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Forums " Destinations " Pacific Northwest " Best hikes in Washington State

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Camilla Bacher
Posted on: Mar. 17 2009, 4:26 am

I am most likely going to Vancouver for my vacation in July, because my husband is likely going there to work anyway. I will likely have a week on my own, and consider a backpack about 7 days. West Coast Trail would be obvious, but I will also look into possibilities in Washington. I could rent a car, or get to my backpack with public transportation.After my husband has finished work we'd do a 2-3 week long vacation together, and because we have already been to Banff and Jasper, we consider going to Washington instead. I would like to visit the national parks there, but googling around it looks like the state has superb hiking to offer.I would like to order a pile of books, to get started on the research. We mainly look for dayhikes. A variety of short, easy hikes and some longer, more strenous hikes would be perfect.Any suggestions on books or must do hikes?

Eric H
Posted on: Mar. 17 2009, 4:28 pm

Hi Camilla,I've always picked up a lot by scanning trip reports, other beta, on the web site of the Washington Trails Association


Random Walker
Posted on: Mar. 17 2009, 7:37 pm

There is the day hike / Short Hikes
series and Hiking Washington by Ron Adkison & David Wortman(I have never looked at these.)There is the 100 Classic Hikes
in Washington by Ira Spring & Harvey ManningComing in country from Vancouver (BC?) I would turn left (east) and spend all of the 3 weeks along the Highway 20 corridor.

100 Hikes in Washingtons North Cascades National Park Region
and 100 Hikes in Washington's Glacier Peak Region
Both by Ira Spring & Harvey Manning.

If instead you happen to turn right (west) on highway 20 and end up on the Olympic Peninsula then the Olympic Mountains Trail Guide
by Robert L. Wood is your bible.Make sure to check on road and trail conditions at the WTA Site

Forest Service & National Park sites as things change year to year, season to season, month to month etc...A pile of maps to go with the books Green Trails Maps & Custom Correct Maps

Posted on: Mar. 19 2009, 9:20 am

Random Walker pretty well nailed it. If you're headed to the area east of Glacier Peak, there is an old, out of print guide book by Mary Sutliff called Entiat Country. It would be worth tracking down a copy if you plan to hike in that area--it is my favorite hiking guide book ever.

Another resource is . Actually Sutliff posts there (or at least used to) under the handle "mtnrider."

Another very old resource which is good for off-trail routes in the Cascades is Rocks and Routes , which is available as a .pdf here.

Camilla Bacher
Posted on: Mar. 19 2009, 12:58 pm

Thanks - I ordered the 100 classic hikes book today, and will start browsing around the sites mentioned. I have no idea right now, where I want to spend my four weeks, but can at least start getting ideas. I will return with more specific questions, once I am closing in on a final travel plan. I figure that I need to make reservations about early May, which will also be the time, where I know when I am able to take vacation.I would also be curious if there is a similar "100 classic hikes" book to get an overview of hiking around Vancouver, where I might spend some of the time.

Random Walker
Posted on: Mar. 19 2009, 2:17 pm

103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia by Jack Bryceland, David & Mary Macaree

Walks in BC's Lower Mainland by Mary & David Macaree

Camilla Bacher
Posted on: Mar. 19 2009, 3:21 pm

Thanks - I started by ordering the 103 hikes..

Posted on: Mar. 19 2009, 6:38 pm

July is on the early side if you plan to get much above 5,000'. Which is too bad because the Wonderland Trail seems like the type you might like considering others you have been on. Early Sept is almost guaranteed low snow on the entire route but August has mostly good weather.

I was a fan of Garibaldi in BC. Used to be only accessible by air. Now Whistler is an entry point via the chair lift. But that is similar to the CA Rockies you have already seen. Some good dayhikes at top of ski lift.

You can section hike Rainier's Wonderland as there is road access from most of the compass points. The only portion not worth the hike is from Longmire to Nickel Creek. The park does require you to stay at established camp areas and have a detailed plan to get there. But some great day hikes as well. Too early for the huckleberries - sorry.

I'm guessing there will be snow along much of the PCT as well, but the northern Cascade section is a WOW.

The locals should help out on what portions would be low snow or ice free.

Hurricane Ridge in Olympics is beautiful and should be accessible in July.

The mountain access trail up to start of Baker's glaciers would be a great day hike.

If you are interested in a driving adventure - not necessarily for the faint of heart from Whistler north through Pemberton, Birken, Seton Portage, d'Arcy, on dirt road above a long lake coming out at Lillooeut. Don't miss the bar at south end of the long lake and donate in the pickle jar for the road upkeep. Not sure about the salmon fishing season on the Fraser, but the Indian drying racks along the river are impressive. Might consider staying in Whistler overnight and taking in the summer music festival. Nothing like hearing a full orchestra echoing from above the ski lift. Interesting mine tour on way up to Whistler from VC.

Don't forget the San Juans and all of the ferries including Victoria Island. Some great little hotels and B&B along the route on the island.

Get a good book on fungi in the NW. Many different kinds and worth carrying a small book just for curiosity sake.

Camilla Bacher
Posted on: Mar. 21 2009, 7:18 am

Steven - I'd love to do Wonderland Trail, but I don't know if it will be a possibility yet. If I do it, I will do it alone. We have four weeks in total, and we have not yet discussed how many weeks I will be alone, while my husband works in Vancouver, and how many weeks we will do together. I think I need about 10 days for Wonderland trail, and I might just have one on my own. Most likely we are leaving Denmark on July 3rd, and my "own" time will be in the beginning, so if the snow doesn't melt early, I might have a problem.

Another question since you know Garibaldi park - I found very little on the internet. And only one map:

Park Map

Looking at this map of Garibaldi, it looks like most trails are short west to east trails. Going from highway 99, to the east, up towards a variety of lakes. But it looks as mountain "ranges" are blocking the possibility of connecting up some of these trails for a longer 6-7 day backpack going north to south.

I am not interested in off trail travel, or being in very remote areas because I am alone in bear country. But I am looking for alternatives to the WCT within driving range of Vancouver. Do you know if Garibaldi trails can connect up to a 5-7 day backpack?

Posted on: Mar. 30 2009, 8:50 pm

I would also recommend the 100 classic hikes, as this is the very best of the hikes from their other 100 hikes in various areas of washington (North Cascades,Glacier Peak,Alpine Lakes,Mount Rainier (only 50 in this book) Southern Cascades and the Olympics), and it has color pictures to help you chose. I like Mt Rainier and the North Cascades the best. Alpine Lakes and the Olympics the least. Beware that the west side of Glacier Peak has allot of closed trails.

M.D. Vaden of Oregon
Posted on: Mar. 30 2009, 10:55 pm

If I were coming here from an outside area, I'd be looking at Mt. Hood in Oregon, Olympic National Park, or possibly several shorter hikes at the Oregon Coast, Columbia Gorge, etc.

M. D. Vaden Redwood Exploring & Photos