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None September 14, 2011 Grand Ridge 700 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hp/go-hiking/hikes/grand-ridge 5.0 miles -123.3821 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Grand Ridge is appropriately named. The views are grand, the wildflowers are grand, and trekking across its wide open slopes is a grand experience. But it gets grander. Reaching an altitude of 6600 feet, this trail is among the highest in the Olympics and one of the most scenic, with nonstop views of jagged glacier-covered peaks, deep valleys of unbroken old growth, and miles upon miles ofwildflower-saturated meadows and tundra.The complete trek across Grand Ridge from Obstruction Point to Deer Park is 7.5 miles, with a whole lot of up and down. It ranks as one of the all-time great ridge traverses in the Olympics. But unless you can arrange for a pick-up at the other end, it's a tough 15-mile round trip that only a few hardy souls are willing to make. The 5-mile out and back traversing the slopes of Elk Mountain, the highest point on the ridge, should do the trick for most. You'll be able to take in Grand Ridge's finest views, with plenty of time to stop and smell the copious flowers along the way.In wide-open country, start off by descending slightly toward the Badger Valley. In 0.2 mile the Badger Valley Trail takes off right, dropping steeply below into emerald oblivion. Your trail angles left, rounding Obstruction Peak before traversing the barren, wind-battered, and sun-dried south face of Elk Mountain. Some years, snows linger in the shadows of Obstruction Peak, making travel dangerous. If the steep gullies haven't melted out, consider hiking to Grand Valley instead.Once the snow is gone, however, it's high and dry on the ridge. Pack plenty of water. After 1 mile of huffing and puffing the grade eases, allowing you to concentrate on the fascinating alpine tundra cloaking Elk Mountain. Put your nose to the ground to admire floral arrangements of lupine, columbine, tiger lily, paintbrush, cow parsley, rosehip, penstemon, larkspur, gentian, cinquefoil, and a handful of other showy blossoms. Watch the meadows for movement too. You may spot one of the horned larks that calls Grand Ridge home.At 2 miles and an elevation of 6600 feet-the highest maintained tread in the park-come to a junction with the Badger Valley cutoff, an option for an interesting, albeit difficult return. Continue on relatively flat terrain for another 0.5 mile, basking in mountain breezes and soaking up views. From the sparkling waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the snowy summits of Mounts Olympus, Cameron, Carrie, and Deception, grand views emanate.At 2.5 miles the trail makes a steep plunge down a rocky slope on its way to Maiden Peak. This is a good place to start retracing your steps, savoring this alpine beauty a little bit longer.Driving Directions:From Port Angeles leave US 101 near milepost 249, following Race Street south 1.2 miles to Hurricane Ridge Road (Heart o' the Hills Parkway) and passing the Olympic National Park Visitors Center and Wilderness Information Center. Proceed on the Hurricane Ridge Road for almost 17.5 miles. Just before the large parking lot at Hurricane Ridge, make a sharp left turn on the gravel Obstruction Point Road. Follow this narrow (and harrowing to some) gravel road 7.7 miles to its end at the trailhead. Privy available. One of the grandest hikes in Olympic National Park, this high elevation trail along Grand Ridge surely won’t disappoint. At 6,600 feet,Grand Ridgewon’t be snow-free for long, so take advantage of it while you can. Keep an eye out for marmots and maybe even an elusive bear while enjoying mountain peaks as far as the eye can see. 6600 ft 47.9184
None September 8, 2011 Evergreen Mountain Lookout 1425 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hp/go-hiking/hikes/evergreen-mountain-lookout 3.0 miles -121.2771 Featured In:Day Hiking: Central Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.A short and steep hike to a restored lookout provides views long and sweet. From this outpost high above the Beckler River valley feast on alpine views in every direction. Savor Rainier, Glacier Peak, the serrated summits of the Wild Sky, and the massive Monte Cristo massif. And if the views don't spin your senses, the dazzling array of wildflowers carpeting the way most certainly will!Starting in an old burn surrounded by old cuts (that will take quite some time to recover due to the high elevation here), the well-built trail takes off steeply up Evergreen Mountain's southwest shoulder. It's a tough start, and the immediate views and, in season, abundant berries may slow you down further. But the verdant meadowtop of Evergreen looming above should help provide stimulus to pick up the pace.Between switchbacks take in the sweeping view south of the broad U-shaped (evidence of past glaciations) Beckler River valley. At 0.6 mile enter the Wild Sky Wilderness, leaving young regenerating forest for groves of old-growth mountain hemlock. Now on a gentler grade, traverse the ridge, reaching a small gap at about 0.9 mile (elev. 5100 feet).Almost there! Continuing along the ridge crest, leave forest for glorious meadows. Purple, red, yellow, white-evergreen it most certainly isn't. Swing around the north side of the mountain, and after one final push reach the 5587-foot summit with its restored fire lookout at 1.4 miles. The trail continues along the ridge for another 0.1 mile or so, and you are encouraged to follow it, taking in excellent views all along the way.Look south to Stuart, Daniel, Hinman, the Snoqualmie Pass peaks, and big, beautiful Rainier hovering above them all. West it's Merchant, Gunn, Spire, and Bear, jewels of the Wild Sky. Look north to the Monte Cristo peaks, Sloan, and White Horse. East it's the meadow country of Fortune and Grizzly, with a backdrop of the Poet Peaks, White Mountains, Nason Ridge, and the Chiwaukums. This is without a doubt one of the finest viewing posts in the Central Cascades.And the lookout? It was built in 1935 and revived by the Seattle Explorer Search and Rescue in the 1990s. It's available through the Forest Service for nightly rentals. Just imagine the sunsets, sunrises, and night skies from this lofty perch.Driving Directions:From Everett head east on US 2 for 49 miles to the small town of Skykomish. Continue east for 1 more mile, turning left onto Beckler River Road (Forest Road 65). The pavement ends at 6.9 miles. Continue north for another 5.7 miles to a five-way junction at Jack Pass. Take the road to your immediate right(FR 6550) for 0.9 mile to a junction. Turn left onto FR 6554 and drive 8.7 scenic miles to its end at the trailhead (elev. 4175 ft). In 2008, FR 6550 was closed 8.3 miles from the trailhead because of two washouts, a frequent occurrence along this stretch. As of autumn 2008, the washouts were easy to get around and the road was in decent shape, making for a great bike-to-hike adventure. Sometimes you need to stop to smell (and identify and photograph) the flowers. On this short sweet hike in the Wild Sky Wilderness, you'll have plenty of time to do just that. You can linger again once you reach the lookout, taking time to identify peak after peak after peak. Little perks include the fact that WTA's been here recently to do fix-up work, and the road has just been regraded, too.Read more. 5587 ft 47.8264
None September 1, 2011 Snowy Lakes - Golden Horn 2700 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/golden-horn 23.0 miles -120.7362 Experience the Pacific Crest Trail at its finest. This backpacking trip takes you across four passes to two lovely alpine lakes in the shadow of Golden Horn, Tower Mountain and Mount Hardy.Start on the north side of the highway at Rainy Pass. The PCT here is wide and ascends at a moderate grade through forest. If you start in the afternoon, a nice campsite can be found below Cutthroat Pass at about four miles. Switchbacks take you to Cutthroat Pass (6800 feet) at five miles and is a nice turn-around for a day hike. The forest is behind you here and big views and granite peaks are all around.Another 1.25 miles takes you to Granite Pass - where snowfields may cross the trail until August. If there is snow here, you'll need an ice axe, or you'll need to turn around. Past Granite Pass the trail is literally dynamited into the cliffs for some ways.At Methow Pass, take the unmarked trail to your right a steep half mile to Lower Snowy Lake and beyond to Upper Snowy Lake. Trees are sparse here and the alpine meadows are quite fragile. As tempting as it may be to set up your tent next to one of these lakes, it is best to camp at the established campsites along the PCT to minimize damage to this sensitive and incredibly beautiful area.Note: Much of this trail is above treeline. Shade from sun and cover from rain is minimal, so plan your trip into this area accordingly. August and September are the best months for this trip.Driving Directions:From Marblemount follow the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) east for 51 miles to Rainy Pass near milepost 158. Turn left to access the north trailhead. Elevation is 4800 feet. Wind your way through the North Cascades to camp nearUpper or Lower Snowy Lakes. You'll leave most folks at Cutthroat Pass and likely have whole stretches of the PCT to yourself after Granite Pass, with only verdant valleys and burnished mountains as your companions. (Just be sure to pack your bug spray and a camera with plenty of juice.) 6900 ft 48.5156
None August 25, 2011 Carne Mountain 3600 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hp/go-hiking/hikes/carne-mountain 8.0 miles -120.8350 Featured In:Day Hiking: Central Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.One of the finest viewing outposts in the Chiwawa region, Carne Mountain will leave your head spinning as you try to identify a seemingly infinite array of peaks spread out before you: from close-ups of Maude, mighty matron of the Entiat Range, all the way to Stuart and the Enchantments. And valleys too! Peer straight down into gorgeous emerald allies housing roaring waterways. The trail is well built, albeit steep. An excellent alpine choice in early summer-come for the wildflowers. Or miss the floral show and arrive later for the larch production, which receives golden praise year after year.Carne Mountain was named by A. H. Sylvester for an English clergyman and is pronounced carn, not carnay, as in the Spanish word for meat-though you may feel like raw meat after attempting this steep, south-facing climb on a hot summer day. So get an early start to avoid the heat. Take a siesta on the summit and savor the scenery.Starting from the Phelps Creek trailhead, don't despair if the parking lot is overflowing all the way down to Trinity (more on Trinity later). Ninety percent of those vehicles belong to hikers heading to Spider Meadow. Head down the Phelps Creek Trail a quick 0.25 mile, hopping over a refreshing creek just before coming to the junction with the Carne Mountain Trail. Time to break a sweat: the trail immediately commences to climb, switchbacking at times, shooting straight up at others.As you wind through open forest, peek-a-boo views hint at the visual pleasures that lie ahead. After close to 2 miles of serious climbing, break out onto dry open slopes. While your eyes may be lured to scan the valley below, the myriad flowers painting the hillside may capture your attention first. Continue climbing at a good clip, passing a spur to a creekside campsite before reaching a series of tight switchbacks, views growing at each twist of the trail.At 3 miles enter a high hanging basin (elev. 6100 ft) laced in larch and brushed with brilliant blossoms. Snow lingers late in this alpine pocket, providing a reliable water source for resident marmots and parched hikers. After a much needed respite from climbing, it's steeply up, up, and away once more. Soon reach a junction with the lightly traveled Old Gib Trail (elev. 6450 ft).Head left, ascending through attractive groves of larches to crest a high saddle (elev. 6800 ft) between Carne's two prominent summits, coming to an unsigned junction with the Rock Creek Trail. Carne's 7085-foot summit lies left. Follow a flower-lined path 0.3 mile to reach it. Speedwell, buckwheat, gilia, gentian, lupine, paintbrush, partridgefoot, stonecrop, penstemon, buttercup, anemone, aster-what a line-up!The panorama of pointy peaks and deep valleys is quite an arrangement as well. South it's the wild and lonely Rock Creek valley flanked by the Entiat Mountains, Old Gib, and Basalt. Look west to Buck and the Chiwawa Ridge, their glaciers and snowfields glistening in the sun. Directly below, make out remnant structures of Trinity, a former mining town, now a private ghost town. Stare north for the finale-straight up the Phelps Creek basin to its imposing watchmen: Fortress, Chiwawa, Red, Dumbell, Sevenfingered Jack, and then there's Maude! At 9082 feet, Washington's thirteenth-highest summit steals the show.Driving Directions:From Everett head east on US 2 for 85 miles to Coles Corner. (From Leaven-worth travel west on US 2 for 15 miles.) Turn left onto State Route 207 (signed for Lake Wenatchee) and proceed 4.2 miles to a Y intersection after crossing the Wenatchee River. Bear right onto the Chiwawa Loop Road, and after 1.3 miles turn left onto the Chiwawa River Road (Forest Road 62). Proceed for 22 miles (the pavement ends at 10.8 miles) to a junction. Bear right onto FR 6211 and proceed for 2.3 very rough miles to the trailhead at the road's end (elev. 3500 ft). While crowds are headed to Spider Meadows on the Phelps Creek Trail, turn off and head to lush Carne Basin and theCarne Mountainsummit through brilliant green larches. The trail is now clear, and snow-free, and the summit views of Clark Mountain and the Entiat Mountains can't be beat. You'll definitely want to plan a return trip in October. 7085 ft 48.0829
None August 18, 2011 Fremont Lookout 800 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/mount-fremont-lookout 5.6 miles -121.6423 Featured In:Day Hiking: Mount Rainier National Park Trails, byDan A. Nelson and Alan L. Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.The Mount Fremont Trail, an easy half-day hike from the popular (and spectacular) Sunrise area, is an extremely popular hike that can be combined with other Sunrise-area destinations for a full day of wandering among some of the most spectacular mountain and alpine parkland scenery in the United States. The old fire-watch tower at trail's end is dubbed the Fremont Lookout, but the stilted cabin actually sits on a secondary knoll, not the true summit, of Mount Fremont. That's okay, though, since the views from this historic structure are improved by its location at the more northern knob. On clear days, Glacier Peak, Mount Stuart, and even Mount Baker can be seen. If the air is too hazy for those distant views, watch the slopes around the north side of the ridge--mountain goats frequently rest on the slope as it drops off just past the trail's end.The trail climbs to the top of Sourdough Ridge. At the Y-junction 0.2 mile out, go left and at the ridge-top junction at 0.3 mile, stay left again to hike west along the spine of Sourdough Ridge. At about 1 mile out, you pass a side trail on the right leading down to Forest Lake in Huckleberry Basin. Continue straight ahead (west) along the ridge top for 1.2 miles, passing small Frozen Lake. Watch for winking blond marmots in the rocks.At lake's end is an intersection. Turn due north (right). It's an easy 1.3 miles through magnificent meadow and rugged rock-ridge terrain to the lookout, situated to keep watch on hundreds of miles of rolling green (or clear-cut) forest all the way to the central Cascades and Olympics.If conditions are right, your binoculars might even find downtown Seattle. Look for the brown haze. Up closer, if your timing is right, you might see mountain goats. Excellent Rainier views, of course, tantalize you all along the route. Expect heavy traffic all summer long (many, many gapers) on this trail, which gains 800 feet one-way. It's a good family hike--even if you're here without a family.Driving Directions:From Enumclaw, drive east 43 miles on State Route 410 to the Mount Rainier National Park White River Entrance. Veer right onto the Sunrise Road and follow it 17 miles west to the large parking lot and visitor center at the road's end. Note: Sunrise Road usually doesn't open until early July. We know you want to get high up at Mount Rainier, and you can. Head to Sunrise and take the trail toFremont Lookout. Dizzying heights. Rocky alpine wildflowers. Spot-on views of The Mountain, and as far as Mount Baker. All in less than 6 miles roundtrip and 800 feet elevation gain. Your price: lots of company. 7200 ft 46.9146
None August 11, 2011 Cascade Pass 3600 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/sahale-arm 12.0 miles -121.0735 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.This is one of the most scenic, most accessible (including for kids, at least to the pass), and not surprisingly the most crowded high-country romps in the North Cascades-and the only trailhead in the 684,000-acre North Cascades National Park that you can drive to. Mixed in with the throngs of Puget Sound hikers are folks from Munich, Tokyo, and Kalamazoo. And none of them return disappointed after frolicking among fields of flowers, peaks of ice, and boulders bearing basking marmots-some of the most outstanding alpine landscapes to be found anywhere in the world.Long used by Native Americans, explorers, prospectors, and surveyors, this relatively low pass was a wise choice for passage through the North Cascades. And it was once considered by railroad and highway planners too. Thankfully it will remain trail, protected as wilderness within a national park. But despite its wilderness status, this special place needs your care. Stay on established trails, or when you choose to veer off keep your boots on snow and rock, not fragile heather and alpine vegetation.The views are amazing before you even hit the trail. To the south, the fierce face of Johannesburg Mountain peers down at you as you lace up, periodically shedding shards of ice to the valley floor from its hanging glaciers. Stop staring and hit the trail-it gets better. The trail starts by switchbacking some thirty times on a forested rib to propel you high above the avalanche-debris-littered valley floor.After climbing 1400 feet in the first 2 miles or so, the grade eases, making a long traverse toward the pass, breezing by meadows, talus, and the occasional lingering snowfield en route. Johannesburg's equally fierce neighbors introduce themselves: Cascade Peak, Mix-up Peak, and The Triplets. At 3.7 miles reach the heather parklands of Cascade Pass (elev. 5400 ft), a perfectly fine place to call it a day. But if the prospects of going higher and farther tempt you, carry on.Locate the trail for Sahale Arm that takes off north just a short way east of the pass. Prepare to get down to business. Beat to the ground by climbers, the trail wastes no time, gaining about 800 feet in 1 rocky and steep mile. Reach a junction (elev. 6200 ft) with a trail heading right, bound for Doubtful Lake and losing all of that hard-earned elevation gain.The trail left to Sahale Arm, however, is nothing but pure delight from this point. Follow the path upward through rolling meadow and alpine tundra while peeping pipits and whistling pigs (marmots) announce your arrival. Hike all the way to the toe of Sahale Glacier at 7200 feet (but not on it-that's for equipped climbers) or until snowfields block passage. You may have to overcome panorama paralysis, a condition known to stop hikers dead in their tracks when barraged by boundless beauty.Don't fight it. Look north to 8484-foot Sahale Mountain's glistening glacier; south to the sheer vertical walls of Johannesburg and company clad in hanging glaciers; east down the lush Stehekin River valley, with McGregor Mountain standing proud and Doubtful Lake below; and west to Hidden Lake Peaks, Eldorado Peak, and Mount Torment.Driving Directions:From Marblemount head east on the Cascade River Road for 23 miles all the way to its end at the trailhead (elevation 3600 ft). You will follow the Cascade River the whole way; it takes nearly an hour on Cascade river road. The last half can be rutted and primitive depending on how much maintenance the road has received lately. Privy available. The snow is finally melting in the North Cascades, allowing access to one of its most distinctive and popular trails. The wildflowers are blooming and only patches of snow remain. You’ll be glad you made the trip as you pass by waterfall after waterfall in some of the most beautiful alpine landscapes that the Northwest has to offer. Continuing on to the Sahale Arm is possible, but more snow might be encountered.Read more. 7200 ft 48.4748
None August 3, 2011 Silver Star Mountain 1240 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/eds-trail/ 5.0 miles -122.2433 There are two routes up the north side of Silver Star Mountain that in good conditions can be combined to form a sort of loop. Along the way, hikers will be delighted with a diverse array of wildflowers, a natural arch, volcanic views and fine hiking. Spring brings colorful wildflower displays, but also crowds, especially on the weekends. Fall colors are another popular attraction. The best months to hike are May through November.Ed's Trail is the more scenic and more rugged of the two paths up Silver Star, which can be hiked in a sort of loop. A popular way to visit the summit is to ascend on Ed's Trail and return via the Silver Star Trail. With rocky outcrops and a natural rock archway and meadows that burst with wildflowers in the spring, this trail highlights the high country that inspired the late Ed Robertson who co-founded the Chinook Trail Association. The trail was completed in 1996 by volunteers as part of the proposed Chinook Trail, a bi-state route that encircles the rim of the Columbia River Gorge.Start on the Silver Star Trail (180) - an old road grade that climbs fairly steeply out of the parking area. Ed's Trail is a 1.5 mile segment, but is part of a popular 5 mile hike to the Silver Star Summit, when joined with other trails in the area. From the Silver Star Trailhead, hike south for about 1 mile and stay right to begin Ed's Trail (180A), which climbs the east side of the ridge.Ed's Trail (180A) is a foot path that takes a slightly less steep route and follows along the east side of the ridge, while the Silver Star Trail traverses the west side of the ridge. The two trails meet again about 1/4 mile from the summit at the junction with the Bluff Mt. Trail. There is a short steep section on Ed's trail that requires a bit of scrambling where a slip could be very dangerous. Avoid this route when wet or icy.From the junction, continue uphill on the Silver Star Trail for another 1/4 mile and head left up a rocky road bed - the Silver Star Summit Trail (#180D). On a clear day, the views from the summit are sublime - Mounts Hood, Rainier and St. Helens, as well as the forested hills of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Yacolt Burn State Forest.On the return you can retrace your route or stay on the west side of the ridge on the Silver Star Trail (#180) to get back to the trailhead. You can also keep hiking from here. Several trails meet near the Silver Star summit. Hikers can follow the Chinook Trail to the Kloochman Butte Trail (#180B) to the west or the Bluff Mountain Trail (#172) to the east.Driving Directions:From Battleground- Drive north on State Route 503- Turn right on onto Rock Creek Road- Continue 9 miles to the Moulton Falls County Park- Just past the park, turn right on Sunset Falls Road- Continue 7 miles to the Sunset Falls Campground- Turn right into the campground- Continue past the bathrooms on your left and cross the East Fork Lewis River on FS 41- Go 3.5 miles and turn right on FR 4109, it is a sharp hairpin turn going down.- Continue on FR 4109 (it is rugged road not suitable for low clearance cars).- About a mile past turning off of FS 41, stay on 4109 at the intersection where Road 1100 veers off to the right.- Continue approx. 3 miles to the trailhead. You won't be sorry you took a long drive to reach the trail toSilver Star Mountain. Last weekend a hiker counted 40 different species of wildflowers along the ridgeline trail. And when it is clear, hello volcanoes! Mounts Hood, Rainier and St. Helens stand tall along the horizon. Oh, and did we mention the natural stone arch? 4390 ft 45.7673
