Easy hike and seafood?
Coming to Seattle for the first time this weekend from NY, and am looking for a day trip where I can combine an easyish, beautiful hike (no more than 5 miles total) with seafood, hopefully including oysters. I'll have a car, and am willing to drive 1-2 hrs. max.
I also have three dinners to eat...so far I think Poppy, Tilth, and I don't know. From all the suggestions on this board, probably happy hour at Elliotts. I guess Dungeness crab is out of season?
Do you want to eat your seafood close to where you hike? If so, I recommend taking the Bremerton ferry and driving to Olympic National Park, where there are many hiking options that run the gamut difficulty-wise. Almost all of the hikes there are beautiful. Mt. Elinor is a pretty easy one and then you can say you've summited a mountain. Following that hike, you can grab raw oysters from the Hama Hama Oyster Co., but you'll have to eat them in a picnic setting or when you get back to Seattle. If you want to eat close to where you hiked, and you don't mind returning to Seattle relatively late, you can drive up to Pt. Hadlock for oysters at the Ajax Cafe (open for dinner only).
I have two suggestions depending on what day of the week you are going. The first is to take the ferry up to Whidbey Island, go hiking at Ebey's Landing (great coast hike) and then have dinner at the Inn at Langley (they are only open on the weekend right now). See links to hike and restaurant at:
The second possibility would be to drive north about 1.5 hours to the Boulder River/ Boulder Falls trail. I was just there and the hike is a true Northwest experience - beautiful waterfalls, ferns, moss, alder, and some big old growth cedars and Douglas Fir. Expect to get muddy but the trail is quite easy. This would be the shortest drive time as well (no ferry wait). Then you could come back to Seattle in time for dinner at any number of seafood places - Etta's and Ray's come to mind but a number of nice restaurants here have great seafood - Union, Matt's in the Market, Place Pigalle will all have some great seafood and oysters. Here's a link to the trail info:
Place Pigalle Restaurant
, Seattle, WA 98101
For a quintessential northwest experience, head north of Seattle about 1.5 hours to Chuckanut Drive, one of the most beautiful scenic byways in the state with several oyster-themed restaurants along the route: Chuckanut Manor, The Oyster Bar, and Oyster Creek Inn. Here’s a link that describes the area in more detail:
There are also several hiking trails in the area with amazing vistas of the sound and San Juan Islands. Here is a recent Seattle Times article on the route to better help plan your trip:
Mountain trails are far from being accessible (it's been snowing still) so you're pretty limited for your hikes. Mt Elinor as suggested above is out unless you want snow travel. I would do Ebey's Landing or one of the Chuckanut Drive trails. You could also do an easy hike at Deception Pass State Park and do one of the Chuckanut restaurants after.
We just had a bunch of snow drop in the mountains the past few days, so the higher trails are snowy with possible avalanche danger. The Mt. Si trails (Mt. Si and Little Si) are usually pretty accessible (and at relatively low elevation) if you want the "alpine" experience. On the way home you can eat at the Salish Lodge and look out over Snoqualmie Falls.
The Salish lodge is semi-fancy, so you'll have to do your best to clean up in the bathrooms. The staff seem pretty laid back, so they won't give you a second glance.
Like everyone mentioned, the recent snow in the mountains somewhat limits your hiking options. We do have some nice in-city hikes. Discovery Park is my favorite of these - it's really pretty, diverse scenery, lots of trails to choose from. You can do a super easy 3-mile loop around the park, or hike down to the beach and back, which is a nice little workout.
If you do want to get out, check out Little Si or Rattlesnake Ledges on the eastside (but get there early and/or do it on a weekday, those trails get super crowded.) I also quite enjoy the Oyster Dome hike up near Bellingham - super great views. I really wish I could recommend Talapus Lake near Snoqualmie Pass to you, but you'll need to save that for a summer visit.
I love seafood, though I don't eat it often and don't consider myself a connoisseur. I really enjoy the happy hour at Ray's for cheap and delicious seafood. Ray's is located right by Golden Gardens, a beach with a lovely view of the Sound and the Olympic Mountains when the weather cooperates. You have to sit in the bar, and I would strongly recommend getting there right at 4 when it starts.
Enjoy your trip!