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Fall scenery, mountains, lakes - with young children.

Level Contributor
17 posts
6 reviews
Fall scenery, mountains, lakes - with young children.

We are visiting Washington from Australia, with 3 young children 3,6,8 years old. We will be staying for 5 nights in Seattle in October.

We would like to either do 2 day trips to see some beautiful fall scenery or stay overnight in a cabin or similar.

We are interested in short nature trails which would suit kids, but give us some lovely photo opportunities. Nice scenic drives which wouldn't involve more than a few hours drive at a time.

We have looked at the North Cascades and Mt Rainier, but wonder if North Cascades is too far for a day trip, or if in October we are likely to encounter poor weather?

Any suggested routes or advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

6 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
316 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Fall scenery, mountains, lakes - with young children.

Hi Nicky

Seeing the North Cascades in a day trip is really tough with Kids. I'd recommend somewhere closer. Mt. Rainier would be good in early October but later in October is when we start to transition into our rainy season. So just play it by ear - if the weather is good, then go. If not, try to find something a little closer. In terms of short nature hikes, consider the following:

1) Discovery Park is right here in Seattle. https:/…discovery-park

2) Snoqualmie falls has great photo opportunities and you can take a quick hike down to the bottom of the falls https:/…Snoqualmie_Falls (although the river will be running low in the fall, unless we've had a good rain)

3) try one of the state parks Bainbridge Island or the Kitsap Peninsula, the kids may get a kick out of the ferry ride.

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
11,946 posts
20 reviews
2. Re: Fall scenery, mountains, lakes - with young children.

October is a transition month in Western WA. It can be the loveliest month of all in the mountains; at least that's been my experience in Olympic National Park. The light takes on a golden clarity that is particularly pronounced in the mountains, and the heaths, heathers, and shrubs blaze into color. Just so you know, autumn tree color is subdued here as most of our trees are evergreens, and even most of our deciduous trees such as the big leaf maple, fail to show more than pallid yellows and browns when they change. All that aside, October can also be rainy, foggy, and, at higher elevations, snowy. In addition, the days are quite short.

I don't think the North Cascades are at all suitable for your family. They are too far, too rugged, and too lacking in family friendly amenities. How about the Leavenworth area? I am not of fan of Leavenworth itself, but it is surrounded by beautiful alpine country, and there are some easy hikes in the area, which is really not the case with the North Cascades. It is possible to do this is as a day trip, but remember the shortness of the days.

Poulsbo, Washington
Level Contributor
11,776 posts
8 reviews
3. Re: Fall scenery, mountains, lakes - with young children.

Early October for sure, but as Kaleberg has said it can be wet. I agree that each year ca be different as far as rain or sun. And I agree with both the North Cascades is too far for a day trip especially with kids. Rainier is a great day trip. Stevens Pass again a bit of a drive has nice colors in October. Closer to Seattle is the Mountain Loop Hwy. Rainier should be your first choice.

Seattle, Wa
Level Contributor
5,985 posts
49 reviews
4. Re: Fall scenery, mountains, lakes - with young children.

I second the Leavenworth idea, but make it an overnight. Leavenworth is on the sunny side of the mountains, there is good fall color (for Washington) and there's lots of lodging and tourist amenities. Just don't do this on a weekend. Rainier would be a great day trip – – Paradise is beautiful that time of year--BUT you need to clear weather, which that time of year is not guaranteed.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
6 posts
3 reviews
5. Re: Fall scenery, mountains, lakes - with young children.

Thanks for all the advice, it is very helpful.

Level Contributor
5,779 posts
109 reviews
6. Re: Fall scenery, mountains, lakes - with young children.

I agree that an overnight in Leavenworth would likely be enjoyable for your family. You might also consider a day trip to the San Juan Islands.

~ Colleen

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