None July 28, 2011 Lake Caroline 3100 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/lake-caroline 11.5 miles -120.8139 Featured In:Day Hiking: Central Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Sweet Caroline, set high in a hidden basin between 7996-foot Eightmile Mountain and 8501-foot Cashmere Mountain, will no doubt have you singing (Neil Diamond or other) tunes from its peaceful shoreline. But you'll probably be muttering some not-so-sweet things as you toil up the steep and hot trail to reach it. There's a reason why Lake Caroline receives only a fraction of the visitors that the nearby alpine lakes do. Such is the price for solitude in the land of the Enchantments.Start on the Eightmile Lake Trail, climbing steadily at first up open slopes scorched by forest fire in the 1990s. At 1 mile or so enter the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and continue on a more gentle incline, paralleling Eightmile Creek. At 2.8 miles, just after passing the fraction of a pond, Little Eightmile Lake, come to a signed junction (elev. 4450 ft). The trail straight ahead continues 0.5 mile to beautiful, big Eightmile Lake. Take the trail right, the one less traveled.Brushy at times and sizzling when the sun is shining, the way climbs steeply, switchbacking up slopes that are slowly recovering from the big burn of 1994. Views increase with elevation gain: Little Eightmile Lake, then Eightmile Lake, then the Stuart Range and Enchantment peaks.At about 4 miles cross a few small creeks (elev. 5350 ft) before traversing a grove of silver snags. After passing by some sandstone boulders, the grade eases and the way slowly transitions into unburnt territory. A series of meadows teeming with birdlife and more than likely a few mammals too is a welcome sight. Pass patches of whitebark pine, and where there's Pinus albicaulis there are Clark's nutcrackers.At about 5.5 miles reach a small "pass" (elev. 6300 ft). Then drop quickly and steeply under a cool forest canopy, reaching Caroline Lake (elev. 6190 ft) in about 0.25 mile. Set in a semi-open bowl, the lake sports big sun-kissed logs on its shallow north shore-good posts for gazing and grazing. Watch the fish jump. They're loving the bugs you're not!Driving Directions:From milepost 99 on US 2, on the western edge of Leavenworth, follow the paved Icicle Creek Road (Forest Road 76) for 8.4 miles, turning left onto Eightmile Road (FR 7601). Continue on this washboarded dirt road for 3.1 miles to the trailhead. Park opposite the trailhead, on the left side of the road (elev. 3300 ft). Privy available. The hike to littleLake Carolineshowcases all of the flowers and fabulous views, but few of the Enchantments-area crowds. The section between Little Eightmile Lake and Lake Caroline is reported to be in peak bloom, with lupine throughout and washes of paintbrush, yarrow, balsamroot and more. Those with camping permits can reap more views by heading to Windy Pass and beyond. 6300 ft 47.5360
None July 21, 2011 Deer Lake 3450 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/bogachiel-peak 16.0 miles -123.8350 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.A moderately difficult hike to a large subalpine lake frequented by many of its namesake critters or an all-day challenging grunt to perhaps the most beautiful viewpoint in the Olympics. This is the famed High Divide country, a land of sparkling alpine lakes, resplendent alpine meadows, and awe-inspiring alpine views. Usually reserved for backpackers with time to explore, strong and tenacious day hikers can get a small taste.Deer Lake: The hike to both Deer Lake and Bogachiel Peak starts off easy enough on a 0.8-mile nearly level sojourn through spectacular old growth to pretty Sol Duc Falls. Then the party's over and it's time to work. Cross the Sol Duc, pass the Lovers Lane Trail, and commence to climb. On a steep, sometimes rocky path work your way up the dark ravine housing Canyon Creek. At 1.5 miles, cross high above the tumbling waterway on a wide and sturdy bridge. After another 0.5 mile the grade eases somewhat.After another push, cross Canyon Creek once more, this time at the outlet to Deer Lake (elev. 3550 feet). Nestled in a forested and grassy bowl, the lake's waters reflect a soft green. Surrounded by yellow cedar, mountain hemlock, silver fir, and a thick understory of huckleberries, it's a pretty and serene spot. Deer often browse along the lakeshore and it's not uncommon to see them in the shallow lake as well.A backcountry ranger station and multiple campsites can also be found at the lake. A rough path circles the lake and reveals a smaller hidden "fawn"lake. Call it a day here or carry on to higher ground.Bogachiel Peak: For Bogachiel Peak, continue past the lake, bear left at a junction, and climb to more-open country. Winding through heather fields, subalpine forest, and by a dozen pothole tarns (a.k.a. mosquito incubators), the trail works it way up to the high ridge dividing the Sol Duc and Bogachiel watersheds. Alternating between groves of mountain hemlock and open meadows, the trail continues to climb. Far-reaching views across rainforest valleys all the way to the Pacific can now be had.Look for what guidebook writer Robert Wood called the snake pit. It's a cluster of contorted mountain hemlocks resembling a serpentine lair. The trail soon rounds the ridge crest, working its way around a high isolated basin, headwaters of the Bogachiel River. Mount Olympus peeks its icy head over the next ridge, and Bogachiel Peak-still a ways away-beckons. In September, bugling elk from down below can often be heard. And it's not rare to run into berry-munching bears, so be aware.Drop into a big rocky depression where a trail descends to Seven Lakes Basin, one of the prettiest spots this side of Shangri-la. Next, on steep open slopes, angle around Bogachiel Basin. Snow often persists well into summer here, making it potentially dangerous to proceed. After a series of tight switchbacks, reach the ridge crest (elev. 5100 feet). Bogachiel Peak is reached via a short side trail a short distance left on the High Divide Trail.While you clamber to bag the 5474-foot former lookout site, no doubt the incredible views by this time will have bowled you over. They are beyond breathtaking. The alpine jewels of the Seven Lakes Basin shimmer below. The snow-capped Bailey Range marches off into the eastern horizon. The emerald swath of the Hoh rain forest spreads out nearly 1 vertical mile below. And rising above it all, staring you right in the face, is Mount Olympus. Its glaciers and snowfields are blinding on a sunny summer day.It doesn't get any more spectacular than this. It was on Bogachiel Peak in September 1989 when I first fell in love with the Olympics. How could I not?Driving Directions:From Port Angeles follow US 101 west for 29 miles, passing Lake Crescent. About 2 miles beyond the Fairholm store, turn left onto the Sol Duc Hot Springs Road. (From Forks head east 28 miles on US 101, and turn right just past milepost 219.) Follow this road for 14 miles (passing the park entrance booth) to its end at a large trailhead parking lot. Privy available. As a day hike or overnight destination - or as a pass-through stop on the way to the High Divide, sweetDeer Lakewill greet you. Hikers will enjoy the picturesque, but crowded, Sol Doc Falls, and then shed the swarms as they climb to this green, forested lake. With the snow melting, soon hikers will be able to easily explore beyond the lake to one of the prettiest places in the state. 5474 ft 47.9552
None July 14, 2011 Kachess Ridge & Beacon 2200 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/kachess-ridge 6.0 miles -121.1737 Featured In:Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Region, byDan A. Nelson and Alan L. Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Starting a hike with a serious climb is a good way to limber up your muscles and shake off any casual hikers. But crowds don't pose a problem on this route--few hikers, it seems, know about this trail. It's just minutes off the interstate, with grand views of the three big lakes of the eastern Snoqualmie Pass corridor (Keechelus, Kachess, and Cle Elum). You'll also find panoramic views that encompass the peaks of the Cle Elum Valley and reach south to Mount Rainier.From the trailhead, the hike to Kachess Ridge climbs to the left while a second path leads off to the right--south--along Easton Ridge. The trail wastes no time in starting to climb, running steeply up the nose of the tall face of Kachess Ridge. As you climb, the forest opens periodically to provide views south to Mount Baldy, Domerie Peak, and Easton Ridge.Rather than continue straight up to the ridge top, the trail angle moderates just past 1 mile, running almost level for the next 0.75 mile as it follows the tumbling waters of Silver Creek upstream.At 1.9 miles (elev. 3800 ft) the trail splits. The main trail continues right, up Silver Creek, paralleling the long spine of Kachess Ridge. Our route goes left, climbing through a couple of gentle switchbacks away from the creek.The trail then straightens out for a long, climbing run up the ridge to a high knob (elev. 4600 ft) at the southern end of Kachess Ridge. This unnamed peak was used in the past as a base for an air-traffic beacon. Outstanding views await you, looking out on the deep basin of Kachess Lake, south to Mount Baldy, and west to Ambilis Mountain.Driving Directions:From Seattle drive I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass to exit 70. After exiting, turn left over the interstate and then turn left onto West Sparks Road. Continue a short distance before turning right onto Kachess Dam Road (Forest Road 4818). Drive about 1 mile, then turn right at the next road junction and continue another 0.5 mile to the trailhead. Looking for a steep, snow-free trail off of Snoqualmie Pass? TryKachess Ridge. It's on the east side of the pass (so it's sunnier), it's challenging (2200 feet in 3 miles), the flowers are blooming, and the views from the Beacon are pretty fabulous. If you can fend off the mosquitoes and a sometimes rough trail, you'll be a happy hiker. 4600 ft 47.2672
None July 7, 2011 Harry's Ridge 200 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/harrys-ridge 8.0 miles -122.2165 Featured In:Day Hiking: South Cascades, byDan A. Nelson and Alan L. Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Everyone knows about Harry Truman-not to be confused with the former U.S. president, but the sweet old curmudgeon with the just-as-old cats. Harry and his cats refused to evacuate from his beloved Spirit Lake home when the volcano started to awaken. He's still there somewhere, as much a part of the mountain as he ever was. This short trail on the ridge above Spirit Lake is one of the most picturesque routes in the monument.Head east along the Boundary Trail. For 2 miles, you'll be able to stroll along the narrow ridge, staring across the broad blast plain in front of the gaping maw of the mountain's breach. Utter devastation-but beautiful! The trail loops around one steeply sloped ridge spine just past the 2-mile mark before reaching a junction with the Truman Trail. Stay left at the junction to head north.At 3.3 miles out, another trail junction awaits. Turn right onto this path, the Harrys Ridge Trail. It crosses over the ridge between you and Spirit Lake, then rolls south again, this time on the slope above Spirit. For a mile you can walk and gawk. Look down on Spirit Lake. Note the raft of logs that still jams the lake surface, twenty-six years after the blast-the remains of the once great forest that surrounded the lake.Once you've had your fill of fantastic scenery, or (more likely) you just run out of time, turn back and return the way you came.Driving Directions:From Castle Rock, drive about 43 miles east on Highway 504 to the Coldwater Visitor Center and continue on to the road's end at Johnston Ridge Observatory. The trailhead is on the east end of the parking lot. The west side of Mount St. Helens is ready for hikers! From the Hummucks Trail  to the South Coldwater Lake Trail, there are places to go hiking and let your imagination go wild. This weekend, hike the 8-mile roundtrip toHarry's Ridgefor great views of the volcano and a peak at how the blast zone has recovered since 1980. 4400 ft 46.2765
None June 30, 2011 Fourth of July Pass 2400 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/fourth-of-july-pass 11.2 miles -121.0978 There are two ways to attain Fourth of July Pass - from Thunder Creek or from Panther Creek. Both offer wonderful opportunities to travel along burbling, blue-green creeks. And both offer excellent views of the North Cascades and camping possibilities. Go out and back or stash a second car and do a traverse.Probably the most scenic way to hike to Fourth of July Pass is from the Colonial Creek Campground on the Thunder Creek trail. The stats on this page reflect this hike. The trail starts out easy, as it gently wanders alongside Thunder Creek for 2 miles. One-third of a mile past the bridge, you'll reach the trail to Fourth of July Pass on the left. Taking this trail, you will soon begin a steep ascent, climbing 2000 feet in just 2.5 miles to Fourth of July Camp (3400'). You'll appreciate the cool forest cover as you climb, and then the views of Colonial Peak, Snowfield Peak and Neve Glacier as you near the camp. If backpacking, this is the place to stay - some of the camp spots have fabulous views.From the camp, it is less than a mile to the pass - 3600' and 5.3 miles from the trailhead. On the way, you'll pass a nice overlook of the Panther Potholes just short of the pass. The view at the top of the pass isn't any better.Alternatively, you can access the Pass from Panther Creek (parking at the East Bank trailhead between mileposts 138 & 139 on Hwy 20). The way is also pleasant, also alongside a burbling creek. But while it does have a camp, it is not as scenic. And hikers may be disheartened along the trail when it takes a surprising and unexplained turn downhill after having marched upwards for several hundred feet. Probably the best way to see this section is as a traverse from Colonial Creek Campground or the opposite. If you can swing two cars, the whole walk would be 11.7 miles.Note that a backcountry camping permit is required for backpackers, obtainable from North Cascades National Park.Driving Directions:From Marblemount follow the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) east for 24 miles. Just past milepost 130, turn right into the Colonial Creek Campground and proceed 0.5 mile to the trailhead, near the amphitheater at the day-use area (elev. 1250 ft). Water and restrooms available. Snow-free hiking in the North Cascades? Yes! A andFourth of July Passhike (or backpack) is just the ticket. Start out in cool forest along raging Thunder Creek. Then make the steep ascent to Fourth of July camp. Hikers report that the views from there are just as good as at the pass, and we think this photo attests to the great beauty awaiting hikers here. 3600 ft 48.6925
None June 22, 2011 Iron Bear - Teanaway Ridge 1089 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/iron-bear 6.5 miles -120.7070 In spring and early summer, the flowers are so profuse and beautiful that you would think that a gardener had planted them. And because this area is usually clear of snow long before many others in the region, hikers can attain Teanaway Ridge and views of the Stuart Range and Mount Rainier while much of the Cascades is still snowed in. Alas, so can motorbikes, so go mid-week if you'd like some quiet.Begin hiking in trees, which gradually thin out into low shrubs such as serviceberry and ceonothus. The trail switchbacks through scree and flower fields, gaining about 600' to a four-way trail junction at Iron Bear Pass at 1.8 miles. Here the views of the Mount Rainier and the Stuart Range open up and miles of ridgetop rambling lie ahead.Go left (east) to walk along Teanaway Ridge or go right to a delightful 5489' high point (about 6.5 miles) and a great spot for lunch (going straight takes you down to a road). Flower displays are constantly changing and are a mixture of east and west side flora. At the pass in a dry south-facing slope there is often a field of pink bitterroot of Lewisia rediva, growing in the rocks and scree, like tiny water lilies with no visible leaves or stems.Do note that this trail has no water. Be sure to bring plenty with you.Driving Directions:From I-90 take exit 85. Go left and then right to enter US 970- and US 97 for 19.3 miles. Go left on FR 9714 for 2.7 miles to the end and trailhead #1351. If you're looking for a snow-free hike, featuring profuse flowers and clear skies, look no further than Blewett Pass and the hike up to the Teanaway Ridge from Iron Creek (a.k.a. Iron Bear). Flower hounds flock to this trail every year for its stunning variety of species. Photographers love the trail for its views of Mount Stuart, Mount Rainier and more. There's only one downside: motorbikes. But it's still worth it.Read more. 5489 ft 47.3511
None June 16, 2011 Heybrook Lookout 850 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/heybrook-lookout 2.6 miles -121.5352 Featured In:Day Hiking: Central Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Short and sweet and a tad bit steep, the hike to the restored Heybrook Lookout makes for a good spring warm-up or late fall frolic, when the surrounding high country is buried deep in snow. From the lookout's lofty balcony, scan the scenic Skykomish Valley, relish the rugged beauty of Ragged Ridge, and stand impressed by Mount Index's imposing facade.Quickly leave the busy highway behind and enter a cool, mossy forest of second growth. After angling east at an easy grade, the way reverses direction and steepens. Via a series of tight switchbacks the trail meanders upward under an emerald canopy. Pass by giant cedar stumps, evi-dence of past logging. Their blackened scars confirm that even moist forests like this one are subject to fire.Approach a series of boulders carpeted with moss. Swing east once again and crest the ridge, highway noise now replaced by thrush and wren song. In early season search the forest floor for signs of spring. A blooming trillium qualifies. Continue along the ridge on a gentler incline to eventually bust out of the forest on a ledge just below Heybrook's fire lookout. The views here are good, but they're far better from the top of the 67-foot lookout tower perched on the 1700-foot ridge.Ascend seven sets of stairs and behold a supreme view of the Skykomish Valley spread below you. First, gaze east toward Stevens Pass and ominous Baring Mountain. Then look west to the forks of the Skykomish-mighty good white water down there. Finally draw your attention south to the massive and awesome rock wall known as Mount Index. Snowfields perpetually cling to its precipitous crags. Bridal Veil Falls careens out of a cleft housing Lake Serene.The hike out is short so there's no need to return just yet. Hang around awhile and watch the evening sky cast a crimson hue on the impressive and imposing landmark Index. And don't forget to give thanks to the Everett Mountaineers for making all of this viewing possible. It was their idea and hard work that restored the 1964 lookout.Driving Directions:From Everett follow US 2 east for 37 miles (approximately 2 miles east of the steel bridge crossing the Skykomish River) to the trailhead (elev. 850 ft), located on the north side of the highway just after entering Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Where should you go hiking for Father's Day?Heybrook Lookouthas the goods for a winning hike with your father or your kids. It's a tad bit steep, but short. It's easy to get to off of Highway 2, allowing time for a family brunch along the way. It's snow-free. And on a clear day the views from the 67-foot lookout tower are sublime. 1700 ft 47.8084
None June 8, 2011 East Fork Foss River 3400 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/necklace-valley/ 18.0 miles -121.2920 The East Fork Foss trail makes a lovely spring or early summer day hike or backpack. The challenging climb into the Necklace Valley well-rewards hearty hikers with cool alpine lakes named for precious gems that you can swim, fish in, or just camp beside.The trail begins gently along the East Fork Foss River, traversing through a beautiful, naturally-regenerated forest that was logged by the railroads in the 1930s. The first five miles gain only 600 feet. Lowland forest wildflowers will keep your senses busy - look for trillium, calypso orchids, and yellow violets and more. This pleasant stroll abruptly ends when you come to the crossing of the East Fork Foss River. There is an established campsite here, and this is a good turn-around for a day hike of the East Fork Foss.Depending on the condition of the footlog and the amount of snowmelt in the river below, the crossing can be a little scary. Hold on to the handwire. After the crossing, the hike changes considerably as it becomes a steep, grueling climb, gaining 2400 feet in just 3 miles until you reach the first of the gems - Jade Lake. It's nice and peaceful, and there are established campsites here, but you will be amply rewarded if you push on to Emerald or Locket Lake. Be prepared for insects.Enjoy a few days exploring up here, scrambling over granite, breathing in the fragrant mountain heather, and relaxing in the shade of forest. No campfires are allowed, so be sure and pack your backcountry stove.From the cabin, a trail climbs, then drops west to Al Lake. There is a maze of social trails in this area.The upper end of this hanging valley accesses La Bohn Lakes and the standard route on Mt. Hinman. This is most pleasant as a snow ascent in early season, but the snow chute to the gap requires an ice axe. Once the snow is gone, Hinman is very rocky. In late season, follow the left edge of the talus as high as possible, then work left on a discernible scramble track that generally follows the right side of the La Bohn Lakes' outfall.Necklace Valley also accesses the Tank/Foehn Lakes areas. Ascend the very rocky, cairned medial moraine up this huge, recently glaciated cirque. Might be easiest in early season on snow. Please treat the fragile high country very carefully.For an adventurous hike one may continue from Tank Lakes in a generally south-westerly direction towards Iron Cap Mountain. Fred Beckey shows this route as the Alpine Lakes High Route (see Cascade Alpine Guide, #1, second edition, page 188). One may circumvent ICM to the north or go over it (both routes have their pros and cons and neither are simple). At ones discretion, descend to either Otter Lake or Big Heart Lake on fisherman's trails. From either one may gain the West Fork of the Foss River. This trail will join Road #68 just one mile south of where your car is parked at the east fork trailhead! Note that your mileage will increase to 22-26 miles with ~6500 in elevation gain.Driving Directions:To get there, from Everett drive east on U.S. Highway 2 toward Stevens Pass. After passing the Skykomish Ranger Station on the left, continue another 0.5 mile and turn right (south) onto Foss River Road (Forest Road 68).The clearly marked parking lot and trailhead will be on your left at 4.2 miles. As Trip Reporter Robert Michelson says, this hike provides "Solitude with a capital S."East Fork Foss Riveralso offers a delightful snow-free valley hike, with lots of spring wildflowers, roaring water, croaking frogs, views and several stream crossings. The five-mile mark makes for a good day hike, or later in the year hikers can tackle the challenging next four miles and ascend into the gorgeous Necklace Valley. 5000 ft 47.6586
