscapes, whether you’re in British Columbia or the western United States.

No matter where you’re headed, choose hikes suitable to your abilities, be prepared for wildlife and always tell someone at home where you’re going, your expected return time and other details – it’s essential to expect the unexpected in the West Coast wilderness.

READ MORE: B.C. residents + visitors urged to follow the Camper’s Code

READ MORE: Tips for responsibly pitching your tent in Washington’s backcountry


1. For beginners – Typically suitable for families with children, history enthusiasts or those looking for a leisurely nature walk with minimal physical strain.

  • Skagit River Trail, Skagit Valley Provincial Park: An easy two-day hike along the historic fur-trade route by the Skagit River, this hike is perfect for history enthusiasts, families or beginners looking for a relatively relaxed hiking experience without sacrificing the beauty of nature. The trail is suitable from April to November, offering a glimpse into the past amidst the serene backdrop of the Skagit Valley.
  • Lower Stein Valley, Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Provincial Park: An easy two-day trek alongside the Stein River, ideal for trips from April to October, this hike is unique for its cultural significance, featuring Indigenous pictographs and sites. It’s an excellent choice for those interested in Indigenous cultures, history buffs,\ or families seeking an educational-yet-easy outdoor activity.
  • Cheakamus Lake, Garibaldi Provincial Park: A two-day hike accessible from May to early November​. Ideal for beginners or families, this hike leads to a stunning glacier-fed lake, showcasing the breathtaking landscapes typical of Garibaldi Provincial Park. It is perfect for those who want to experience the beauty of a pristine lake without a strenuous trek.

2. Moderate hikes – Aimed at intermediate hikers or those seeking a bit more challenge, nature lovers and those interested in exploring diverse ecosystems.

  • Fairview Bay/Saltery Bay Loop, Sunshine Coast Trail: This moderate two- to three-day loop trail offers a mix of coastal views and dense forests, best enjoyed from April to November​. Slightly more challenging, suited for hikers looking for a bit more adventure, the trail is ideal for intermediate hikers, nature lovers and those interested in experiencing the diverse landscapes of the Sunshine Coast.

    Elfin Lakes, Garibaldi Provincial Park.

    Elfin Lakes, Garibaldi Provincial Park.

  • Elfin Lakes, Garibaldi Provincial Park: Ideal for photographers looking for breathtaking landscapes, the trail’s gradual inclines make it accessible for those with a decent level of fitness and families with older children. This moderate hike takes you through picturesque mountain scenery, leading to two beautiful lakes surrounded by peaks. The trail is well-marked, offering stunning views, especially during the summer and fall. Elfin Lakes are also a popular spot for overnight camping, with a shelter available for those who wish to extend their adventure.
  • Joffre Lakes, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park: Suited for hikers looking for a moderately challenging day hike with significant rewards in terms of views, it’s great for nature lovers, photographers, and those wanting to experience the beauty of glacial lakes and rugged mountain scenery.Taking hikers past three strikingly turquoise, glacial-fed lakes set against the backdrop of towering peaks, the hike’s moderate difficulty comes from some steep sections and rocky terrain, but it rewards with some of the most photographed scenes in British Columbia. The upper lake offers a dramatic view of the glacier, making the journey well worth the effort.

3. Difficult hikes – Designed for experienced hikers in search of a physical challenge, adventure seekers and history buffs interested in the deeper historical aspects of the trails.

  1. Tikwalus Heritage Trail, Fraser Canyon: This challenging two-day hike steeply ascending from Highway 1 offers breathtaking views of Fraser Canyon, and is best done from May to October​.
  2. Black Tusk, Garibaldi Provincial Park: Suited for experienced, adventurous hikers seeking a physically demanding hike with a bit of scrambling, this trail is for those in good physical condition, with a head for heights and interested in iconic landmarks and spectacular views. This challenging trek is a must-do for serious hikers, taking you through varied terrains to the iconic Black Tusk. The hike involves a significant elevation gain and some scrambling near the summit, offering unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.


1. For beginners

  • Hurricane Hill, Olympic National Park, Washington: A relatively easy 5km (3.2-mile) hike with stunning panoramic views of the park, this relatively short hike is ideal for families, beginners or anyone looking for a scenic and manageable outing. Its accessibility for sunrise or sunset adds a magical element, perfect for photographers or romantic outings.
  • Thunder Knob Trail, Cascades National Park, Washington: Offering breathtaking views of Diablo Lake over an easy 5.8km (3.6-mile) route, this is a fantastic option for nature lovers who want to experience the beauty of the Cascades without a strenuous trek.

    Oregon’s Multnomah Falls, the most-visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest.

    Oregon’s Multnomah Falls, the most-visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon: This famous hike is a 4.4km (2.7-mile) round-trip that combines natural beauty with the thrill of seeing Oregon’s tallest waterfall​. It’s perfect for all ages and skill levels, including families with children, casual hikers or tourists looking for a quick-yet-memorable outdoor experience near Portland.

2. Moderate hikes

  • Watchman Peak Trail, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon: This moderate , 2.7km (1.7-mile) hike offering spectacular views of Crater Lake and its surroundings​ is suited for those with some hiking experience or those seeking a short but rewarding workout. It’s ideal for photographers, nature enthusiasts and families with older children or teens ready for a moderate climb.
  • Coastal Trail, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California: Explore the majestic redwood forests and enjoy coastal views of Northern California along this trail catering to moderate-level hikers, backpackers and nature lovers. While accessible for day hikes, the trail’s suitability for longer backpacking trips adds versatility, making it perfect for more adventurous souls or those wanting to immerse themselves in the landscape.
The Yosemite Valley Loop Trail, in California’s Yosemite National Park showcases famous landmarks like El Capitan and Yosemite Falls.

The Yosemite Valley Loop Trail, in California’s Yosemite National Park showcases famous landmarks like El Capitan and Yosemite Falls.

3. Long hike

  • Yosemite Valley Loop Trail, Yosemite National Park, California: This accessible trail looping around the valley floor showcases famous landmarks like El Capitan and Yosemite Falls over an 18.5km (11.5-mile) full loop or an 11.6km (7.2-mile) half loop​. This flexibility in distance makes trail accessible to a wide range of hikers who want to experience the heart of Yosemite’s beauty at a pace that suits them.

Spring is a unique time to witness these natural wonders as they are revitalized by the season, making it an ideal time for hiking enthusiasts to explore West Coast trails.

Plan your adventures throughout the West Coast at westcoasttraveller.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @thewestcoasttraveller. And for the top West Coast Travel stories of the week delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our weekly Armchair Traveller newsletter!

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