One of our favorite things about the Pacific Northwest is the abundance of hiking and backpacking opportunities available right in our backyard. Nothing beats the rich greenery, jutting cliffs, and breathtaking landscape from the Olympics up to the North Cascades. While the summer days still have opulent sunshine available, seize the opportunity to visit some of our state’s beautiful hiking destinations. Whether you’re interested in some great overnight backpacking getaways
As one of the most lusciously green areas on the West Coast due to receiving 14 feet of rain each year, the Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula is a PNW oasis. As you wander through this green haven, look up to admire the draping moss and the hanging ferns in the branches. With a variety of trails varying in length and intensity, picnic sites for lunch breaks and campgrounds open year-round, this destination is perfect for nature-lovers of all ages!
The Olympic Peninsula has variety like no other when it comes to scenery and trails. Coastal beaches? Check. Snowy peaks? Check. Wildflower meadows? Check. Here are just a few of our favorite hikes:
· Visit Third Beach for a flat trek of just over 1.5 miles. A pleasant destination with a huge beach, creek-side campsites, foaming waves, and a serenity that can only be found on the West Coast. This is a great option for families!
· Check out Sunrise Ridge for a mid-range hike of 5.2 miles roundtrip. Take time as you make your way up Hurricane Hill to appreciate all the views from scatterings of wildflowers to snowcapped mountain ranges.
· If a challenge is what you seek, the going gets tough on the South Coast Wilderness Trail heading to Toleak Point. This hike is 17 miles roundtrip and you can expect to be out for 2-4 days. The experience on this trail is tough. There are ladders to climb, tricky to maneuver muddy areas, high ocean tides to avoid, and frequent elevation changes. However difficult, this will be an experience for the books! The smell of saltwater, glowing sunsets, and incredible beauty found in the nature of this area makes for an unforgettable trip.
Gothic Basin is a feast for a hiker’s eyes. Adorned with snowy peaks, lush wildflowers, and bubbling creeks, this destination is perfect for a daytime or overnight excursion. However, it’s not an easy feat to reach this PNW paradise. At 9.2 miles round trip, the trail can become quite steep, occasionally requiring the use of hands to maneuver over rockier areas. Once you reach the top, you will be welcomed by Gothic Lake, the glistening gatekeeper of this hidden gem. It would be easy to spend hours soaking in the wonders found around every corner, before you either hike back down or set up your tent for the night.
When hiking, always remember we are a guest in nature, therefore it is important to respect the Leave No Trace Principles so generations to come can continue to enjoy the PNW trails.
Leave No Trace Principles:
1. Dispose of waste properly: What you bring, you leave with.
2. Leave what you find: No souvenir is better than the memories you’ll make.
3. Respect wildlife: Admire from a distance and never feed them.
4. Minimize campfire impacts: Regulations vary depending on the area.
5. Stay on track: Travel on established trails and camp on durable surfaces such as rock or dirt without vegetation.
Click here to learn more: https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles
What’s your favorite PNW hiking or backpacking destination? Comment below and let us know!