None June 2, 2011 Weldon Wagon Road 1290 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hp/go-hiking/hikes/weldon-wagon-road 5.4 miles -121.4707 Oregon white oak woodlands with open ridgetop meadows, wildflowers, and views of the White Salmon Valley make this a delightful hike that is off the beaten track.The trail begins on an old road just about 1 mile off of Hwy 14, but as it ascends the ridge the mixed forest gives way to open meadows and the trail narrows to a wide foot-path climbing higher and higher up the ridge.The first couple miles are on private land so stick to the right-of-way on the trail. Another reason to stay on the trail is the abundant poison oak.The upper most portion of the hike goes through the White Salmon Oak Natural Resources Conservation Area managed by the DNR. The twisting and curvy oaks are like a sculpture garden and the broad sloping meadows are beautiful in springtime. At about 2 1/2 miles the trail ends at the upper trailhead at Sanborn road.Driving Directions:From Hood River, cross the Columbia River and turn left on Hwy 14. Go 1.6 miles and turn right onto State Route 141A. Head north for about 2 miles then turn left to continue north on Hwy State Route 141. Go 3.8 miles and turn right onto Indian Creek Road. Follow this gravel road for .6 miles, then go left on Indian Cemetery Road and continue .4 miles further. Look for the unmarked jeep road on your right and a wide spot on the left where you can park. Amazing stands of Oregon white oak. Undulating hills of wildflowers and green. Spot-on views of Mount Hood. Rusty old farm equipment. All are part of theWeldon Wagon Road trail, built at the turn of the last century and long abandoned for its original purpose. Come to this quiet northeastern corner of the Columbia River Gorge for some excellent hiking on this and other nearby trails. 1900 ft 45.8001
None May 26, 2011 Hole-in-the-Wall http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/hole-in-the-wall 4.0 miles -124.6382 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Hike to a real hole in the wall of a place: a genuine natural sea arch carved by surf and wind in an out-of-the-way section of the wild Olympic Coast. And while the Hole-in-the-Wall is an outstandingly beautiful place, the hike there via Rialto Beach doesn't exactly suffer from a dearth of spectacular scenery. Flanked by sea stacks, lined with giant logs, windswept and strewn with cobblestones, Rialto has all the makings of an Olympic wilderness beach. But unlike its wild counterparts, you don't have to hike very far to get here. The beautiful beach begins right from the parking lot.Rialto Beach stretches northward from the Quillayute River for over 3 miles. From the parking lot it's a 2-mile hike to the beach's northern boundary at Hole-in-the-Wall. This dramatic sea arch can only be hiked through during low tides. However, the beach can be hiked during almost any tide. But before you bound across the surf-blasted beach, gaze seaward out to high-bluffed, forest-capped James Island. Guarding the mouth of the Quillayute like a sentinel, for centuries this island acted as a natural fortress, protecting the Quileute people from northern invaders.Begin your hike northward across Rialto Beach. Like a giant split-rail fence, surf-battered logs line the beach. Admire their symmetry, but never climb on them during high tides; a wave can easily jostle them loose, trapping and endangering you.A salt-blasted maritime forest rises behind the rows of downed timber. Look for eagles perched in the higher trees. Along the gently sloping beach, listen for the ringing crik-crik-crik of the black oystercatcher. Watch the swelling surf for guillemots, scoters, grebes, and harlequin ducks. Don't forget to admire the scenery too. Sculpted sea stacks, shelved ledges, and battered offshore islands will keep you oohing and aahing.At 1 mile you'll come to Ellen Creek, the end of the line for four-legged beach hikers. Crossing Ellen Creek may be tricky. Look for a log, or take your boots off and plod through the tannic and chilled waters. Hole-in-the-Wall, now coming nicely into view, lies 1 mile farther.Once you hit the Hole-in-the-Wall, if the tide is out stroll through it for a whole new meaning to barrier-free hiking. Comb the adjacent tidal pools. Hike up the short overland trail that guarantees passage around this landform if the tide is in. The view of Rialto from the crest of the bluff is a classic, endlessly replicated in murals, photos, and memories.Driving Directions:From Port Angeles follow US 101 west for 55 miles to the junction with State Route 110 (signed "Mora-La Push"). (From Forks the junction is 2 miles north.) Continue west on SR 110. In 7.7 miles at Quillayute Prairie, SR 110 splits. Take the right fork (Mora Road), proceeding 5 miles to the road's end and the trailhead. Water and restrooms available. Memorial Day is upon us! Time to dust off that backpack and hit the trail - or the beach. You can day hike toHole-in-the-Wall, an incredibly picturesque natural arch north of Rialto Beach, or camp at a number of sites along the Northwest Wilderness Beach between Rialto Beach and Sand Point. The surf is soothing, the views are sublime and the tidepools are waiting. Remember to bring a tide table! 47.9211
None May 19, 2011 Thunder Creek 650 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/thunder-creek-1 12.0 miles -121.0925 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Hike one of the deepest, wildest, and most accessible wilderness valleys in the North Cascades National Park Complex. Let Thunder Creek's incessant bellowing woo you into this primeval pocket. Enjoy scenic creekside resting posts perfect for whiling away the afternoon. Admire ancient cedars and towering firs and, from holes in the thick forest canopy, gaze out to jagged peaks cloaked in glacial ice. And while the surrounding high country is blanketed in white, enjoy this hike early or late in the season thanks to its low elevation.A large information board greets you at the trailhead and it's worth a gander before setting out up the valley. Yes, this is cougar country and necessary precautions should be exercised. But for your first mile or two, you'll probably need to be more concerned with saying hello to the throngs of people who venture out from the campground.The wide, smooth trail immediately enters an impressive stand of old-growth forest. Hugging the thickly forested shore of Thunder Arm, an aquatic protrusion of Diablo Lake, the trail passes the Thunder Woods Nature Trail, a recommended diversion. On still mornings and evenings, catch glimpses of emerald ridges reflected in the placid turquoise waters of Thunder Arm.Continue on a near-level course under giant firs and cedars and past big boughs of ferns, reaching Thunder Creek in about 1 mile. Soon new tread is encountered where the trail was rerouted in 2004. The old steel suspension bridge that once crossed Thunder Creek and that many hikers thought was sturdy and reliable evidently wasn't. The destructive floods of 2003 claimed this span along with many others throughout the Cascades and Olympic Mountains.Continue alongside the west side of the creek, passing several inviting gravel bars. At 2 miles the trail comes to a new bridge. Pass through Thunder Camp, set in a centuries-old grove of behemoth firs.Leaving the riverside, the trail now travels through a much younger forest and at 2.5 miles comes to a junction with the Fourth of July Pass Trail. Proceed right, cross a creek, and in 2.8 miles come to a junction with a short side trail that drops back to the river, landing in Neve Camp-a nice place to call it quits if you're content not to carry on.Those inclined to experience more of the Thunder Creek valley can continue following the trail deeper into the wilderness. The thundering waterway is nearby the trail, always audible but not seen. Undulate between old-growth groves and younger forests that are replacing stands scorched by fires over the last few decades. Enjoy periodic openings in the dense canopy and impressive views of the array of towering peaks that line the valley. Their extensive glacial systems help feed the roaring creek beside you.At 6 miles and only 1900 feet elevation, come to the junction with the side trail to McAllister Camp. This is a good place to call it a day, though you may still want to push the 0.5 mile to the camp to get a good glimpse of the narrow gorge where McAllister Creek roars into Thunder Creek. Savor the wildness. Return when you must.Driving Directions:From Marblemount follow the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) east for 24 miles. Just past milepost 130, turn right into the Colonial Creek Campground and proceed 0.5 mile to the trailhead, near the amphitheater at the day-use area (elev. 1250 ft). Water and restrooms available. With the North Cascades Highway still closed, this hike will deliver not only tranquility as it meanders along Thunder Creek but also solitude. The way is reported to be snow-free to McAllister Camp, an excellent early season backpacking destination. Or simply take a day hike to admire the vast stand of old growth and the swiftly moving creek.Read more. 1900 ft 48.6855
None May 12, 2011 Rattlesnake Ledge 1160 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/rattle-snake-ledge 4.0 miles -121.7675 Featured In:Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Region, byDan A. Nelson and Alan L. Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.You won't find better views anywhere else this close to Seattle. Rattlesnake Ledge is a monolithic block of rock on the eastern end of Rattlesnake Ridge, towering high over the cool waters of Rattlesnake Lake and the Snoqualmie River valley. Looking up from the trailhead, the site is daunting--the rock face looks sheer and impregnable. Fortunately, the cliff face isn't too broad, and hearty Washington Trails Association volunteers have carved a path through the steep forests flanking the rock face. Indeed, the original trail, which was daunting in its own right, has been largely replaced with a new, more secure pathway.From the parking lot, round the gate and walk the old road 0.25 mile to a grassy swath on the west side of Rattlesnake Lake. A well-signed path leads off to the right. The rebuilt trail climbs steeply from the get-go, gaining more than 1000 feet in just over 1.5 miles. Of course, the old trail made that gain in just 1 mile, so please keep the complaints to a minimum as you slog up the switchbacks. Those new hairpin turns add a little distance to the hike, but they also level the trail a tad, making it a bit easier on the thighs.After a seemingly endless upward march, you'll suddenly burst out of the forest onto the snout of the rock ledge. The views are unbelievable. Peer southeast into the rarely seen Cedar River watershed, with Chester Morse Lake dominating the close-in scenery. This big lake supplies Seattle with a significant portion of its drinking water. The rest of the watershed is filled with untrammeled forest--the watershed is closed to most human access to ensure that the water remains uncontaminated. Look farther east and you'll see the peaks leading to Snoqualmie Pass and, of course, massive Mount Si is just across the valley.Driving Directions:From Seattle drive 32 miles east on I-90 to exit 32 (436th Avenue SE). Turn right (south) on 436th Avenue SE (Cedar Falls Road SE) and drive about 4 miles to the well-developed Rattlesnake Lake parking area on the right. You won't find any rattlesnakes on the ledges, but you will find great views of Mount Si, the Snoqualmie River Valley and the Cascades. The two-mile trail to the top is a testament to the handiwork of WTA volunteers and others who carved it out several years go. Admire their work and enjoy the hike!Read more. 2078 ft 47.4335
None May 5, 2011 Deception Pass State Park 350 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/deception-pass-headlands 5.0 miles -122.6512 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Rugged coastal headlands, placid coves, tidal pools teeming with crusty critters, towering ancient evergreens, and breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains-Deception Pass State Park packs it in. And with waterfront campsites and easy access from Pugetopolis, it's easy to see why Deception Pass is Washington's most popular state park (over three million annual visitors). This hike samples the park's rugged northern headlands, delivering spectacular views of straits and bays and of Deception Pass itself, with its treacherous waters and majestic bridge.With over 4000 acres and nearly 40 miles of trails, Deception Pass State Park offers far more than the small section this hike passes through. But what a section! From the CCC Interpretive Center you'll travel out and back to Rosario Head and then likewise for Lighthouse Point and Lottie Point. First, visit the CCC center to gain an appreciation of what FDR's Depression-era program did for our country. Hardworking corps were stationed right here at Deception Pass, transforming this corner of Washington into a prime state park. Trails, campgrounds, and sturdy structures throughout the park are all part of their legacy.The trail for Rosario Head takes off west from the interpretive center. Under a canopy of stately firs and madronas, the well-built trail climbs 100 feet up a steep hillside flanking Bowman Bay. Pass a series of fine outlooks before slowly descending, reaching Sharpe Cove in 0.75 mile. Now, make the 0.3-mile loop around Rosario Head using caution: 50-foot cliffs on the west side drop straight to Rosario Strait. Savor views across salty waters to the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Mountains. Sunsets are spectacular. Retrace your steps to the interpretive center.Continue hiking south, now, along the sandy beaches of Bowman Bay. Pass the boat launch and pier. A short steep climb of about 50 feet slows your momentum-a necessary detour around a rocky impasse. As the trail drops back to sea level, an unsigned trail takes off left for Pass Lake. Continue right, soon coming to another junction. The trail left heads 0.5 mile along Lottie Bay before climbing and looping around Lottie Point, providing outstanding views of the narrow channel separating Fildalgo from Whidbey Island: Deception Pass.Return to the junction and head left via a tombolo (a spit connecting an island or offshore rock with the mainland, created by wave-carried sedimentation) to Lighthouse Point. Enter an old-growth Douglas-fir forest, and in about 0.25 mile come to an unsigned junction, the beginning and end of a 1-mile loop.Head left to grassy bluffs that offer stunning views of Deception Pass. Carry on, climbing above a rocky cleft. Along the loop, several side trails lead to jaw-dropping viewpoints out to lonely Deception Island and a vast waterway. Back into thick timber, the trail descends, closing the loop. Return to your vehicle or continue exploring the park. Be sure to thank the CCC.Driving Directions:From Burlington (exit 230 on I-5), head west on State Route 20 for about 12 miles to the junction with the SR 20 spur (which continues to Anacortes). Turn left on SR 20 (signed for Oak Harbor) and continue for 5 miles, turning right onto Rosario Road just after passing Pass Lake. Proceed 100 yards, then turn left (signed for Bowman Bay), following this park road 0.4 mile to day-use parking at the Civilian Conservation Corps Interpretive Center (if this lot is full, park at the nearby boat launch lot). Water and restrooms available. The weather looks rainy - everywhere - for Mother's Day weekend. But did you know that the tulips are still in bloom in Skagit County, and that the colors are more vivid on grey days? Pair the tulip fields with a short hike at Deception Pass State Park. There are more than 40 miles of trails to choose from, but a short jaunt out toRosario Head or Lighthouse Pointjust might be the ticket. 110 ft 48.4169
None April 28, 2011 Bridal Veil Falls 2000 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/lake-serene 7.2 miles -121.5720 Featured In:Day Hiking: Central Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Towering and formidable, Mount Index is perhaps the most awesome and fiercest sight and site along US 2. But softening its stark appearance is Bridal Veil Falls. Emanating from beneath the mountain's austere crags, the tiered and tumbling cataract drapes over granite slabs. To really appreciate this plummeting waterway, however, you'll need to leave your vehicle and hit the trail. And in your journey, discover a secret - there's a beautiful lake perched beneath those rugged spires feeding those falls.Start by following an old road lined with mossy maples and alders. Cross a series of minor tributaries. Pretty in their own right, especially after a storm, these streaming streams are also eroding away chunks of tread. Next, along a thickly forested slope, the trail gradually ascends. At 1.7 miles, just after leaving the old roadbed, come to a signed junction (elev. 1200 ft.). The trail left continues on, heading to "secret" Lake Serene tucked in a deep basin beneath the spires of Mount Index.For Bridal Veil Falls, head right. The falls is 0.5 mile away. Just follow the roar, using a series of short switchbacks and stairways that steeply climb toward the tumult. Cross several side creeks and expect to get your feet wet. Be sure to pause for a moment or two to look back at the Skykomish Valley spread below. One last grunt and reach the first of two waterfall viewing platforms.Except for late summer, when the falls trickle more than pummel, the roar should be pretty deafening at this point. Don your rain parka and set out on a drenched boardwalk to embrace the cascade's full force and beauty. Bridal veil? From this proximity, it's more like a bridal shower. Literally soak up the falls beauty. When you've had enough, retreat to the trail junction and make a decision. Back to your rig, or up to Lake Serene?Serene usually wins, so carry on. Continue on the main trail, dropping a little into a damp ravine. Cross Bridal Veil Creek on a well-built bridge, and then begin climbing. On solid tread that occasionally utilizes stone steps and rock cribbing, the trail steeply ascends. A long sweep east - then a long sweep west - the way works under, over, and around cliffs, gaining 1300 feet in about 1.5 miles. Take in fine views of the valley below as well as out to Ragged Ridge and other peaks of the newly minted Wild Sky Wilderness.And Lake Serene? It lies just a short distance ahead tucked in a tight basin beneath the ramparts and parapets of fortress Index. Stare straight up those 3000-vertical-foot stark walls. Hardly serene, it's more like awe-inspiring. But when the basin is calm, those imposing rock faces delicately reflect in the lake's surface. Now, that's serene and quite a sight!Driving Directions:From Everett, follow US 2 east to the hamlet of Gold Bar. Continue on US 2 for 7 more miles to just before it crosses the Skykomish River (near milepost 35), and turn right onto Mount Index Road. Proceed on this dirt road 0.4 mile, turning right on the spur road signed "Lake Serene Trail 1068." The trailhead and large parking area are 500 feet farther (elev. 600 ft.). Privy available. It's the start of waterfall season in Washington. As the snow melts, the cascades increase in volume and show. This trail to prettyBridal Veil Fallshas mostly melted out, and offers hikers a great 5 mile hike. But if you wish to proceed further to Lake Serene, you'll want to bring traction devices and/or snowshoes. 2521 ft 47.8089
None April 20, 2011 Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area 1750 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/whiskey-dick-wildlife-area 8.0 miles -120.0944 Featured In:Best Desert Hikes: Washington, by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Though this land is called a "wildlife area," it could as easily be named a state wildflower area. On any given spring day, hikers can expect to see an array of wildflowers that puts the pretty alpine meadows to shame.Among the plethora of blooms spotted during visits here are thyme-leaf desert parsley, Douglas buckwheat (huge masses of it), thyme-leaved buckwheat, shaggy daisy/shaggy fleabane, linear-leaf daisy (also called line-leaved fleabane), Cusick's sunflower, Hooker's onion, woolly-pod milk vetch, brodiaea, silky lupines, rock penstemon, Thompson's paintbrush, thread-leaved phacelia, Hooker's balsamroot, white phlox, Scouler's penstemon, small-flowered penstemon, cushion fleabane, large-flowered collomia, narrow-leaf collomia, bitterroot, and bitterbrush. Bring your wildflower guide to keep track of the plants, but keeping in mind that this is a wildlife area, expect to see some critters, too.Our recommended route has you bypassing the first access road into the Quilomene Wildlife Area (that first access is just past highway milepost 18). Our route takes you along the long ridge across from Whiskey Dick Mountain before plunging down into Rocky Coulee and then hiking up the easternmost end of Whiskey Dick Mountain to roam the ridgeline along that peak.The hike along the old road goes fast since the path is wide, smooth, and relatively level as it contours along the ridge. After a quick couple of miles, the road drops 800 feet in elevation to the bottom of Rocky Coulee. (With high-clearance vehicles, it might be possible to drive this far, but doing so has you driving over some of the most beautiful wildflower fields). The wildflowers carpet the entire desert floor, from the ridge top to the coulee bottom. This section of the route is rich in bitterroots, hedgehog cactus, and balsamroot, as well as various species of buckwheat, lupine, and daisies.Coyotes hunt throughout this coulee country, and they can often be heard, if not actually seen, in the morning and evening--their yips and howls echoing off the coulee walls. After following the coulee basin for a mile or so (remaining alert for poison ivy), the route turns up the side of Whiskey Dick Mountain. More stunning wildflowers abound, with increasingly clear and stunning views over the rest of the wildlife area. Keep an eye on the sky to watch the raptors soaring, and another eye on the brush to look for mule and white-tailed deer.You'll top out on the low summit of Whiskey Dick, a bit more than 4 miles from your starting point. This is the place to turn around and enjoy the long, scenic desert stroll back to your vehicle.Note: Whiskey Dick Mountain is now a part of the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility. April-November you can drive the now paved Beacon Ridge Rd. to the Renewable Energy Center, located on the slopes of Whiskey Dick Mountain. From here you can fill out an access permit which is good for 8 months. Once you have this permit you can park in any of the five parking lots along Beacon Ridge Rd., and hike in the surrounding areas. Keep three hundred feet from the turbines as specified in the access permit. If you would like to get closer, sign up for a guided tour at the Renewable Energy Center. They also have a few trails around the visitor's center that can be done without a permit. Also, in late April/early May they have a guided wildflower hike featuring local naturalists. For more information on access to this area you can call the Renewable Energy Center at 509-964-7815.Driving Directions:From Seattle, drive east on Interstate 90 to exit 115 for Kittitas. Go north over the freeway. At 1.2 miles, turn right at the stop sign. Veer to the left onto County Road 81 and continue 1.2 miles from the stop sign (2.4 miles from I-90), then turn right onto the Vantage Highway. Drive past the first access to the Quilomene Wildlife Area at 12 miles, and at 13.7 miles turn left onto the rough dirt road accessing the Quilomene Wildlife Area. At 0.4 mile on this rough road, veer right at the Y, and at 0.6 mile veer right at the second Y. A good place to park is at the pullout 1.2 miles from the Old Vantage Highway. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife permit required. You might need a whiskey if you stepped on a spiky (but pretty) hedgehog cactus. Hikers are reporting that theWhiskey Dick Wildlife Areais currently coming alive with wildflowers. Bring your camera and your field guide. For those hikers who prefer vistas to flora, there's plenty of that to go around too. 3850 ft 46.9607
