The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is one of the most visually stunning landscapes in the United States. Home to snow-capped mountains, rainforests, and several national parks, you’d be hard-pressed to find another region with a wide variety of scenic locations.
Best of all, you don’t have to look far to find trails that take you through picturesque destinations. This article will discuss some of the best PNW hikes to check out on your visit.
Top Seven Pacific Northwest Hikes
Whether you want to hike through the Cascade Range or get an up-close view of Ten Falls, several trails captivate the region’s beauty. Check out these Northwest hikes.
Glacier Basin Trail
Located near Greenwater, Washington, in Mount Rainier National Park, the Glacier Basin Trail provides ample opportunities for a scenic adventure. Hikers get up-close views of mountain goats, the Emmons Glacier, and the snow-covered Mount Rainier along the seven-mile trail. Expect to complete the hike in about four hours.
Unless you want to traverse through heavy snow, the best time for a hike is between June and September, when the trail is snow-free and relatively safe. Plus, wildflowers are blooming in the summer! Just note that dogs are now allowed on this trail.
Easy Pass Trail
Don’t let the name “Easy” fool you. The Easy Pass Trial is anything but effortless. Located in North Cascades National Park, this seven-mile (roundtrip) hike takes you uphill through rocky meadows, steep slopes, and multiple switchbacks. However, after a few miles past Granite Creek, you get unconstrained views of Mount Logan and Mount Fisher. It’s safe to say the effort you exert will be worth it!
Aim for a summer visit if you want to capture blooming wildflowers on the meadows. You’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass to park in the area.
Rattlesnake Ledge Trail
Considered one of the most heavily trafficked trails near Seattle, the Rattlesnake Ledge Trail, has no shortage of hikers. Plus, the trail is only four miles, making it a convenient selection for a family adventure. The trail is located from the parking lot on the north side of Rattlesnake Lake. There will be signs in case you have trouble finding it.
Moss-clad trees, stunning mountain views, and thick vegetation are just some of the few features of this hike. Arrive at the main lot no later than 7 am. Otherwise, you may have trouble finding a parking spot.
No, we are not talking about Garfield the Cat. Garfield Peak is your go-to hike if you want panoramic views of Crater Lake and nearby Cascade peaks. The 3.5-mile (roundtrip) trail is an uphill battle that goes through the northwestern ridge of Garfield Peak above Crater Lake. Make sure to keep going on the northern ridge until you reach the 8,060-foot summit. From here, you can see Eagle Point, Dyar Rock, and Mount Scott.
Do note that the roads leading to the trail sometimes close in the winter due to heavy snowfall. Your best bet is a summer or fall visit.
Trail of Ten Falls
Located in Silver Falls State Park - Oregon’s largest state park, the Trail of Ten Falls is one of the best Northwest hikes for aquatic hiking. Visitors can start from the South Falls Lodge Trailhead and follow the 7.4-mile (roundtrip) trail in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Regardless of the direction, the result is the same: an up-close view of 10 waterfalls. Some waterfalls you’ll encounter include Lower South Falls, Double Falls, and Twin Falls.
While the trail is open year-round, consider visiting between April and October when the falls are most active.
Mount Storm King
If you’re interested in a technical challenge, then Mount Storm King in Olympic National Park should serve you well. While the hike is a mere 4.1 miles (roundtrip), the route to the top involves several switchbacks, a rope section, and some rock scrambling. The last portion of the hike is considered a climber’s trail since most of it is unmaintained and exposed. Hike at your risk.
In the summer, you’ll likely encounter many people passing through the rope section one by one. Remain patient and hike accordingly.
La Push Second Beach Trail
Are you in the mood for a coastal experience? If so, hike the Second Beach Trail near la Push, Washington. This 0.7-mile trail is relatively flat, well-maintained, and can be done in less than an hour. Plus, there are campsites along the beach.
Visitors are prohibited from removing any shells, driftwood, or eagle feathers that they find. The trail is open year-round.
Explore the Northwest with Cruise America
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