Just this May 4 2023, Seattle was 72 F and sunny – but the next day, temperatures plummeted to 56 F, with rain on the cards! While this isn’t an everyday occurrence, with diverse climates across the state, it pays to be prepared to play whatever the weather does.
You can pretty much guarantee that any given day in Washington can offer something different.
In eastern Washington, spring and summer are usually drier and hotter – perfect for pulling out boots and bikes for hiking or exploring trails on two-wheels. The frequent snow and rain in the western region lend themselves to activities such as snowboarding, snowshoeing and skiing.
As proud Washington locals, we’ve experienced firsthand an array of outdoor activities that will keep you busy every season. We believe adventuring in nature shouldn’t be restricted by calendar date! Our rental platform offers outdoor gear suitable for every time of the year, so you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the Evergreen State, whatever the weather.
National Parks: Unleash your inner explorer
We’re not called the Evergreen State for nothing. From May to September, the wilderness truly thrives, with sunny days on the cards. It’s time to lace up your hiking boots and unleash your inner explorer.
In Washington State, hiking is more than just a walk in the woods - it’s an invitation to connect with nature and uncover the untouched wilderness around you. Outdoor enthusiasts are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a place to hike in Washington State. With Olympic National Park west of Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park southeast of Seattle and North Cascades National Park north of Seattle, there is a hiking trail for you wherever you come from and whatever skill level you have.
Before embarking on any hike in Washington, remember to check trail conditions and prepare with appropriate gear. Weather can change quickly in spring, depending on the region you are hiking in. Frequent rain can make hiking trails slippery and unsafe.
Distance from Seattle: Olympic National Park is 111 miles (2 hours), Mount Rainier is 103 miles (2.5 hours) and North Cascades National Park is 107 miles (2 hours).
Recommended Gear: Lightweight rain jacket, trekking poles, microspikes, gaiters, headlamps.
Seattle’s MTB trails: ‘Spoke’-tacular
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always raining in Washington. In fact, it is never drier or warmer than in summer, where the temperatures in eastern Washington can soar as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit. What better way to get out in nature among the sunshine and blooming wildflowers than mountain biking?
If you are mountain biking through the Evergreen State this summer, you are guaranteed to see greenery so lush it looks like it came straight from a computer screensaver. You don’t need to go to the ends of the earth to find a mountain bike trail either-Duthie Hill and Tiger Mountain are both less than an hour away from downtown Seattle. The coastal town of Bellingham has over 65 miles of ‘spoketacular’ trails at Galbraith Mountain overlooking the bay that is made for mountain biking.
Distance from Seattle: Duthie Hill is 20 miles (25 mins), Tiger Mountain is 32 miles (50 mins) and Galbraith Mountain is 87 miles (1.5 hours).
Recommended Gear: Mountain bikes, helmets, bike racks.
Goldmyer Hot Springs: Sleep amongst nature
Washington locals are OBSESSED with camping. Who could blame us with striking natural landscapes like the Rockies in our backyard? With so much untouched wilderness surrounding Seattle, finding a camping spot perfect for your next staycation is easy.
Not sure where to camp? Check out Goldmyer Hot Springs nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Goldmyer Hot Springs is a secluded hidden gem perfect for reconnecting with nature. To preserve the ecology of the area, only 20 people are permitted to use the site a day, so definitely make a reservation in advance.
With national holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day on the calendar, there’s never a better time to go camping than in spring or summer.
Distance from Seattle: Total travel time is about 4-5 hours, as it is a mixture of driving and hiking.
Recommended Gear: Cooler, tent, camping chair, camping stoves, sleeping bags.
Puget Sound: What’s SUP?
There’s a reason why stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP for short) is such a popular summer activity in Washington. Picture the golden rays of the summer sun reflecting off of glistening, tranquil waters. Yes, please! Whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned paddleboarder, nothing beats the feeling of floating out on the water with no care in the world.
One of the most renowned places to paddleboard in Washington is Puget Sound, a 100-mile system of waterways located along the northwestern coast. The region provides an unparalleled paddleboarding experience that is hard to compete with. In late May/early June, you might spot Orcas while you paddleboard! Be sure to keep your distance, remain calm and view them from afar - you are in their home after all!
Because so many ferries and boats use the Sound to commute to areas such as Tacoma and British Columbia, stay close to the shore when paddleboarding. The deeper you go into the Sound, the stronger the currents get, making paddleboarding dangerous in these waters.
Distance from Seattle: 3.5 hours to San Juans (106.9 miles) or within Seattle!
Recommended Gear: Standup paddleboard, drybag, Personal Flotation Device, sun protection.
Required Gear: Washington State law requires canoes, kayaks and SUP to have “at least one properly fitted Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board” as well as a “sound-producing device” such as a whistle.
Crystal Mountain: Get on board
The best way to enjoy spring’s milder temperatures and spectacular mountain views is to gear up for a snowy adventure. Washington is renowned for its long ski season that stretches well into May.
Every year, thousands of Washington locals and winter sports enthusiasts flock to the state’s largest ski resort, Crystal Mountain Resort, to hit the slopes for the last run of the season. Nestled within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Crystal Mountain is surrounded by alpine wilderness and boasts over 50 runs and 2,600 acres. The resort is full of beginner-friendly runs, challenging expert trails and backcountry skiing, so it’s the perfect spot to ski regardless of your experience level or preference.
The fun at Crystal Mountain is not just reserved for the winter season either – there’s still plenty to do in the summer months too! There’s plenty of easy or challenging hikes that you can do around the mountain, and the best part – you can bring your furry friends along too!
Hiking not your thing? Why not try one of the 36 disc golf holes at Crystal? Free to play, the disc golf holes are perfect for families or outdoor enthusiasts needing to cool down after an intense hike! There’s even holes on the summit of the mountain, offering you unparalleled views of Mount Rainier.
Distance from Seattle: 84 miles (105 minutes)
Recommended Gear: Ski poles, skis, snowboards, boots, disc for disc golfing!
Artist Point: Take the snow one step at a time
Seeking a more leisurely and tranquil snow activity? Then snowshoeing is for you! Layer up, dust off those snowshoes, grab your trekking poles and head to one of Washington’s abundant snowshoe trails.
Personally, we love Artist Point, a trail in the Mount Baker Area. Picture impressive glaciers and sweeping views–that’s what you’ll find when you hike this 4-mile trek. The area can pose challenging snow conditions, such as thick fog and steep inclines that make snowshoeing in this area difficult for beginners, so exercise caution.
If you’re a beginner at snowshoeing, spring is one of the best seasons to try it out. The warmer temperatures in spring melt the deep and compacted winter snow, making it more slushy. Slushy snow is easier to hike in and doesn’t require heavy or robust snowshoes. In some cases, just hiking boots with traction can be sufficient in spring.
Distance from Seattle: 130 miles north.
Recommended Gear: Snowshoes, trekking poles, gaiters, microspikes
Plenty of reasons to visit these seasons
There’s a reason why Washington is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. With outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, water and snow sports in your backyard, there’s something to fill every weekend in your calendar.
With seasonal hobbies that you can’t use gear for all year round, consider renting. It's cheaper than purchasing outright, and creates less waste in the environment. Renting gear on the GeerGarage platform is simple, affordable and just a few clicks away.
Which season do you prefer for exploring Washington: spring or summer?