None April 15, 2011 Hoh River 300 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/hoh-river 10.6 miles -123.9337 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.The most famous of all the Olympic rain forests, the Hoh is one of the busiest places in Olympic National Park. A visitors center and a couple of well-groomed nature trails attract bus loads of admirers from Seattle to Seoul, Boston to Berlin. And its not just camera-toting tourists that invade this valley; pan-toting backpackers and caribiner-clanking climbers flock here too. The Hoh River Trail also provides access to Mount Olympus and the High Divide. But who can blame all of these people for coming here? The Hoh rain forest truly is one of the world's most spectacular places.While the Hoh rain forest is a busy place, most hikers visit during the summer months and on autumn weekends. Come in the spring or even winter and experience a valley more sedate. Besides, with fewer people in the off-season, chances are good of witnessing members of the resident elk herd. But even if you end up hitting the trail on a busy day, the crowds thin out dramatically after only a couple of miles.The hike to Five Mile Island is far enough to experience the old-growth grandeur and pure wildness of this valley, yet close enough that it can be done by most hikers, young and old. The trail is impeccably groomed, and the way virtually level, with minimal elevation change. Five Mile Island, with its wide grassy banks along the mighty rainforest river, was designed for whiling the afternoon away.Start by following the paved Hall of Mosses Trail for 0.2 mile to a junction. Now on bona fide tread begin your journey through this valley of primeval forest. A cacophony of birdsong from wrens, nuthatches, woodpeckers, chickadees, and thrushes can be heard over the distant hum of the river. Pass by colonnades of spruce and under awnings of moss-cloaked maples. Licorice ferns and club mosses cling to overhanging trees like holiday decorations on New York's Fifth Avenue. And while the surroundings are lush, the understory is fairly open. Browsing elk keep the shrubs and bushes well trimmed.In 1 mile get your first unobstructed view of the river. Gaze out to the High Divide and snow-capped Mount Tom, a peak on the Olympus massif. Pass the Mount Tom Creek Campsite at 2.3 miles; then climb above the river, catching glimpses of deep emerald pools below. Cross Mineral Creek by a lovely cascade. Five minutes later another cascade delights. At 2.9 miles come to a junction with the Mount Tom Trail. If you'd like, follow this path right 0.25 mile to open gravel bars and spectacular valley views.Veering away from the river, the main path continues. Traverse impressive stands of Sitka spruce and at 4 miles come to the Cougar Creek cedar grove. Stand in awe beneath these trees, older than the great cathedrals of Europe-and just as inspiring. At 5.3 miles arrive at Five Mile Island. Formed by river channels, the island is an inviting grassy bottomland graced with maple glades. Sit by the churning river and enjoy views up the valley all the way to Bogachiel Peak. If it's raining, the nearby Happy Four Shelter (0.5 mile farther) will provide cover for your lunchtime break.Driving Directions:From Forks travel south on US 101 for 12 miles to the Upper Hoh Road. (From Kalaloch head north on US 101 for 20 miles.) Head left (east) on the Upper Hoh Road for 18 miles to its end at a large parking lot, visitors center, and trailhead. Water and restrooms available. National parks are free this week, so why not visit theHoh Rainforestin Olympic National Park? A WTA Volunteer Vacation spent last week on the trail and report the usual great stuff: a gorgeous river, huge trees, lots of moss, every shade of green and elk. Oh, and rain too. But that's part of the appeal. 800 ft 47.8597
None April 7, 2011 Cedar Butte 900 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/cedar-butte/ 3.0 miles -121.7675 Featured In:Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Region, byDan A. Nelson and Alan L. Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Cedar Butte may be the least visited mountain in the Snoqualmie Pass corridor. The smallish butte stands between the popular Rattlesnake Lake and the remote Chester Morse Lake in the Cedar River watershed area. This butte's lack of popularity, though, has more to do with its lack of publicity than its dearth of scenery. Indeed, Cedar Butte offers plenty of scenic spectacle.From the trailhead, start east along the wide ribbon of the Iron Horse Trail. When you reach Boxley Creek, you have another 0.25 mile or so before finding the start of the well-established path (about 1 mile from the parking area) up Cedar Butte. Turn right (south) onto the sometimes-signed Cedar Butte Trail.Signage is only "sometimes" because this is technically an unofficial trail--the signs are installed and maintained by unauthorized volunteers rather than official agency staff. Still, even if the signs are down, the trail gets enough use and maintenance that it is easy to find if you look for it.After leaving the Iron Horse, you'll cross an old logged-over area, then climb steeply up the face of Cedar Butte. Once at the summit, enjoy the expansive views to the north--Mount Si, Teneriffe, and Mailbox stand tall on the horizon.Driving Directions:From Seattle drive east on I-90 to exit 32 (436th Avenue SE). Turn right (south) on 436th Avenue SE (Cedar Falls Road SE) and drive about 4.5 miles, passing the Rattlesnake Lake parking area, until you find the Iron Horse Trailhead parking area on the left. You may encounter some snow on this oft-overlooked mountain near North Bend, but not too much.Cedar Butteis an excellent alternative to Mount Si and Rattlesnake Ledges. With all of the views and few of the people, it may be one of the best kept secrets on the west side of Snoqualmie Pass. 1880 ft 47.4335
None March 31, 2011 Lower Lena Lake 1300 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hp/go-hiking/hikes/lena-lake 5.0 miles -123.1512 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.An extremely popular backcountry lake surrounded by ancient timber and ringed with designated campsites complete with fire rings-don't expect a wilderness experience on this hike. You'll encounter all walks of life on this wide, well-groomed, and easy-graded trail that delivers the masses to Lena Lake. Those willing to expend a little more energy can push farther into wilder and quieter places. But if you're intent on Lena, expect lots of company unless you visit in the waning days of autumn.The day hike to Lena Lake is one of the most popular in the Olympics. As one of the easiest trails to a backcountry lake, and with developed campsites, it attracts throngs of backpackers, too, especially neophytes. And while this good-sized body of water nestled among old-growth firs and cedars is fairly scenic, there's just too much detracting from it.The trail is badly scarred by ding-a-lings cutting switchbacks. The Forest Service has had to construct railings along the way to discourage these ne'er-do-wells. And litter? Expect to see beer cans and cigarette butts tossed along the way. Finally, the fire pits are nuisances, encouraging the denuding of shoreline vegetation.So, is it worth it? Yes, but keep in mind the ambience. Perhaps find some teachable moments along the way to help correct the ways of less-than-enlightened backcountry travelers. Carry a trash bag with you. Gain bigger rewards than the view. Be a shining example to others. With that said, enjoy the hike.The trail takes off in second-growth timber, climbing gently and carefree. Lena Creek can be heard crashing in the distance. After about a mile, come to impressive old growth. As the trail nears Lena Creek, prepare for a surprise. You soon find yourself standing on a bridge over missing waters. Lena Creek makes a subterranean passage below, leaving you standing high and dry over a mossy, rocky draw.Now winding around and below a ledge, the trail makes a final push to the lake. At 3 miles a junction is reached. Venture right, and within a few hundred feet encounter an inviting sunny ledge that provides a resting spot and a wonderful view of Lena Lake 100 feet below.The trail continues, descending to the shoreline and passing overused campsites. A half mile beyond where Lena Creek tumbles into the lake makes for a scenic lunch spot.Driving Directions:From Hoodsport travel US 101 north for 14 miles. At milepost 318 turn left (west) onto Hamma Hamma River Road (Forest Road 25). Continue for 7.5 paved miles to the trailhead. Privy available. Lower Lena Lakeis overused during the summer but is delightfully peaceful in the spring. Pass through tall trees to one of the most easily-reached backcountry lakes in the Olympics. Be sure to bring many layers. The hike may start out warm, but there is lingering snow and a cool wind at the lake. 2000 ft 47.5997
None March 23, 2011 Hamilton Mountain 2000 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/hamilton-mountain 9.0 miles -122.0200 Featured In:Day Hiking: South Cascades, byDan A. Nelson and Alan L. Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.This is a steep, rocky trail leading up past a pair of pretty waterfalls, to a high peak on the western end of the Columbia River Gorge. The views are unmatched: Mount Hood is so close it could almost be touched. The array of waterfalls that crash down the steep walls of the Oregon side of the Gorge present themselves as silver ribbons on the dark-green background of the forested slopes. There's also a slight chance hikers will get to see humans take flight from this peak: Paraglider pilots launch from this high butte, soaring out over the gorge and landing near the river.The trail leaves the day-use area of the park, cuts under a cluster of powerlines, and then angles out around a ridge face to dip back into a deep river canyon. Here, at about 1.3 miles, you'll pass Hardy Falls and just beyond, Rodney Falls.Push on past the falls, though, and start climbing steeply northeast. The trail rolls up around sheer cliffs, which present spectacular views over the river. The trail switches back and forth as it nears the summit plateau, then runs straight up the last steep pitch through an expansive field of wildflowers to the true summit of Hamilton Mountain at 2438 feet.The trail continues across the top of the mountain until, at about 4.5 miles, it turns back to the southwest to begin winding down around the northern ridgeline. You'll drop in long, sweeping switchbacks, generally following an old roadway-turned-trail, to reach upper Hardy Creek at about 5.4 miles. The tumbling creek can often be heard but seldom seen as the trail stays up on the forested valley wall above the creek itself.As you hike south down the valley, keep an ear open. Blue grouse are frequently heard here in the early summer. The big upland birds drum their wings and bellow out resonating calls of "Whomp, whomp, whomp" to attract mates. If you hear the distinctive call, stop and try to locate its source. The grouse are either stupid or fearless, and you can usually get within a yard of them for pictures.The trail follows the Hardy Creek valley back to Rodney Falls. You'll rejoin the trail you hiked up just above Rodney Falls, about 7.3 miles into the hike. Turn right to visit Hardy and Rodney Falls before striding back to your waiting car.Driving Directions:From I-205 in Vancouver, Washington, drive east on State Highway 14 for 30 miles to Beacon Rock State Park. Turn left (north) and drive up into the day-use parking area. Get a workout and enjoy the stunning scenery onHamilton Mountainin the Columbia River Gorge. There's a nine mile loop climbing 2000 vertical feet that will take you past waterfalls and emerging wildflowers to the ridge and summit where Mount Hood is only spitting distance away. 2438 ft 45.6325
None March 15, 2011 Rockport State Park 250 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/rockport-state-park 3.0 miles -121.6142 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Take a leisurely stroll through an easily accessible low-country, old-growth forest. Big cedars, big firs, and if you visit in spring, big showy bouquets of flowering Pacific dogwood brightening the dark green groves.Rockport is one of my personal favorites in the Washington State Parks system, and I never tire of wandering its peaceful and well-manicured trails or camping beneath its towering timber. The Evergreen Trail makes a nice 3-mile loop around the 670-acre park. Before heading out, take a few minutes to read the interpretive displays about the park, the old-growth forests, and David Douglas (for whom the ubiquitous Douglas-fir is named).The trail takes off east from behind the restrooms. In 0.1 mile intersect a service road, which can be used for more looping options. The trail winds through stately fir groves, under tunnels of vine maple draped in moss, along shoulder-high boughs of ferns, and over chattering creeks. Wrens, woodpeckers, and chickadees provide the background score.The way dips and curves as it makes its way to the park's eastern boundary by an old logged area. Sauk Mountain can be seen rising above. The trail then turns west, and at 0.6 mile is the Broken Fir, which graced this forest as a healthy tree from 1660 to 1974. Gradually gaining elevation, you'll reach an intersection at 1 mile. Left heads to the service road, and right continues following alongside tumbling Fern Creek for 0.25 mile before crossing it in a cool ravine.Now in quiet woods, enjoy the forest primeval. Gradually descending, at 1.75 miles once again reach the service road. The trail now follows alongside a delightful creek, crossing it several times. At 2.1 miles the Evergreen Trail merges with the wheelchair-accessible West Loop Trail. Head right, traveling through stately hemlocks, and after 0.4 mile veer right and leave the West Loop. Continue for 0.5 mile, skirting the campground and passing a junction with the Skagit View Trail and a monster fir before returning to the day-use area to complete your loop. Nice park, huh? Return often.Driving Directions:From Burlington (exit 230 on I-5), head east on the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) for 37 miles to Rockport State Park (7.5 miles east of Concrete and 1 mile west of the junction with SR 530). Turn left into the park, and then immediately turn right into the day-use parking area (elev. 500 ft). Water and restrooms available. Happy Saint Patrick's Day! What a fine weekend to celebrate the color green, andRockport State Parkcertainly delivers. Lush fern understory, draping moss, towering firs and impressive cedars make this a place where you just might encounter a leprechaun. 750 ft 48.4880
None March 10, 2011 Mount Finlayson 285 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/mount-finlayson/ 3.5 miles -122.9989 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Who said "War is hell"? Hell, if the Pig War never broke out we wouldn't have been left with the longest stretch of public beach in the San Juan Islands and some great hiking trails to boot. Once the site of an American military encampment, San Juan Island National Historical Park's American Camp offers plenty of natural splendors and historical relics. From Mount Finlayson, marvel at an undeveloped coastline spread out below you. Stare across the Strait of Juan de Fuca at a backdrop of snowy Olympic Mountain summits. Watch for eagles, plovers, sandpipers, and hawks. Enjoy one of the most spectacular settings in all of the San Juans.Established as a national historical park to commemorate the Pig War-a confrontation between the United States and Britain over possession of the Oregon Country in which the only casualty was a Hudson's Bay Company hog-the 1750-acre park is divided into two sections, the American and English camps. Along with its historical importance, the park protects some important habitat, including at Mount Finlayson, one of the few surviving native grasslands along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.From the Jakles Lagoon trailhead, head east on the wide Mount Finlayson Trail. Paralleling Cattle Point Road, the trail gradually climbs, cutting a swath across golden grasslands lined by a forested edge of wind-blasted, contorted firs. Maritime views grow with each step. At 0.3 mile ignore a trail to the left. Pass through a clump of trees and then begin to climb, cresting the long ridge of Mount Finlayson, which was named for one of the founders of Victoria, British Columbia. The provincial capital can easily be seen from along the trail.Hike along the windswept ridge, mouth agape at the astonishing views. Stare across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains and down Puget Sound to the bluffs of Whidbey Island. Scan the choppy waters for whales, the skies for eagles.At 1.3 miles a trail leads left, near a group of large firs-this is your return route. But first continue straight for another 0.1 mile, reaching one of Finlayson's summits (elev. 285 ft) to take in a spectacular view of Cattle Point.Head back down to take up the loop again, turning right and dropping steeply in a cool ravine shaded by big firs and cedars to reach a trail junction at Third Lagoon after 0.25 mile. Turn left and follow this trail, an old woods road, 1.75 miles back to the trailhead. Be sure to take the side trail to Jakles Lagoon for a nice view of Mount Constitution and Turtleback Mountain across Griffin Bay. Not a bad spoil of war all this natural beauty.Driving Directions:Take the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Follow Spring Street for 0.5 mile through town. Turn left south) onto Mullis Road, which becomes Cattle Point Road, and follow it for just over 5 miles to American Camp in the San Juan Island National Historical Park. Continue on Cattle Point Road for 1.7 more miles to the trailhead, on the left and signed "Jakle's Lagoon" (elev. 100 ft). Visit the San Juan Islands in the off-season, and you may just have the place to yourself. San Juan Island offers long beaches, rich history and rewarding hiking. The hike upMount Finlaysonand the views from the top are spectacular and can be combined with any number of other fun activities on the island. 285 ft 48.4636
None March 3, 2011 Gazzam Lake & Close Beach 500 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/gazzam-lake-close-beach 3.4 miles -122.5639 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Here's one priceless piece of property on an island of million-dollar building lots. At nearly 400 acres, Gazzam Lake and Close Beach make up the second-largest undeveloped tract of land on Kitsap County's Bainbridge Island. Managed as a natural preserve by the Bainbridge Island Parks Department, it's a prime hiking spot in heavily populated Puget Sound.This is not the shortest way to Gazzam Lake. It can easily be reached by a 0.25 mile hike from the northern Marshall Road trailhead. But hey, we're here to hike! Start by heading down the gated dirt road to two rather unattractive water towers and then through a scrappy patch of invasive species. Just wait-in 0.25 mile it gets better when you enter healthy forest. Now on good trail, encounter a junction. Take the right path for a slightly longer hike, or veer left to get right to the point. At 0.6 mile (0.8 if you went right) the trails meet back up.Through a nice forest of cedar and maple, approach Gazzam Lake. Spur paths lead down to the wooded shore. At 1 mile the best of them leads to a small open area complete with a bench. Watch for buffleheads, cormorants, and eagles among the avian residents of this 14-acre lake.Leave the lake and head north for about 0.1 mile, coming to a junction. The trail right leads to the Marshall Road trailhead. Head left for the best part of this hike. Crest a small hill and begin a steep descent. After 0.6 mile arrive beneath a canopy of big firs to a secluded little beach on Port Orchard Narrows. Pull out your lunch, plop down on a log, and enjoy the sweet smell of salt air along with views of the Kitsap Peninsula and the Olympic Mountains rising behind.Thanks to the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, $2.5 million was raised to purchase this 550 feet of shoreline and 64 acres of upland, adding it to Gazzam Lake Park. Hikers are sure to get many returns on this wise investment!Driving Directions:From the Bainbridge ferry terminal proceed north on State Route 305 for 0.25 mile, turning left (west) at the first traffic light onto Winslow Way. Continue for 0.5 mile through a business district. Turn right (north) onto Grow Avenue, and in 0.3 mile at a four-way stop turn left (west) onto Wyatt Way. In 0.6 mile Wyatt Way turns left and becomes Eagle Harbor Drive. In 0.3 mile bear right onto Bucklin Hill Road. In another 0.3 mile bear right, and in 0.2 mile bear left onto Lynwood Center Road. Continue for 1 mile and turn right (west) onto Baker Hill Road. In 0.8 mile turn right (north) onto gravel Deerpath Lane (signed "Gazzam Lake"). Proceed for 0.2 mile to the southernmost trailhead. (A northern trailhead is closer to the lake and beach; continue on Bucklin Hill Road, Vincent Road, and then Marshall Road to reach it.) Looking to avoid snowy and slippery hiking conditions? Stick to coastlines this week. One of many great options on Bainbridge Island isGazzam Lake and Close Beach- 400 acres of undeveloped forest and beach. Stretch your legs, revel in the peaceful forest and enjoy some fine views from the beach. 380 ft 47.6097
None February 24, 2011 Wenatchee Crest 400 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hp/go-hiking/hikes/wenatchee-crest-snowshoe 6.0 miles Featured In:Snowshoe Routes - Washington, byDan A. Nelson.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.If you don't mind company, but prefer to have an easy-to-follow, modestly graded route to explore, this is it. It's perfect for families or for first-timers who just want to get a feel for their new snowshoes. The trail sticks to an old dirt road--groomed on a semiregular basis--that follows the crest of the Wenatchee Mountains from Blewett Pass Sno-Park to a point directly above the Pipe Creek Sno-Park.From the trailhead, find the start of Forest Road 800 on the north end of the parking lot and start walking. The trail sticks to this road for the next 3 miles to the road end. The road rolls up and down modestly, providing plenty of opportunity for novices to practice different snowshoeing techniques and build their skills. About 0.5 mile out, the road splits. Stay left (west) to follow the ridgeline. The right-hand road drops steeply into Scotty Creek basin. This is another area you can explore, but remember that every foot you drop down has to be regained in the long slog back up.FR 800 hugs the crest of the ridge separating Scotty Creek basin from the Swauk Creek basin (home to US 97). You'll encounter occasional clearings with stellar views north and south. Looking north, you'll see Tronsen Ridge stretch before you, while to the south Diamond Head and Table Mountain rise above Blewett Pass.The road ends at an open clearing about 3 miles from the trailhead. Enjoy the views here while having a picnic lunch, then return the way you came to close out the day.Author’s Rating: Easiest.Generally good trails for beginners, with little elevation change and minimal avalanche danger.Driving Directions:To get there, from Seattle, drive east on Interstate 90 to Cle Elum. Take the second (eastern-most) exit, and continue northeast on State Route 970 about 12 miles to a junction with U.S. Highway 97. Continue north on US 97 (following signs to Wenatchee). At the crest of Blewett Pass, about 27 miles from I-90, turn left (north) into the North Blewett Pass Sno-Park. If this small parking area is full, cross the highway to the main Blewett Pass Sno-Park. Blewett Pass is one of the best areas in the state for skiing and snowshoeing, and this week's snow should make for some best conditions of the year. Of the many options, try theWenatchee Crest. It's easy-going, with fabulous views Tronsen Ridge and beyond all along the way. 4500 ft
None February 17, 2011 Oyster Dome 1900 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/oyster-dome 6.5 miles -122.4334 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.A glacial-polished and fractured exposed hunk of sheer cliff on Blanchard Mountain, Oyster Dome is an intriguing and scenic natural landmark. Its base is littered with jumbled boulders, talus fields, and bat-breeding caves. And from atop, views abound of the Sound, mountains, and a smorgasbord of islands. A popular hiking destination year-round, Oyster Dome is the pearl of the Chuckanut Mountains.Your route begins on the Pacific Northwest Trail, a 1200-mile long-distance trail-in-the-making from the Olympic Coast to Montana's Glacier National Park. Through a uniform forest of second-growth conifers, gain elevation steadily. A few giant snags and remnant firs stand testament to the cathedral forests that once blanketed this region. The trail is well constructed and maintained, thanks not to the government but to dedicated volunteers.Smell sweet maritime air as you ascend the verdant slopes of Blanchard Mountain. Rising from Samish Bay, Blanchard is the only place in the Cascades where mountain meets sea. A recreational and biological gem between Bellingham and Mount Vernon, much of this landmass was slated to be logged. But due to the work of Conservation Northwest and other local organizations, a consensus of sorts has been reached, with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources protecting Blanchard's trails and guaranteeing that its core will remain in a natural state.In 1 mile reach a small ledge with big views out to the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains. In another 0.5 mile reach a signed junction (elev. 1100 ft). Head left on the Samish Bay Connection Trail. Now on rougher tread, make a gentle traverse across Blanchard's western slopes, hopping across a few streams in the process. In 0.5 mile from the junction, reach another junction, this one with the Oyster Dome Trail. The way left leads to a logging road. Head right for your objective. The grade once again steepens and you enter a damp, dark glen. Pass giant erratics, springboard-notched cedar stumps, and an ice-age interpretive sign before coming to a junction with the Talus Trail.To reach the base of Oyster Dome, an area referred to as the Amphitheater Bat Caves, proceed left. After a tricky creek crossing, the short trail delivers you to a jumbled mess of talus beneath sheer cliffs. It's quite a sight. This rocky chaos contains numerous caves. Extremely hazardous to explore, they should be left for the resident bat colonies.To get to the top of the dome, continue 0.1 mile on the main path, climbing steeply to yet another junction. Head left on the Rock Trail. Pass rusty old cable and other logging relics. Cross a small creek, then make one final push, breaking out of the forest onto the rim of the open promontory. Be careful. Keep children and dogs nearby. Oyster Dome's abrupt drop may lead you to clam up. Its views, however, are succulent. Spread out before you are the San Juan Islands, Fildalgo Island, Whidbey Island, Vancouver Island, the snow-capped Olympic Mountains, the Skagit River flats and a whole lot of saltwater. Count islands, watch boats, and soak up the sun's rays.Driving Directions:From Mount Vernon head north on I-5 to exit 231. Follow State Route 11 (Chuckanut Drive) north for 10.2 miles. The trailhead is on the right side of the road just after passing milepost 10. There is parking on the left (west) shoulder of the highway. If you're coming from Bellingham follow SR 11 south for 11.5 miles to the trailhead (elev. 100 ft). The trailhead is about 300ft south of Oyster bar. Oyster Domeis the pearl of the Chuckanuts - where Blanchard Mountain emerges directly from Puget Sound. Hikers will be rewarded with fabulous views over Puget Sound and out to the Olympics, big boulders to play on, and a great workout, It's a place that fuels the imagination and can refuel you on a winter's day. 2025 ft 48.6086
None February 10, 2011 Frenchman Coulee 200 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/frenchman-coulee/ 4.0 miles -119.9805 Featured In:Best Desert Hikes: Washington, by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.On summer weekends, rock climbers flock to the nearby Frenchman Coulee climbing area, drawn to the tall vertical columns of basalt that line the coulee walls. Hikers, who prefer their lands more horizontal than vertical, will also find great enjoyment here.From the trailhead, the path leads straight up the bottom of the coulee. As you hike, watch the coulee walls for agile rock climbers doing their Spiderman impersonations on the black rock. If no climbers are in evidence, just enjoy the natural spectacle of the coulee. The towering columnar walls frame a valley filled with sage and wildflowers.At about 2 miles from the trailhead, you'll find yourself near the base of a seasonal waterfall that tumbles into the coulee--during the spring, this is truly a beautiful sight to behold. Flowers dot the entire coulee floor but are more numerous in this well-watered far end of the coulee. Turn around here.Driving Directions:From Ellensburg, drive east on Interstate 90 to exit 143. After exiting, turn left under the freeway. At 0.8 mile, turn left onto Vantage Road. Drive 2.7 miles to the parking area on the right (north) side of the road. Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife permit required. Winter is an excellent season to hike in Central Washington. It may be too early for wildflowers, but plenty of opportunities to appreciate the power of massive and repeated floods that shaped this area during the Ice Age. HikingFrenchman Couleehas the added enticement of a towering seasonal waterfall. 47.0259
None February 2, 2011 Steam Donkey Trail 400 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/dosewallips-river-state-park 3.5 miles -122.8999 Dosewallips State Park provides an interesting convergence of forest with a saltwater delta. The park is best known for its shellfish beds and campground, but it offers some nice hiking too. The 3.5 mile Steam Donkey Loop Trail is an especially good choice in spring, with lots of creeklets, views of the Dosewallips River and silent forest. There is a strong chance that you will see wildlife in winter and spring. An elk herd resides in the area. And with the estuary so close, the area is rife with bird-life. As an added bonus for fall hikers, you can search for and pick chantrelle mushrooms.The trail is well-built, easy to follow and good for beginning hikers. Benches placed at strategic spots along the trail provide a chance to eat a snack or enjoy the roar of the river.The park also boasts a short trail that leads out to the delta overlooking Hood Canal. It is possible see whales and seals from the observation area.Driving Directions:Dosewallips State Park is on Highway 101 along Hood Canal and just north of the town of Brinnon at milepost 307. To reach the park, drive 40 miles north from Shelton or 20 miles south from Highway 104 and follow the signs. This week head to theSteam Donkey Trail, where mushrooms are the stars of the show, not donkeys. This easy 3.5 mile loop trail located just off Highway 101 at Dosewallips State Park also features views of the Dosewallips River, serene forest and even the chance to see wildlife. 425 ft 47.6876
None January 26, 2011 Twin Falls 500 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/twin-falls-state-park 3.0 miles -121.7057 Featured In:Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Region, byDan A. Nelson and Alan L. Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Twin Falls run year-round for one very good reason: the area around North Bend receives more than 90 inches of rain each year. Seattle--just 35 miles west--gets half that much. The South Fork Snoqualmie River takes that massive amount of rainfall and puts it to use entertaining hikers. The river squeezes into a narrow rocky gorge before tumbling over a very impressive stairstep falls. Then, when the water has been churned into a frothy torrent, it plunges over a 150-foot rock wall, creating the stunning cascade of the Lower Twin Falls.The first 0.7 mile of the trail pass through moss-laden forest along the shores of the South Fork Snoqualmie River. This flat mile provides kids plenty of opportunity to explore massive old nurse logs (fallen trees that act as nurseries for newly sprouted trees) and other interesting forest formations. Given the bounty of rain, and the lush forest growth, this area feels almost like an Olympic Peninsula rain forest--just without the massive cedars and hemlocks.After this long, flat run the trail climbs gently up a series of long switchbacks. About 1 mile out, you'll find a short spur trail on the right--this leads to a fantastic overlook of the lower falls, the mighty 150-foot cascade. Back on the main trail, you'll continue to climb another 0.5 mile or so to a bridge that takes you over the river gorge, directly between two of the stairstep falls.Driving Directions:From Seattle drive east on I-90 to exit 34. Turn south on 468th Avenue SE and proceed about 0.5 mile. Immediately before the South Fork Snoqualmie River bridge, turn left (east) on SE 159th Street and drive 0.5 mile to the trailhead parking lot at the road's end. Twin Fallsis always an impressive sight, but recent warmer weather has this 150-foot cascade running at full throttle. It's an easy 3 mile roundtrip hike along the South Fork Snoqualmie River that provides spectacular views of the falls from a bridge and viewing platform. 1000 ft 47.4534
None January 20, 2011 Mount Walker 2000 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/mount-walker 5.0 miles -122.9137 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Hovering over the glacial trough known as Hood Canal, Mount Walker is the easternmost peak in the Olympic Mountains. From its two summits you can gaze out over the Puget lowlands to the Seattle skyline and beyond. Or cast your eyes westward on the jagged Buckhorn Wilderness peaks, including mighty Mount Constance.Washington's state flower, the coast rhododendron, grows in profusion along the steep dry slopes of Mount Walker. For much of the year the rhodies merely add a layer of dark green to the forest understory. But come late spring this hardy shrub calls for attention as it begins to blossom, speckling the surrounding firs and hemlocks with rosy-purple bouquets. By June, vibrant violet bell-shaped blossoms ring throughout the emerald forest. Mount Walker is one of the best places in the state to witness this floral show.But if you can't come for the blossoms, Mount Walker makes for a great winter hike. With the summit road closed, you won't have to worry about sharing those far-fetched Puget Sound views with very many people. The trail is hiker only; it's short but steep, well maintained and well traveled.Immediately begin climbing through a tunnel of rhodies under a uniform canopy of second-growth cedar and hemlock. Look up occasionally to see if you can locate any of the old wire and insulators that once serviced a fire tower on the summit. After about 1.5 miles small ledges begin to break the monotony of the forest and tease with limited views.The grade eases slightly, and after 2 miles and 2000 feet of climbing you emerge at the North Summit viewpoint. Views are limited here. They're much better at the South Summit, reached by walking the graveled Summit Road for 0.5 mile and then following a small trail to the breathtaking panorama of Puget Sound. Stare straight down to Dabob Bay and the Toanodos Peninsula. Behind, Green and Gold Mountains rise on the Kitsap Peninsula. Mount Rainier adds a snowy backdrop. And if you're here in June, the whole scene will be framed with fragrant purple boughs.For a variation on the return, if the road is closed (winter) consider descending on it. It loops 4 miles around the mountain, offering more sweeping views of the surrounding territory.Driving Directions:From Quilcene drive US 101 south for 5 miles. (From Shelton follow US 101 north for 47 miles.) Just north of milepost 300, turn left (east) onto Mount Walker Road (Forest Service 2730) and proceed 0.25 mile to the trailhead. When the road is closed, park at the gate. Take a hike that promises great views!Mount Walkerwon't disappoint. You'll see Hood Canal, the Seattle skyline, Mt. Constance, Mt. Jupiter and east to Mt. Baker and more. Plus no crowds. In winter the road to the summit is gated, so you'll encounter only those willing to hoof it to the top. 2804 ft 47.7756
None January 13, 2011 Kendall Peak Lakes 400 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/lower-gold-creek-basin-snowshoe 4.0 miles -121.3803 Featured In:Snowshoe Routes - Washington, byDan A. Nelson.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Hiking through a wide, level valley in the shadow of looming Kendall Peak to the north and Rampart Ridge to the east would be an ideal outing, if only so many people didn't know about it. Fortunately, a few miles up the trail, the crowds thin--or at least spread out--and snowshoers can get on with the business of learning to travel in a beautiful wilderness valley. That's right, just a few miles after leaving the buzzing Interstate 90 corridor, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness unfolds. By mid-December, the snow is usually deep enough for the outing to be enjoyable, making this a great destination for families who gave each other snowshoes for Christmas.To get there, from Seattle drive east on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass to exit 54, 2 miles east of the pass's summit. Exit I-90, turn left, cross under the freeway, and just a few hundred feet north of the highway interchange, turn right onto a narrow paved road and drive east parallel to the freeway for 1 mile. Cars generally line both sides of this road, as the shoulder is the primary parking area for the long Gold Creek Sno-Park. Park at the end of the plowed road, near the small bridge over the stream connecting Mardee Lake to Keechelus Lake.Start the hike by heading north along a narrow access road (Forest Road 144) on the eastern side of Mardee Lake. The road stays tight to the eastern wall of the valley, but if the snow is deep enough to bury all the ground cover, drop off the road in a few hundred yards--just past Mardee Lake--and snowshoe up the open meadow and through the thin stands of forest. As you hike up the valley, the view of Kendall Peak gets better and better, while on your right, Rampart Ridge rolls majestically along. As the valley tapers in, the meadows give way to wide stands of trees and small forest clearings. The walls close in tighter and tighter on the valley floor, and the views become more dramatic. At about 2.5 miles in, stop and enjoy the scenery and the feeling of power that this winter wilderness emits.At the northern end of Rampart Ridge is the bulky summit of Alta Mountain; directly opposite is the vertical face of Kendall Peak. The steep walls of these mountains seem to rise from the ground at your feet. Continue to press on up the valley, but only if you know how to evaluate avalanche dangers. Even on the valley floor, hikers are susceptible to avalanches. The mammoth slides can come barreling off the valley walls with enough momentum that they sweep well out onto the basin's floor.Stroll to your heart's content along the valley floor, then weave your way through the trees back to the starting point for a gentle day on the snow.Author’s Rating: Easiest to More DifficultGenerally good trails for beginners, with moderate elevation change and minimal avalanche danger.Driving Directions:To get there, from Seattle drive east on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass to exit 54, 2 miles east of the pass's summit. Exit I-90, turn left, cross under the freeway, and just a few hundred feet north of the highway interchange, turn right onto a narrow paved road and drive east parallel to the freeway for 1 mile. Cars generally line both sides of this road, as the shoulder is the primary parking area for the long Gold Creek Sno-Park. Park at the end of the plowed road, near the small bridge over the stream connecting Mardee Lake to Keechelus Lake. From the Gold Creek Sno-Park atop Snoqualmie Pass, a winter playground is yours to explore. Beginners can tromp around Mardee Lake and theLower Gold Creek Basin, and more experienced folks can opt to press up toKendall Peak Lakesfor some awesome views. 3000 ft 47.3895
None January 5, 2011 Ebey's Landing 260 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/ebeys-landing 5.6 miles -122.7060 Featured In:Day Hiking: Central Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Stroll across rolling emerald fields, climb coastal bluffs towering above crashing surf, and wander along a driftwood-strewn beach, gazing across busy coastal waters to a backdrop of snowcapped Olympic Mountains. And there's more! Prairie flowers, bald eagles, shorebirds, and historic relics. One of the finest coastal hikes in the Northwest, Ebey's Landing is one of Washington's most naturally diverse as well as historically significant places.Rife with history as well as natural beauty, Ebey's Landing was named for Colonel Isaac Neff Ebey, who in the 1850s became one of the first non-Native settlers on Whidbey Island. The blockhouse he erected to defend his land claim from Native attacks still stands, looking above prairies that have been in continual agricultural use for over 150 years. Prominent in territorial affairs, Ebey was slain in 1857 by a band of Haidas seeking revenge for the killing of one of their own chieftains by settlers. The blockhouse, prairies, and much of the surrounding lands are now protected within a special unit of the National Park Service.Starting from the Prairie Overlook, head west on a combination of trail and gravel road. At 0.5 mile pass a restored 1850s homestead that is slated to become a visitor center in the summer of 2009. Continue toward the sea across emerald lawns reminiscent of Ireland. At 1 mile reach a junction (elev. 150 ft). This is a lollipop loop. You'll be returning left. Head right climbing golden coastal bluffs lined with contorted firs and speckled with blossoms in the spring. Reaching heights of 270 feet, these are among the highest coastal bluffs in Washington.Gaze out to the snowcapped Olympics, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Vancouver Island, and the San Juan Islands. Watch ferries and ocean vessels ply busy Admiralty Inlet. Look for majestic bald eagles perched in ghostly snags and notice the prickly-pear cactus growing on the sun-kissed slopes. Stare straight down at Peregos Lake, a lagoon bursting with shorebirds and formed by a narrow spit littered with giant drift logs.Walk along the bluff crest for a good mile, coming to a junction with a short spur trail heading to an excellent viewpoint. Back on the main trail, steeply descend, coming to the trail's end at a wide beach of hard-packed sand and polished stones. Turn left and walk south along the beach, rounding the spit and reaching the Ebey's Landing Wayside at 4.25 miles.Pick up the trail once again, climbing stairs back up the coastal bluff and reaching a familiar junction at 4.6 miles. Your vehicle can be retrieved one mile to the east. Head back or linger longer.Driving Directions:Take the Washington State Ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton on Whidbey Island. Continue north on State Route 525 for 19 miles to the junction with SR 20. Bear right onto SR 20 and continue for 5.5 miles to the town of Coupeville. At the traffic light, continue north on SR 20 for 0.8 mile, turning left onto Sherman Road. (From the north, the turnoff is 9 miles from Oak Harbor.) Proceed for 0.3 mile and turn right onto Cook Road. After another 0.3 mile reach the Prairie Overlook and trailhead (elev. 200 ft). This little preserve, tucked away in a rainshadow on Whidbey Island, has a blustery bluff with amazing panoramic views of the Olympics and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a long beach and a rare saltwater lagoon. Go in any season, and especially a clear day, and you'll understand why folks rave about this hike.Read more. 260 ft 48.2049
None November 24, 2011 Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/nisqually-nwr 4.0 miles -122.7129 Nisqually is an excellent year-round destination for wildlife viewing and photography. Before you start your hiking, you'll want to be sure and have binoculars. Bring your own, or check out them out from the visitor center. This will allow you to enjoy the many species of dabbling and diving ducks that stop to feed in the wetlands or the several species of raptors, such as owls, harriers and kestrels, that survey the fields for prey.There are several hiking options in the refuge, but the most exciting is the new Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail. This trail starts at the visitor center and is accessed by walking one-half mile on the Twin Barnes Loop trail and the new estuary dike trail. Then the boardwalk begins, and it truly is something to behold. It juts far out into the delta - running a full mile. When the tide is in, hikers will be walking above the water. When the tide is out, folks will be treated to the mudflats that are so popular with waterfowl.The trail features an observation tower, an enclosed viewing platform, several push-outs for those who want to linger with their binoculars and two covered viewing platforms. There are thoughtful touches like the areas with lower railings and mesh coverings to allow unobstructed views for kids and those in wheelchairs. The highlight is the Puget Sound Viewing Platform at the end of the boardwalk. It provides a 360 degree view of McAllister Creek, the Olympics, Mount Rainier and several islands in Puget Sound. Round-trip is four miles.Trails at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge are open sunrise to sunset every day, and there is a $3 per car vehicle charge. Parts of this trail will have an annual seasonal closure from October to January for waterfowl hunting season. And although Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is not open to hunting, waterfowl hunting does occur on Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife land immediately adjacent to the trail.Driving Directions:Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is on the southern end of Puget Sound between Olympia and Fort Lewis. Take Exit 114 from I-5 and follow the signs to the refuge. The refuge is open daily during daylight hours. The daily entrance fee is $3; waived if you have one of the many passes they honor. As the massive rains of Thanksgiving week subside, leaving behind mud and slushy snow, where can you take the in-laws, Grandma and the kids?Nisqually National Wildlife Refugefits the bill, with its new mile-long boardwalk that juts into the Nisqually Estuary. Your feet will stay dry, and you are guaranteed to see wildlife. But probably no turkeys. 47.0688
None November 17, 2011 Slab Camp Creek to the Gray Wolf River 1100 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/upper-gray-wolf-river 5.6 miles -123.1938 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.An upside-down trail letting you cruise to your destination and then pay for it later. Even though you must climb more than 1000 feet on your return, the grade is fairly gentle and the tread is smooth. With a new bridge in place across the Gray Wolf River, the Slab Camp Creek Trail offers the best and easiest way into the upper reaches of this wilderness valley. The trees are big, the river impressive, and company is scarce.From a 2500-foot saddle between Deer Ridge and Ned Hill, the Slab Camp Creek Trail begins its delightful descent into the Gray Wolf River valley. A mosquito-breeding marsh at the trailhead may have you picking up the pace before you're warmed up. Immediately enter the Buckhorn Wilderness, winding your way through a thick forest of second-growth hemlock. Much of this area succumbed to major fires early in the twentieth century.After about 0.5 mile of level walking, begin descending. Through open forest lined with an understory of leathery-leaved rhododendrons, salal, and Oregon grape, catch some good views of Deer and Gray Wolf Ridges hovering over the valley.At about 1.5 miles the grade eases. Slab Camp Creek now bubbles alongside the trail. As you descend deeper into the Gray Wolf Valley, bigger and older trees become the norm. Evidently a cooler and moister microclimate helped protect these trees from the ravages of wildfire.With the Gray Wolf River now audible but not yet visible, the trail makes a final, somewhat steep drop to the valley floor. Cross cascading Slab Camp Creek on a good bridge on your way down. At 2.8 miles emerge in a rich bottomland known as Duncan Flat, with towering cedars. Here a scattering of campsites along the tumbling and thundering Gray Wolf River make good lunch and nap spots.A little beyond the flats the trail crosses the Gray Wolf on a sturdy iron-beamed bridge, which was flown in and constructed in 2005. More camp and contemplation sites can be found on the other side of the mighty river. A quarter mile beyond the bridge, the Slab Camp Creek Trail ends at Camp Tony on the Gray Wolf River Trail. With the bridge out downriver on this major trail, don't expect to encounter very many fellow hikers if you continue to further explore this wild valley.Driving Directions:From Sequim head west 2.5 miles on US 101. Turn left onto Taylor Cutoff Road (just after crossing the Dungeness River). In 2.6 miles bear right onto Lost Mountain Road. In another 2.6 miles turn left onto dirt Forest Road 2870. After 1 mile enter the Olympic National Forest, coming to a junction. Bear right on FR 2875 and in 3.5 miles come to an intersection at primitive Slab Camp. Park here. The trail begins on the south side of road. The first lowland snows of the season can transform lowland hikes likeSlab Camp Creekinto something special. On this trail start high and hike downhill to the Gray Wolf River, loudly cascading through an old growth stand of tall cedars. Look for thick moss and unusual mushrooms popping out of the forest floor. 2540 ft 47.9654
None November 11, 2011 Green Mountain 1000 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hp/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/green-mountain-1 5.0 miles -122.8266 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Climb the second-highest peak on the Kitsap Peninsula for good views of Puget Sound, the Seattle skyline, and Mount Rainier. Of course there are views of the Olympics too, and on the way down you'll get a pretty darn good look at them. This is a working forest, but most of the way is shaded by a cool canopy of evergreens.Along with neighboring Gold Mountain, Green Mountain makes up the rooftop of the Kitsap Peninsula. Granted, at a grand ol' elevation of 1639 feet it isn't exactly nosebleed-inducing. But Green offers enough relief above the surrounding low country-and sits right in the middle of the peninsula-to offer an eagle's-eye view of a lot of saltwater and snowcapped mountains.The good news is that Green Mountain is accessed by several well-maintained trails and is surrounded by over 6000 acres of state forest. The bad news is that the trails are open to motorcycles. Now, I don't want to deny these users their rights to this piece of the public domain. I just would like to see a hiker's-only route here among the miles of motorized trails. Being in Bremerton's backyard and as one of the largest tracts of undeveloped land on the Kitsap Peninsula, Green Mountain is far more valuable than as a simple speedway for the throttle-inclined. Meanwhile, come here on a weekday for exhaust-free wandering. Let your mind wander too. Could Green someday become Bremerton's Tiger Mountain?On the Gold Creek Trail, begin your hike in a recently cut area. Forested Green Mountain looms in front of you. In 0.4 mile enter cool forest along chattering Gold Creek. A few minutes later, cross the creek on a good bridge, then turn left at a junction. Shortly after, encounter another junction-on the left is the Plummer Trail, your return route. Hang a right, staying on the Gold Creek Trail.Through a leathery dark-green understory of salal, bearberry, madrona, and rhododendron (visit in mid-May for the floral show), begin climbing. At 1 mile the trail splits (not shown on map). Either way works-they meet again soon enough. Limited views of the Olympics tease through the trees. At 1.5 miles reach a junction. The left (signed for Green Mountain Camp) is your return route. Continue right and in 0.25 mile come to another junction. Take the trail right, signed "Vista."Follow it past the summit parking lot (only open weekends in the summer), and in 0.4 mile reach the summit.Find a few picnic tables and a rocky overlook. The once-sweeping vista of the Olympics is being crowded out by new growth. (Call in the loggers! It is a working forest.) Views eastward over Bremerton, Puget Sound, and out to the Cascades remain decent though. The real treat, however, is on the return.Retrace your steps 0.65 mile to the junction signed for Green Mountain Camp. This is the Beaver Pond Trail. Follow it for about 0.5 mile, dropping a few hundred feet to the junction with the Plummer Trail. The Beaver Pond (more a grassland than wetland) is to the right, about 0.25 mile farther. Take the Plummer Trail left to return. Built by the Backcountry Horsemen, it's the best hiking trail on Green Mountain.After 0.5 mile you'll skirt a recent clear-cut. The view here of Lake Tahuya and the eastern Olympic front is absolutely awesome. Savor it-then continue another 0.5 mile back to the Gold Creek Trail. From this familiar junction it's 0.5 mile back to your vehicle.Driving Directions:From Bremerton follow Kitsap Way (State Route 310) for 3 miles to Kitsap Lake. Turn left on Northlake Way, proceeding for 1 mile. Turn left onto the Seabeck Highway and follow it for 3 miles. Then turn left on Holly Road, proceeding for 3 miles. Turn left (south) onto Tahuya Lake Road and in 1.25 miles bear left onto Gold Creek Road. The trailhead is in 2 miles on your left. Privy available. Looking for a good November hike with decent elevation gain, little snow and awesome views of Seattle, Puget Sound and the Olympics? Look no further thanGreen Mountain, Kitsap Peninsula's second highest peak. This hike is a loop trip. Motors are allowed on the trail but are largely absent this time of year, leaving you to enjoy the peaceful views. 1639 ft 47.5517
None November 3, 2011 Camano Island State Park 200 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hp/go-hiking/hikes/camano-island-state-park 2.5 miles -122.4910 Featured In:Day Hiking: Central Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Stroll manicured trails weaving through blotchy-barked madronas and stately firs along coastal bluffs, with stunning views of lofty peaks that hover over sparkling waters.Camano Island State Park offers dramatic glimpses of a less developed Puget Sound-one where shorelines aren't marred by wall-to-wall houses and one that Captain George Vancouver would perhaps still recognize.Begin on the Marsh Trail, which runs parallel to the large parking area and takes you to the main trailhead, located a short distance back on the access road. Along the way be sure to look for eagles perched on tall firs. At the main trailhead, study the posted map of the park's trail system. Your objective is to follow the Loop Trail, but feel free to divert onto interesting side trails at any time. The park is small, just under 140 acres, so don't worry about venturing too far off course.Head up an attractive ravine shaded by mature maples and cloaked with waxy salal and boughs of ferns. Immediately come to a junction. Turn left. With the aid of steps, steeply but briefly climb out of the ravine. Come to another junction. You'll be returning on the left, so head right. Bear right at yet another junction and continue climbing, coming to the group camp area after about 0.2 mile. Go right, through the cabin camp area, and then pick up trail once more. Pass the amphitheater, weave through the campground, cross the main park road, and then parallel it south for a short distance, eventually heading back into the woods.Now get ready to enjoy spectacular Puget Sound scenery. The trail turns left, hugging the rim of a 150-foot bluff rising above Elger Bay. Stop at numerous viewpoints to marvel straight down at Saratoga Passage's gleaming waters. Scope out familiar summits on the eastern horizon: Pilchuck, Baring, which others?Continue along the bluff, soaking up scenery and sea breezes. The trail eventually turns landward, coming to another junction. Head right in thick forest along the park periphery. Reach a 300-foot high point before beginning a slow descent, dipping in and out of small ravines along the way. Pass some giant old-growth Doug-firs before coming to another junction. The trail left returns to the campground. Head right instead, dropping steeply.Cross the park road, pass Roy's Trail on your left (an alternative return) and the Cama Beach Connector Trail on your right, and then follow the Loop Trail left along more high bluffs, back to the trailhead. Pause frequently to take in captivating views across the Sound of jagged Olympic Mountain peaks rising above Whidbey Island's chalky bluffs and emerald forests.Driving Directions:From exit 212 on I-5, travel west on State Route 532 for 5.5 miles to the town of Stanwood. Continue west on SR 532 for 4.5 miles to the junction of NE Camano and N Camano drives. Bear left onto NE Camano Drive and proceed for 3 miles, bearing left again onto SE Camano Drive. In 3.4 miles bear right onto S Elger Bay Road and continue for 1.9 miles, turning right onto Mountain View Road. In 1.7 miles turn left onto Lowell Point Road and follow this road 0.7 mile to Camano Island State Park. Proceed for 0.2 mile, turning left and following the park road (passing the camping area) for 1.1 mile to its end at a large day-use parking area (elev. sea level). Privy and water available. If you're not yet ready to snowshoe or ski, opt for exploringCamano Island State Parkthis weekend. Enjoy its unspoiled beaches and family- friendly walks along the bluffs overlooking the water. On the Marsh Trail you may even catch a final glimpse of fall color as you wander through strands of mature maple. 200 ft 48.1220
None October 27, 2011 Granite Mountain 3800 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/granite-mountain-1/ 8.0 miles -121.4861 Featured In:Day Hiking: Snoqualmie Region, byDan A. Nelson and Alan L. Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.One look at the parking lot midday on any summer weekend, and the obvious will jump out and bite you: the Granite Mountain Trail is the most heavily traveled summit path in the Snoqualmie Pass corridor. Of course, there is a good reason for that: it's spectacular. But it's also steep. Mind numbingly, thigh-burning steep. You'll climb a heel-blistering 3800 feet in 4.3 miles to an old fire lookout at the 5600-foot summit, with awesome views in all directions. Pack plenty of water, as there is no good source along the trail.The trail starts out climbing. You'll hike away from the trailhead parking area through a lush old forest and gain a solid 800 feet in the first mile. At 1 mile the trail forks. Turn right off this relatively flat trail for some serious climbing (to Pratt Lake goes left).In the next 0.5 mile the switchbacks are easy, if a bit steeper. But as you near 2 miles the switchbacks get tighter, the trail gets steeper, and the breathing gets more difficult. At 4000 feet elevation you'll get a breather as the trail angles across a tricky avalanche chute.Caution: Early in the year the upper mountain is covered in snow and ice, and the upper slopes are VERY avalanche prone. If you're here any time before mid-June (most years), pause before crossing the chute and look up the gully. If there is still snow above you, be extremely careful--slides can happen at any time.Once across, the trail starts climbing again. If you time your trek just right, you'll find huckleberries alongside the trail all the way to the ridge top. You'll also break out of the trees and start exploring wide, steeply slanted meadows. Bulbous beargrass fills these meadows in early summer, and when those white blooms disappear, lupine and paintbrush color the slopes red and blue.At 5200 feet you'll crest the summit ridge, getting a brief reprieve from the ruthless climbing as you cross a meadow. You still have another 0.5 mile or so to cover along the ridge crest and then up the summit crown, but the hardest work is behind you. Get to the top and enjoy the 360-degree views from the lookout--on some weekends, volunteers open it up to visitors.Driving Directions:From Seattle drive east on I-90 to exit 47 (Asahel Curtis/Denny Creek). Turn north over the freeway, turn left at the T, and drive to the nearby Pratt Lake-Granite Mountain parking area. Hurry for the final days of the fall color onGranite Mountain. It's a tough one - 3800 vertical feet in 4 miles - but the reward is an amazing 360-degree view at the lookout tower on the top. A dusting of snow greeted a hiker on the 25th, and those making the climb should bring gaiters and traction devices for safety. Winter is just around the corner. 5629 ft 47.3979
None October 20, 2011 Lime Kiln 625 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/lime-kiln 7.0 miles -121.9325 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.The Lime Kiln Trail not only takes you deep into a lush and remote canyon carved by the South Fork Stillaguamish River, but also leads you deep back into history. Developed almost entirely by volunteers, this delightful trail serves up a unique journey into the heart of Snohomish County's 970-acre Robe Canyon Historical Park. The fairly new park protects over 7 miles of frontage along the South Fork Stillaguamish, as well as preserving an old townsite and a century-old limekiln. The kiln, located 2.6 miles up the trail, is a 20-foot tall stone structure once used to cook limestone. The powdered lime was then transported by the Everett and Monte Cristo Railway to smelters and mills in Everett. Built in 1892 and abandoned in 1934, a section of this rail line has been resurrected as part of the Lime Kiln Trail.Before embarking on this historical hike, take time to read the informative kiosk at the trailhead. It'll help you more fully appreciate the journey you are about to set off on. The wide and graveled trail takes off through a scrappy forest recovering from years of timber harvesting. The way temporarily leaves the park to traverse private land. Please stay on the path. Cross a small creek and emerge onto an old road. Continue on a slightly rolling course, following directional signs, and after 0.75 mile reenter the park, leave the road, and continue once again on real trail.Pass Hubbard Pond, a shallow body of water surrounded by old cedars and thickets of salal. Cross its outlet creek on a sturdy bridge, then follow another old road a short distance to a well-marked junction. Here a sign directs you to head left and leave the roadway for a descent into a cool, lush, emerald ravine. Amid giant cottonwoods, Hubbard Creek provides a background score of tumbling tunes.Emerge on a bench high above the roaring waters of the South Fork Stilly. Now using the former railbed of the old Everett and Monte Cristo Railway, the trail travels upriver through a narrow canyon. Under a canopy of towering moss-draped maples, the fern-lined trail continues on its way to the old limekiln.En route you'll pass scores of historical relics literally littering the forest floor. Old saw blades, bricks, bottles, stove parts, and bed frames testify that this remote locale once supported a thriving community, Cut-Off Junction (please leave all artifacts in place for others to enjoy). Just up ahead (2.6 miles from your start) lies the source of this past activity, the limekiln, which remains remarkably intact (please stay off of it to ensure it stands another hundred years).Beyond the old kiln, the trail continues for another 0.8 mile, ending at where a rail bridge once spanned the river. A short loop path takes off left, leading to a graveled bar on the river-a perfect spot to sit and reflect on the area's history and its natural beauty.Driving Directions:Follow State Route 92 east to Granite Falls. At the blinking-light four-way stop in town, turn right onto Granite Avenue. Continue south for three blocks, turning left onto Pioneer Street and then reaching the city limits in 0.3 mile, where Pioneer Street becomes Menzel Lake Road. Continue another 0.9 mile and turn left onto Waite Mill Road. In 0.6 mile (just beyond a school bus turnaround sign), bear left at a Y intersection onto a gravel road. Reach the turnoff for Robe Canyon Historical Park in 500 feet and then turn left into the trailhead parking area (elev. 575 ft). Privy available. Embrace the rainy forecast and hike along one of Washington's many fantastic rivers. TheLime Kilntrail combines history with a pleasant stroll along the South Fork Stillaguamish River. Focus on the small things here: rusty old relics from the mining days; colorful and abundant mushrooms and fungus; and a good chance to see spawning salmon. 750 ft 48.0774
None October 13, 2011 Cutthroat Pass 2000 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/cutthroat-pass-1/ 10.0 miles -120.7331 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Stroll first through deep forest, then up, up, and away to an alpine world flush in meadows, larches, and delectable views of stark craggy mountains spiraling to the heavens. From the pass, a broad saddle teetering on the demarcation zone between the wet west and the dry east, there are exploratory side-trip options. And while this section of the Pacific Crest Trail usually teems with fellow hikers, it's never shy of wild critters. With everything from frantic ground squirrels, to lumbering bears, to wallowing mountain goats, you'll feel like you've walked onto the set of Wild America.Your trek to Cutthroat Pass is by way of the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2600-mile National Scenic Trail following the Sierra and Cascade crests from the Mexican to the Canadian border. Veteran PCT hikers rank this section of trail from Rainy Pass to the Pasayten Wilderness among its most scenic stretches. You'll probably agree.From a lofty start at 4800 feet, the way starts gentle enough in cool forest, skirting the base of Cutthroat Peak. At 1.5 miles cross tumbling Porcupine Creek (elev. 5200 ft). Now following alongside the mountain stream, elevation gain accelerates. A thinning forest cover begins to reveal imposing neighbors. Look west to Corteo, Black, and Fisher peaks peeking above the North Cascades Highway.Negotiate a series of switchbacks, angle across a high slope, and then begin another set of switchbacks. Make the final grunt to the pass across meadows speckled with boulders and spliced with granite slabs. Whistling marmots and shrilling ground squirrels announce your passing. At 5 miles reach Cutthroat Pass and relish its sweeping views. Jagged giants encircle you. Look east out to the sunny Methow Valley and the 8876-foot behemoth, Silver Star Mountain, dominating the horizon.Driving Directions:From Marblemount follow the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) east for 51 miles to Rainy Pass near milepost 158. Turn left onto the spur road and drive 0.3 mile to the Pacific Crest Trail parking area (elev. 4800 ft). Privy available. Larch Alert! Head to the North Cascades for the final - and possibly best - week of fall color. AtCutthroat Pass, the larches are peaking and the vibrant red huckleberry bushes are none too shabby either. Hike this breathtaking section of the PCT to an alpine saddle that will overwhelm your senses with its sweeping mountain views and special autumn beauty. 6800 ft 48.5181
None October 6, 2011 Icicle Gorge Loop 150 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/icicle-gorge-loop 4.0 miles -120.8945 Featured In:Day Hiking: Central Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.A delightful loop along a tight gorge carved by the Icicle River, this hike makes for a perfect early and late-season leg stretcher. Its good tread and gentle terrain also make it ideal for children, first-time hikers, and those trying to get back into the groove. Leisurely stroll along this major tributary of the Wenatchee River, watching for darting dippers and admiring raucous rapids and swirling pools.From the trailhead kiosk, veer right. The trail left leads to the Icicle Gorge View Trail. In 0.1 mile you'll come to the Icicle Gorge River Trail. Left or right, it's your choice. I prefer heading downstream first.Turning left, follow the good trail through a diverse forest of conifers. Undulate between open pine and cool, dark fir stands. Take time to read the interpretive signs. After crossing Chatter Creek come to a junction with the Gorge View Trail. Continue straight, coming to nice viewing spots of the gorge below. Take a short diversion to check out the old Chatter Creek Guard Station, but respect the privacy of anyone who may be spending the evening there.The trail drops down to cross the creek (elev. 2650 ft) on a well-photographed bridge at a well-photographed section of the water-sculptured gorge. Now heading upriver, pass great viewpoints of rapids and cascades. Cross a cedar swamp, Trout Creek, and various outwashes and channels and tempting huckleberry patches.The creek mellows as the trail travels alongside it through open pine and fir forest. Cross Jack Creek and soon after come to FR 76 at the Rock Island Campground at 2.5 miles. Turn right, crossing Icicle Creek (elev. 2800 ft) on the road bridge, picking up the trail once again at the edge of the campground. Then travel downriver to more excellent gorge views.Pass the junction with the western terminus of the Gorge View Trail. Continue downstream through cedar groves and along scenic bluffs, occasionally brushing up against FR 76. At 3.9 miles arrive back to the spur trail leading to the trailhead. Not a bad little loop, huh?Driving Directions:From milepost 99 on US 2, at the western edge of Leavenworth, follow the Icicle Creek Road (Forest Road 76) for 15.3 miles (the pavement ends at 12.3 miles), passing the Chatter Creek Guard Station and reaching the trailhead on the left (south) side of the road (elev. 2700 ft). Privy available. The Upper Icicle Road reopened on October 8th, giving hikers access to trails off-limits since 2008. TheIcicle Gorge loopmakes for an enjoyable fall hike. This four mile loop starts at Chatter Creek and wanders through a narrow gorge along Icicle Creek. Enjoy the frothy rapids, the red vine maple and impressive bridge over the fast-moving creek. 2800 ft 47.6086
None September 29, 2011 Old Wagon Road 550 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/old-wagon-road-trail 3.0 miles Featured In:Best Desert Hikes: Washington, by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Like the adjacent Northrup Canyon trek, this trail leads through a portion of the old wild forest in Grant County, a mixed forest of pine and fir that provides shelter each winter to a large population of bald eagles. Because the big, majestic eagles roost here throughout the winter, the trail--which climbs to the canyon rim, putting you at eye level with some of the prime roosting trees--is closed from November to March each year to ensure the eagles aren't disturbed during the hard winter months. Come spring, though, the trail opens up and plenty of birds are still around for you to see (and hear). The old settlers' road leads to the canyon rim with views down onto scenic Northrup Canyon and out over the Banks Lake basin.As the name suggests, from the trailhead the hiking route follows an old wagon road. This old road was an important link in the regional road system a century ago. Now the rutted track offers a nice hike as it climbs up the south side of Northrup Canyon before leveling out above. This path offers amazing views up and down the canyon. At 0.6 mile, you reach a viewpoint from which you can look back toward Banks Lake and see Steamboat Rock poking out of the dark waters. Continue up to the top of the canyon wall and stride along the canyon rim, enjoying the open views out over Banks Lake and down into Northrup Canyon.At 1.5 miles, the road is crossed by a fence. Though the track continues on the far side of the fence, this is the turnaround point for hikers.Driving Directions:From Ellensburg, drive east on Interstate 90 to exit 151 (State Route 283, signed "Ephrata/Soap Lake"). Drive through Ephrata. At Soap Lake, turn north on SR 17. Drive through Soap Lake and keep going about 20 miles to State Route 2. Turn right onto SR 2. In another 4.2 miles, you'll come to a Y junction. Stay straight to merge onto SR 155. At 18.8 miles from the Y junction, turn right onto a gravel road marked Northrup Canyon Natural Area. Continue 0.7 mile to the new trailhead. Seek out the sun this weekend by hiking in Eastern Washington. TheOld Wagon Roadtrail in Steamboat Rock State Park offers a bird's eye view of Northrup Canyon and the Grand Coulee area. Views are expansive, wildlife abounds and hunters are not allowed in the park. Time for more than one hike? Also check outSteamboat RockandNorthrup Canyon. 2300 ft
None December 15, 2011 Skyline Lake Snowshoe 1100 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/skyline-lake-snowshoe 3.0 miles -121.0889 Featured In:Snowshoe Routes - Washington, byDan A. Nelson.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.A short but strenuous climb to a high alpine lake, buried deep in snow, is what awaits snowshoers here. The length of the trail and the steepness with which it climbs are secondary considerations, however, for snowshoers will find an inordinate amount of natural beauty and winter wilderness on this trail. The idyllic little lake basin is situated in such a way that snowshoers who pause here for lunch may enjoy unmatched views of the whole of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area--from Mount Daniel to Mount Stuart--as well as the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area to the north, the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Area to the east, and the beautiful Skykomish Valley to the west.From the parking area, climb north along a groomed road leading past a number of small skier cabins on the edge of the forest above the highway. The groomed snow-cat track angles north away from the highway and ends abruptly near a power shack about 0.25 mile up the slope. Dig your snowshoe cleats into the hillside, and continue straight up the hill. Stay near the trees on the west side of the open slope to minimize avalanche danger and collisions with telemark skiers whooshing down the slope. After nearly a mile of climbing, at the 5000-foot level, the slope tapers off a bit and the climbing becomes easier. Pause here to catch your breath and soak in the views.Turn and look south. At what seems just an arm's length away, the Stevens Pass Ski Area sprawls out across the slopes on the opposite side of the highway. Above and beyond those groomed runs (long, white scars on the dark green forest) stand the summits of the Alpine Lakes peaks. Mount Stuart, like a massive granite wall, looms in the southeast. Mounts Daniel and Hinman, the glaciated peaks in the center of the wilderness, rise like twin towers to the southwest. Nearer in, Thunder Mountain rises on the Cascade Crest just south of the ski area, and Bulls Tooth sits on the southern horizon.After a well-deserved rest, continue climbing the now moderate slope, and in just 0.5 mile, trudge through a young stand of fir to come upon the shores of Skyline Lake. At 5100 feet, this lake is generally high enough that the ice cap on it freezes solid enough to support skiers and snowshoers; indeed, the broad flat surface of the lake is almost always crisscrossed with ski and snowshoe tracks. Unless you have a desperate need to cross a frozen lake, however, it's always a good idea to skirt the lake's shore rather than risk the ice. The combination of generally mild winters and the volcanic nature of the Cascade Range makes all lake ice suspect. Even if temperatures are cold enough long enough to freeze a lake solid, the geothermal activity below the mountains creates a lot of warm and hot springs, some of which can spout out of the ground in the middle of a lake, keeping it warmer than you might expect. In effect, these unseen warm springs sometimes melt the surface ice from underneath.A long, relaxed lunch along the shores of the lake allows ample time to marvel at views to the south as well as the now-revealed vistas to the north, which include views of Glacier Peak and Lichtenberg Mountain. To extend the outing, amble west along the crest of Skyline Ridge for up to 2 more miles before returning to your car.Author’s Rating: More DifficultSome previous snowshoe experience helpful. Some winter survival skills recommended (basic knowledge of avalanche evaluation, emergency shelter construction, etc.). Elevation gain is usually less than 1000 feet with a gradual slope.Driving Directions:To get there, from Everett drive east on U.S. Highway 2 to the summit of Stevens Pass. Park in the ski area parking lots on the north side of the highway. Dramatic mounds of snow, a frozen lake and sweeping views into the Alpine Lakes and Glacier Peak Wildernesses await snowshoers atSkyline Lake. Easily accessed from the Stevens Pass ski area, this steep and rewarding ridge walk is a classic on a sunny day. What's more, no parking passes are required at the trailhead. 5100 ft 47.7479
None December 8, 2011 Boulder River 700 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/boulder-river 8.6 miles -121.8172 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.A good hike any time of year, the trail is perfect for beating summer heat, enjoying winter rain, savoring autumn color, or being wooed by waterfalls that are swollen with spring rain. One thing about this trail remains constant: the trees. Whatever the season, you'll travel through a forest that has defied time. Boulder River's moss-draped giants represent one of the last remaining large, low-country old-growth forests in the Cascades. Protected within the nearly 49,000-acre Boulder River Wilderness, these ancient trees are as impressive as the wild river they embrace.Start in an old cut on a logging railroad grade. Don't despair, though, virgin forest appears soon enough. Crashing Boulder Falls can be heard through the dense forest and becomes fully visible just ahead. At about 1 mile pass the wilderness boundary, and soon afterward encounter a spectacular yet unnamed twin waterfall tumbling down the canyon walls into the river. This is a good turnaround spot for young children and hikers who just want a quick wilderness dose.For those intent on carrying on, the trail continues up the moisture-laden emerald valley. While the river's incessant gurgling and belching is continuously heard along the way, the raucous waterway is often hidden from sight. Farther upstream the trail pulls a little ways from the river, climbing a couple hundred feet above it. At 4 miles the trail heads back down to the wild waterway, terminating at a damp riverside flat (elev. 1450 ft). Grab the granola and let the river serenade you with its timeless ballads.Driving Directions:Take exit 208 off of I-5 and drive 4 miles east on State Route 530 to Arlington, and then continue east on SR 530 for 20 more miles. At milepost 41, near a subdivision, turn right onto Forest Road 2010 (French Creek Road) and continue for 3.7 miles to the trailhead (elev. 950 ft). Privy available at the Washington State Department of Natural Resources campground 2.8 miles east. Usually accessible year-round, the hike alongBoulder Riveris always a pleasure. A mostly level trail through huge trees takes hikers to not just one - but two - waterfalls cascading down the steep canyon walls. Do watch for ice on the trail and consider bringing trekking poles in winter. 1550 ft 48.2509
None December 1, 2011 Artist Point Snowshoe 1200 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes-of-the-week/hikes/artist-point-snowshoe 5.5 miles -121.6910 Featured In:Snowshoe Routes - Washington, byDan A. Nelson.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Artist Point may have earned its name because of the oft-captured image of the broad meadows filled with summer wildflowers, backed by the towering rock summit of Mount Shuksan and glacier-crowned Mount Baker. But many feel the area is even more beautiful and worthy of reproduction on film or canvas when shrouded with snow. The actual namesake of this trail is a high viewpoint between the two great peaks. All around the point are ancient forests, and come winter, the deep green trees are cloaked in shrouds of white as wind-driven snow and hoarfrost cling to the evergreen limbs. On overcast days, the area becomes a world of black and white, with many shades of gray. But on clear, calm days, the world is blue and white: white snow, white peaks, blue-tinted evergreens, and sapphire blue skies.To start the trip, leave the south (upper) end of the ski area parking lot and edge along the flank of the downhill area along the access road leading to Austin Pass, or choose the steeper, straight-up route followed by the summer hiking trail. Just past the ski runs, the route turns upward and you begin a long, steady climb to the pass. Stay off to the right of the road to avoid cross-country skiers who are heading for the deep, backcountry bowls beyond Artist Point. The track covers 500 feet of elevation gain from the parking area to 4700-foot Austin Pass, but that gain is easily accomplished on snowshoes--it's the side-stepping cross-country skiers who will be sweating this section.From Austin Pass, the road sweeps out to the left in a long switchback. Keep right, and climb the open meadows ahead to cut across the neck of this loop, rejoining the road in a few hundred yards at the road end at the lower end of Kulshan Ridge, just past the 2-mile mark. A final 0.25 mile of hiking to the left along this ridge gets you to the impossibly beautiful views at Artist Point.Soak in the views of Mount Shuksan to the east, Mount Baker to the west, and to the southwest Coleman Pinnacle towers seemingly just beyond reach. Backcountry telemark skiers are often seen playing in the steep, deep snow bowls along Ptarmigan Ridge, which stretches between Artist Point and Coleman Pinnacle. This ridge is filled with dangerous avalanche chutes, so before deciding to trek out along it, be sure of the current avalanche conditions.A better option for an extended trek from Artist Point is to the left (east) along the more stable snow of Kulshan Ridge. A half mile of hiking along the deep snow on the ridge crest leads to Huntoon Point, a high knob on the upper end of Kulshan. From this lofty observation point, look out over the expanse of the Mount Baker Wilderness to the west and south, the North Cascades National Park (which encompasses Mount Shuksan) to the east, and the ragged line of Shuksan Arm----reaching out from Shuksan--to the north.Authors Rating: More difficult. Some previous snowshoe experience helpful. Some winter survival skills recommended (basic knowledge of avalanche evaluation, emergency shelter construction, etc.). Elevation gain is usually less than 1000 feet with a gradual slope.Driving Directions:To get there, from Bellingham drive east on State Route 542 (Mount Baker Highway) to the road end, about 55 miles, at the upper parking lot of the Mount Baker Ski Area. The snow and the views are unparalleled at Mount Baker. Take advantage of a sunny day and head up from the ski area toKulshan Ridge, where Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan seem close enough to touch. Snowshoes or skis - this is one of the best winter excursions around. 5200 ft 48.8467
None May 3, 2012 Selah Butte 350 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/selah-butte 4.0 miles -120.4291 Featured In:Best Desert Hikes: Washington, by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.With its crown of radio towers, Selah Butte doesn't seem, at first glance, like a desert wilderness. But the expanse of open public lands that surround this massive butte harbors some of the best desert ecosystems in the area. Selah stands on the eastern edge of the Yakima River Canyon, offering amazing views of the canyon and the sheer wall of the Yakima Rim.The parking area puts you in the middle of a vast 10-acre carpet of Hooker's balsamroot. The golden glowers stretch out over the edge of the butte, creating a wonderful foreground for the stellar scenic backdrop of Yakima Canyon.There are no trails here, so simply wander north along the ridge, stepping carefully to avoid the prickly hedgehog cactus that's common here.After more than a mile of walking, the views get better and better. A long spinelike ridge juts out into Yakima Canyon and provides awesome views back along the ridge you've been following and the canyon to the next big hill: Baldy Butte. On clear days, look for paragliders soaring above that knob (they sometimes fly from Selah, too).Roam north and west at your leisure, going as far and as fast as you like. The hike is the goal here, with no real destination.Driving Directions:From Ellensburg, drive east on Interstate 82 to exit 26 for Canyon Road/Selah. After exiting, turn and drive 2.5 miles on Canyon Road (State Route 821). At 2.5 miles, turn right onto a gravel road and drive the steep washboarded road up the steep slope. At 1.6 miles, you'll pass through a gate (leave it as you found it: open or closed). This is the start of the BLM lands. Continue another 1.6 miles (a total of 3.2 miles from State Route 821). At a sharp right bend in the road, find a cleared parking area (may be partially grass covered) just off the left side of the road. Here's a roadtrip for this weekend: Drive  Canyon River Road from Ellensburg, and spend the day roaming onSelah Butte, which in spring is cloaked in wildflowers! WTA trip reporters give tips on where to find hedgehog cacti and more. 3024 ft 46.7371
None April 25, 2012 Icicle Ridge 1800 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/icicle-ridge-1/ 4.0 miles -120.6834 Often free of snow as early as April, this excellent early season hike offers hikers what they have been missing for months: a good chance of sun (this being the sunny side of the Cascades, a bountiful array of wildflowers, and stunning views of Tumwater and Icicle Canyon, the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers and surrounding mountains.What's more, hikers can attain all of this glory with relatively little pain - an 1,800 foot gain in 2.5 miles as opposed to the neighboring Fourth of July trail that also leads hikers to a higher point on Icicle Ridge in a grueling 4,300 vertical foot march.Now it is true that the views are better the higher you go on Icicle Ridge. But for spring hiking, it doesn't get much better than this. Go early to experience the birdsong and wildlife. Go in April and May to admire the spring beauties, anemones, glacier lilies and Tweedy's Lewisia.The trail to the saddle is generally well-groomed and shaded with a moderate incline.Driving Directions:From Highway 2, head east over Stevens Pass. Just past milepost 99 and before you enter Leavenworth, go right on Icicle Road. Continue 1.4 miles to the Icicle Ridge trailhead sign. Turn right and then make a quick left. The trailhead parking lot is ahead. Alpine views attainable in April? Why yes! TheIcicle Ridgetrail near Leavenworth is snow-free to the saddle and offers hikers plentiful mountain views, budding spring wildflowers and a good chance of sun (this being the dry side of the Cascades). 3000 ft 47.5830
None April 12, 2012 Murhut Falls 300 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/murhut-falls 1.6 miles -123.0205 This short and easy trail in the Hood Canal Ranger District on the east side of the Olympics takes hikers to a relatively unknown waterfall.If no pain no gain is your mantra, you might want to skip this trail. But if you like a short trail that delivers its reward - a captivating 130-foot plunging waterfall - in just under a mile, then this hike is for you. What is more, you’ll hardly break a sweat in the easy climb of 250 feet elevation gain to reach the tiered falls. And amazingly, you'll probably not have to put up with many other hikers along the way, as the trail is still relatively unknown.The well-maintained trail Murhut Falls Trail begins with a gradual ascent, then flattens out before the final steep ascent to your 1050-foot destination. This is Pacific Rhododendron country, so if you hike this trail in spring you’ll find yourself surrounded by pink bursts of bloom splashed against the surrounding green forest. You may or may not notice that the trail was converted from an old logging road—hence the easy, well-smoothed tread. The roar of the falls will be with you for the final stretch of trail as you descend into the hidden ravine that shelters the tiered falls. Take a rest to enjoy the powerful force of the waterfall as it pitches itself into the narrow ravine. Exercise caution and hold small hands in the final stretch where the trail narrows and there is a dropoff to one side.If you like a lot of bang for very little buck, this trail is definitely for you and makes a wonderful family outing.Driving Directions:The hike is in the Duckabush Recreation Area between Shelton and Quilcene on Hwy 101 on the Olympic Peninsula. From US 101 south of Quilcene, turn west at milepost 310 onto Duckabush Road. Drive 6.3 miles. You will pass the Collins Creek Campground and go over the Duckabush River Bridge. Bear right at the road junction, signed Murhut Falls Trail. The 1.3 miles remaining on gravel road takes you to the trailhead. Warmer temperatures are making this an excellent time of year to visit waterfalls of the Cascades and Olympics. On the trail toMurhut Falls, explore the east side of the Olympics on a short and sweet hike that is suitable for the entire family. In less than a mile, this forest walk ascends only 300 feet before delivering its reward: a roaring, double cascade. 1050 ft 47.6764
None April 4, 2012 Cowiche Canyon 100 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/cowiche-canyon-conservancy/ 6.0 miles -120.6629 Featured In:Best Desert Hikes: Washington, by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.A group of dedicated volunteers with the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy worked for years to develop this trail - or, rather, to un-develop this trail - because this old railroad right-of-way is now a path through a wild wonderland.In short, this trail could be the crown jewel in Washington's collection of rails-to-trails. The old train line path weaves through an astounding set of deep road cuts and over a double handful of trestle bridges spanning Cowiche Creek as it climbs through this stunning canyon.The path in the canyon bottom follows a portion of the old 1880s railroad route that stretched from Yakima to the Tieton area in the Cascade foothills. Today the gentle grade makes a terrific 3-mile one-way trek end to end.Just the rock formations found throughout the canyon make this a worthwhile trail to explore. However, those towering rock sculptures are highlighted by the brilliance of the local wildflower show, which kicks off in mid-April each year. In the canyon lowlands, the first arrowleaf balsamroot are just starting to bloom. Not enough for you? As you stroll the gentle trail through the natural splendor of the canyon, keep one eye on the sky to watch for kestrels, hawks, eagles, and ravens. You might also see swallows, swifts, bluebirds, and flycatchers. You should also keep an eye on the ground, looking for marmots, badgers, rabbits, and rattlesnakes. Simply put, this old railroad grade is now a pristine wildlands trail.Driving Directions:From Ellensburg, drive east on Interstate 82 to exit 31A to get on westbound US 12. Take the second exit off US 12 --the exit is signed "N. 40th Ave. and Fruitvale Blvd." Drive under the freeway, across Fruitvale, and in 1.5 miles from US 12 turn right onto Summitview. Continue for 7.1 miles and turn right on Weikel Road (signs on Summitview indicate Cowiche Canyon turnoff). Drive 0.4 mile on Weikel Road, and turn right at the sign for Cowiche Canyon. Spring wildflowers, sunny skies and possibilities for roaming greet hikers atCowiche Canyonnear Yakima. The old railroad grade makes for easy hiking and the upland trail provides 360 degree views and many wildflowers among the basalt cliffs. The Cowiche Canyon Conservancy has done an amazing job of preserving this area and creating recreation opportunities. 1500 ft 46.6299
None March 29, 2012 Deception Pass Headlands 350 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/deception-pass-headlands 5.0 miles -122.6512 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Rugged coastal headlands, placid coves, tidal pools teeming with crusty critters, towering ancient evergreens, and breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains-Deception Pass State Park packs it in. And with waterfront campsites and easy access from Pugetopolis, it's easy to see why Deception Pass is Washington's most popular state park (over three million annual visitors). This hike samples the park's rugged northern headlands, delivering spectacular views of straits and bays and of Deception Pass itself, with its treacherous waters and majestic bridge.With over 4000 acres and nearly 40 miles of trails, Deception Pass State Park offers far more than the small section this hike passes through. But what a section! From the CCC Interpretive Center you'll travel out and back to Rosario Head and then likewise for Lighthouse Point and Lottie Point. First, visit the CCC center to gain an appreciation of what FDR's Depression-era program did for our country. Hardworking corps were stationed right here at Deception Pass, transforming this corner of Washington into a prime state park. Trails, campgrounds, and sturdy structures throughout the park are all part of their legacy.The trail for Rosario Head takes off west from the interpretive center. Under a canopy of stately firs and madronas, the well-built trail climbs 100 feet up a steep hillside flanking Bowman Bay. Pass a series of fine outlooks before slowly descending, reaching Sharpe Cove in 0.75 mile. Now, make the 0.3-mile loop around Rosario Head using caution: 50-foot cliffs on the west side drop straight to Rosario Strait. Savor views across salty waters to the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Mountains. Sunsets are spectacular. Retrace your steps to the interpretive center.Continue hiking south, now, along the sandy beaches of Bowman Bay. Pass the boat launch and pier. A short steep climb of about 50 feet slows your momentum-a necessary detour around a rocky impasse. As the trail drops back to sea level, an unsigned trail takes off left for Pass Lake. Continue right, soon coming to another junction. The trail left heads 0.5 mile along Lottie Bay before climbing and looping around Lottie Point, providing outstanding views of the narrow channel separating Fildalgo from Whidbey Island: Deception Pass.Return to the junction and head left via a tombolo (a spit connecting an island or offshore rock with the mainland, created by wave-carried sedimentation) to Lighthouse Point. Enter an old-growth Douglas-fir forest, and in about 0.25 mile come to an unsigned junction, the beginning and end of a 1-mile loop.Head left to grassy bluffs that offer stunning views of Deception Pass. Carry on, climbing above a rocky cleft. Along the loop, several side trails lead to jaw-dropping viewpoints out to lonely Deception Island and a vast waterway. Back into thick timber, the trail descends, closing the loop. Return to your vehicle or continue exploring the park. Be sure to thank the CCC.Driving Directions:From Burlington (exit 230 on I-5), head west on State Route 20 for about 12 miles to the junction with the SR 20 spur (which continues to Anacortes). Turn left on SR 20 (signed for Oak Harbor) and continue for 5 miles, turning right onto Rosario Road just after passing Pass Lake. Proceed 100 yards, then turn left (signed for Bowman Bay), following this park road 0.4 mile to day-use parking at the Civilian Conservation Corps Interpretive Center (if this lot is full, park at the nearby boat launch lot). Water and restrooms available. Don't get too close to the cliff! But do take this hike at Deception Pass State Park. Two trails branch out from the interpretive center - the first to cliffs at Rosario Head and the other to Lighthouse Point with great views into Deception Pass and out to the San Juan Islands.Read more. 110 ft 48.4169
None March 20, 2012 Slab Camp to Gray Wolf River 1100 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/upper-gray-wolf-river 5.6 miles -123.1938 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.An upside-down trail letting you cruise to your destination and then pay for it later. Even though you must climb more than 1000 feet on your return, the grade is fairly gentle and the tread is smooth. With a new bridge in place across the Gray Wolf River, the Slab Camp Creek Trail offers the best and easiest way into the upper reaches of this wilderness valley. The trees are big, the river impressive, and company is scarce.From a 2500-foot saddle between Deer Ridge and Ned Hill, the Slab Camp Creek Trail begins its delightful descent into the Gray Wolf River valley. A mosquito-breeding marsh at the trailhead may have you picking up the pace before you're warmed up. Immediately enter the Buckhorn Wilderness, winding your way through a thick forest of second-growth hemlock. Much of this area succumbed to major fires early in the twentieth century.After about 0.5 mile of level walking, begin descending. Through open forest lined with an understory of leathery-leaved rhododendrons, salal, and Oregon grape, catch some good views of Deer and Gray Wolf Ridges hovering over the valley.At about 1.5 miles the grade eases. Slab Camp Creek now bubbles alongside the trail. As you descend deeper into the Gray Wolf Valley, bigger and older trees become the norm. Evidently a cooler and moister microclimate helped protect these trees from the ravages of wildfire.With the Gray Wolf River now audible but not yet visible, the trail makes a final, somewhat steep drop to the valley floor. Cross cascading Slab Camp Creek on a good bridge on your way down. At 2.8 miles emerge in a rich bottomland known as Duncan Flat, with towering cedars. Here a scattering of campsites along the tumbling and thundering Gray Wolf River make good lunch and nap spots.A little beyond the flats the trail crosses the Gray Wolf on a sturdy iron-beamed bridge, which was flown in and constructed in 2005. More camp and contemplation sites can be found on the other side of the mighty river. A quarter mile beyond the bridge, the Slab Camp Creek Trail ends at Camp Tony on the Gray Wolf River Trail. With the bridge out downriver on this major trail, don't expect to encounter very many fellow hikers if you continue to further explore this wild valley.Driving Directions:From Sequim head west 2.5 miles on US 101. Turn left onto Taylor Cutoff Road (just after crossing the Dungeness River). In 2.6 miles bear right onto Lost Mountain Road. In another 2.6 miles turn left onto dirt Forest Road 2870. After 1 mile enter the Olympic National Forest, coming to a junction. Bear right on FR 2875 and in 3.5 miles come to an intersection at primitive Slab Camp. Park here. The trail begins on the south side of road. That's no flower. It's a mushroom! The Olympic Peninsula'sSlab Camp trailis a delight in early spring as it winds its way down to the tumbling Gray Wolf River. It's a backward hike, starting high and descending 1100 feet in 2.8 miles through old growth trees. Keep your eyes peeled for interesting fungi in the forest and enjoy lunch along the river. 2540 ft 47.9654
None March 8, 2012 Klickitat Trail - Klickitat River 200 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/klickitat-rail-trail/ 10.5 miles -121.2918 Walk pleasantly beside the nationally-designated Wild and Scenic Klickitat River along the old railroad bed that once went from the Columbia River town of Lyle to Goldendale. Enjoy the golden hills, the swift-flowing river that is a favorite of kayakers and spring wildflowers that begin bursting forth as early as February.This first section of the 31-mile Klickitat Trail is a rails-to-trails conversion from Lyle to Warwick (on the Lyle-Centerville Highway), with several access points along the way. The Klickitat River section runs 10 miles upriver from Lyle to the hamlet of Pitt paralleling the river the entire way. This is a multi-use trail, so expect to see bicyclists and equestrians along the way. Also, due to its proximity to private land, please stay to the trail, obey all signs and keep dogs leashed.From the new trailhead in Lyle, the first 1.6 miles to the Fisher Hill Bridge are easy walking on a paved trail. Take time to admire the new decking on the railway trestle. After the Fisher Hill Bridge, the trail is no longer paved as hikers embark on the more wild section of the trail. State Route 142 also parallels the river on the opposite side, but it is a fairly quiet stretch of road and does not impede on your hike too much. Instead, watch for kayakers maneuvering through the whitewater below. If you have only one car, find a nice place to lunch in this stretch and return to Lyle.If you have two cars, you'll want to do this as a one-way trip - and even better in reverse, going downstream from Pitt to Lyle. As you near Pitt, the trail gets closer to the river again. Houses appear on both sides of the river. Eventually you'll pop out. Cross the highway to a small parking lot with a privy.The Klickitat Trail continues until a major bridge wash-out just east of the town of Klickitat. It then picks up again on the other side - a fabulous section through Swale Canyon. This trail is a partnership between the Klickitat Trail Conservancy, Washington State Parks and the US Forest Service.Driving Directions:Drive SR 14 east from Vancouver about 70 miles to the town of Lyle. Park just east of the Klickitat River Bridge on the north side of SR 14 at the Klickitat Trail trailhead, marked by a sign and a privy. Wildflowers in March? Yes indeed. Just head to the Columbia River Gorge where south-facing hills are starting to pop with early-blooming flowers like this gold star. TheKlickitat River sectionof the Klickitat Trail is a 10.5 mile, fairly level trail with easy road access in Lyle. In addition to the flowers, look for birds, wildlife in the hills above the river and maybe a kayaker or two in this  Wild and Scenic River. 350 ft 45.6947
None March 1, 2012 Big Four Snowshoe 250 ft http://www.wta.org/hp/go-hiking/hikes/big-four-ice-caves-snowshoe/ 7.0 miles -121.5068 Featured In:Snowshoe Routes - Washington, byDan A. Nelson.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Want a walk through a gorgeous winter wonderland without a sweaty climb up a steep trail? This route offers all the beauty and majesty found in the wintry mountains without the stren¬uous workout usually required to see such splendor. It is perfect for taking the family on a gentle snowshoe stroll or for introducing newbies to the joys of snowshoeing.The trail is wide - actually, most of the "trail" is on a section of the unplowed Mountain Loop Highway - and flat, so first-timers can get the feel for walking on snowshoes without having to worry about climbing, crossing, or descending steep slopes. But despite its mild nature, this trail accesses some truly wild country. Trekking up to the base of Big Four Mountain, snowshoers can gawk in awe at the towering peak before them. The granite monolith of Big Four, with its long icicle fingers and snowy cap, captivates most visitors, but it's not the only natural wonder found here. Huge ancient trees, a clear, ice-rimmed river, and hordes of animals--big and small--are here to enjoy as well.Leave the parking area and trek up the snowbound Mountain Loop Highway as it follows the Stillaguamish River upstream. The road is lined with towering cedar and fir trees--many of which sport long, flowing beards of green. At 0.5 mile, cross the sparkling waters of Coal Creek as it rushes in from the north to empty into the Stillaguamish. Follow the road more than 2 miles until a small side road veers away to the right. This is the entrance to the Big Four Picnic Area and the trailhead for the Big Four Ice Caves Trail.The ice caves themselves are typically blocked by early December--heavy snowfall and continual avalanches keep the caves capped tight throughout the winter--but the 1-mile trail from the picnic area is worth exploring. The trail leads to the base of Big Four and, along the way, offers outstanding views of the giant rock face of the mountain. Though it may be tempting to snowshoe right up to the jumbled pile of snow at the mouth of the ice caves, resist that temptation. That pile of snowballs is what remains of the devastating avalanches that flash down the side of the mountain after every snowstorm and after most sunny mornings. The bright sun on the rock face weakens the snow and ice, sending it crashing down on the trail below with absolutely no warning.Author’s Rating: Easiest.Generally good trails for beginners, with little elevation change and minimal avalanche danger.Driving Directions:To get there, from Granite Falls drive east on the Mountain Loop Highway about 12 miles past the Verlot Public Service Center to the end of the plowed road. Park in the cleared pullout area on the north side of the highway. Trip Reporter thebrink calls theBig Four Snowshoea "great snowshoe hike for experiencing a multitude of scenes: rivers, streams, peaks, forests and ponds." We couldn't agree more, and conditions right now are perfect. You won't see the caves this time of year. Stay far back and watch avalanches crash down Big Four's steep slopes. Wow. 1800 ft 48.0651
None February 23, 2012 Mowich Lake Snowshoe 1400 ft http://www.wta.org/hp/go-hiking/hikes/mowich-lake 10.0 miles -121.9808 Featured In:Snowshoe Routes - Washington, byDan A. Nelson.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Mowich Lake is the destination of choice for most folks who want to play on the northwest side of Mount Rainier National Park. The road is closed at the park boundary shortly after the first heavy snowfall, and the 5.5-mile trip to the lakeshore is a favorite of skiers and snowshoers who want to enjoy the beauty of the park, without working too hard at their sports. The road is steep in places, but overall it is moderately sloped and wide enough for snowshoers and skiers to enjoy together.Snowshoers will find themselves climbing through lush, old cedar forests--some truly massive trees are found in this area--and thinner stands of fir and hemlock before arriving at the lake with its views of Tolmie Peak, Paul Peak, and Mount Rainier. The lake has an array of excellent campsites, each well sheltered but with great views all around. The gentle road hike in makes this a good destination for novice winter campers as well as seasoned cold-weather fanatics.From the gate at the park boundary (3000 feet), hike up the road as it skirts around the flank of Martin Peak and climbs gradually up the Meadow Creek valley, passing the Paul Peak Trail (Route 75) at 1 mile. The thick tree cover is broken by an occasional small clearing, but dense, ancient forests dominate the first 2 miles of the route. At this point, the road rolls through the Mowich Meadows--small fields of snow nestled among the trees. The road curves right past the meadows and climbs steeply for a few hundred yards, rolling south through a sweeping curve. At 3 miles, rather than following the road down through a roundabout course, find a small trail on the left and climb steeply for 0.25 mile to rejoin the road at 4400 feet, thus trimming more than a half mile off the distance to the lake.Instead of rejoining the wandering road at the junction, cross the road and start up another trail as it climbs steeply to the south, cutting across the neck of a long northerly loop in the road. A half mile up this trail, at 3.8 miles, cross the road once more and stay on the small forest trail as it continues to angle up the slope on a southern bearing. This 0.5-mile trail cuts nearly a mile off the road distance. Road hikers will sweep west with the road as it rounds a sharp switchback and returns.Back on the road at mile 4.3, turn left and hike 0.5 mile to the east to find Mowich Lake. Once at the lakeshore, turn right and follow the road along the shoreline to a flat area at the end of the road. Tolmie Peak is visible to the north from here. To see Mount Rainier, hike 0.25 mile south to a viewpoint on the ridge above the lake. A small, level area for campers is nearby, with plenty of places for picnickers to plop down and enjoy lunch while gazing at the stony north face of the mighty mountain.Author’s Rating: Easiest.Generally good trails for beginners, with little elevation change and minimal avalanche danger.Driving Directions:To get there, from Enumclaw drive 5 miles west on State Route 410 to the small town of Buckley and, on the west end of town, turn left (south) onto SR 165. Continue for 10 miles through the communities of Carbonado and Wilkeson before crossing the one-lane bridge over the deep Fairfax Gorge on the Carbon River. Just beyond the bridge, turn right onto Mowich Lake Road (FR 79), a narrow road that climbs through a clearcut slope. Drive 11 miles to the national park boundary or to the snow line. Park along the road, leaving the roadway clear so that other vehicles can pass and turn around safely. With new mountain snow and rising avalanche danger, where is a snowshoer to go? How aboutMowich Lake, a road walk that is transformed into a winter wonderland with new snow. Drive as far as you can, then start walking up the road. You may not reach the lake, but you will enjoy your walk among the snowy giants. 5000 ft 46.9785
None February 16, 2012 Northrup Canyon 384 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/northrup-canyon 3.0 miles -119.0833 Featured In:Best Desert Hikes: Washington, by Dan Nelson and Alan Bauer.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Bald eagles, icons of the mossy forests and deep rivers of the Pacific Coast, flock to this desert canyon each winter, and their presence is reason to visit in winter.Up to 200 of the big birds roost in the trees along the south side of the canyon each night--get to the trailhead early to see the squadrons of eagles flying out of the canyon as they head to the fishing areas of Banks Lake. Even without the baldies, the area offers a great experience with nature. While the eagles focus on fish, the local populations of red-tailed and Cooper's hawks hunt inland for upland birds, rodents, and small mammals. The prey animals find shelter in the rich ground cover of the canyon. Ever-present sagebrush provides the best cover, but the little beasts also scurry under the clumps of balsamroot and other desert wildflowers.The trail climbs into the canyon, which holds the only native forest in Grant County. The forest is mostly pine (ponderosa and lodgepole pine), but some Douglas fir also is in the mix. Those trees make this canyon a logical home to birds of all kinds, and the result is a bird lover's paradise. Following the track as it meanders through the heart of the canyon, look and listen for avians such as great horned owls and barred owls, woodpeckers and flickers, grouse and quail, swallows and sparrows, hawks and eagles.Hike up the canyon for a good 1.5 miles, and you'll find the forest diversifying with the inclusion of willow and aspen trees. Continue up the canyon to find an abandoned farmhouse, which marks the turnaround point for this hike. If you want to go farther, take the trail to the lake, about two miles away.Driving Directions:From Ellensburg, drive east on Interstate 90 to exit 151 (State Route 283) signed "Ephrata/Soap Lake." Drive through Ephrata. At Soap Lake turn north on State Route 17. Drive through Soap Lake and keep going about 20 miles to State Route 2. Turn right onto SR 2. In 4.2 miles, you'll come to a Y junction. Stay straight to merge onto SR 155. At 18.8 miles from the Y junction, turn right onto a gravel road marked Northrup Canyon Natural Area. Continue 0.7 mile to the new trailhead. (See page 85 for trail map.). For many it's a three-day weekend. Why not get out of town?Northrup Canyonis an excellent winter choice. Located in the Grand Coulee, you will delight in the silvery sagebrush, golden grasses and scarlet red osier. It's also a winter oasis for some 200 bald eagles. Throw in a picturesque canyon and a neat old cabin and you have a great hike! 2134 ft 47.8657
None February 9, 2012 Cape Disappointment 300 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/cape-disappointment-state-park 4.2 miles -124.0633 Featured In:Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Take the long and scenic way to Cape Disappointment's North Head Lighthouse. Through a salt-sprayed maritime forest, trace part of Captain Clark's hike on the Long Beach Peninsula. From the high headland that houses the 1898 lighthouse, take in breathtaking views that include thundering waves, windswept dunes, and scores of shorebirds skimming the crashing surf.There are over 6.5 miles of hiking trails in 1884-acre Cape Disappointment State Park. Once home to Fort Canby, a military reservation established in 1852 (before Washington statehood), the state park was created in the 1950s. Most of its trails are short. All are scenic. The 1.8-mile North Head Trail is the longest, traversing a moisture-dripping old-growth Sitka spruce forest and offering spectacular ocean views along the way. It ties into several other trails, allowing for extended explorations.The trail to North Head starts through a flat marshy area before heading up onto a small rugged ridge. When Lewis and Clark visited this area, the ridge was a headland protruding into the Pacific. After the North Jetty was built in 1917, this marshy forested area formed through accretion (trapped sand and silt accumulation). The land mass and beaches of Cape Disappointment are growing (and they say land doesn't grow!).On what can be a muddy trail, climb above the old coastline on this former headland. Giant Sitka spruces keep you well-shaded, while gaps in the forest canopy offer splendid views down to the "new"beach. In 1.8 miles from the trailhead, come to a parking lot. (Yes, you could have driven to this point-but why? Exercise and nature are good for your body and soul!)Now hike the 0.3-mile trail down to the North Head Lighthouse for one of the finest maritime settings in all of Washington. Return the way you came.Driving Directions:From Kelso follow State Route 4 west for 56 miles to Naselle. Turn left (south) on SR 401, proceeding 12 miles to US 101 at the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Continue on US 101 for 11 miles to Ilwaco and the junction of SR 100. Follow SR 100 (it's a loop, bear left) to Cape Disappointment State Park, and in 2 miles turn left into the park. Drive 0.5 mile to a four-way stop and turn right. Pass the entrance station, and in 0.25 mile turn right again. In 0.4 mile come to the McKenzie Head trailhead and park here. Cape Disappointmentis a year-round delight, with pounding surf, misty forests, towering bluffs and two majestic lighthouses. There are several hiking options. A WTA favorite is the trail to the North Head Lighthouse. Enjoy the elevated wooden staircase that our Volunteer Vacation crews have recently built to keep you from the mud. 250 ft 46.2856
None February 3, 2012 Mazama Ridge 900 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/mazama-ridge 6.0 miles -121.7350 Featured In:Snowshoe Routes - Washington, byDan A. Nelson.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.This is a wonderful trail for snowshoers of all tastes. Like to ‘shoe where there are great panoramic vistas of mountain peaks? No problem. Like trails with pretty local scenery? This one has some of the finest subalpine meadows and forests in the country, all blanketed in the deepest snow found in Washington. Want to watch other recreationists play? Snowboarders and telemark skiers love this trail, with its many open slopes on which they can practice their turns. Looking for a chance to see wildlife? In addition to the wide variety of avian life--from camp-robber and Stellar's jays to ravens and red-tailed hawks--snowshoe hares, red foxes, and a variety of small, scurrying beasts inhabit the forest fringes.Snowshoers will also find that they are not bound by a specific trail on this route. Hiking up Mazama Ridge, they can amble off in any direction and pick their own paths through the deep snow of the meadows along the ridge crest. There is no finer place for snowshoers to enjoy the total freedom of movement that their ‘shoes afford them.From near the guide service and ranger station buildings, climb the slope above the parking area and head off to the right, staying above Paradise Lodge, to enter the broad open meadows of the upper Paradise Valley. Staying above the roadway, cross Edith Creek on a wide footbridge, just above the ice-cloaked waterfalls. From the bridge, head due east, traversing around the head of Paradise Valley to approach the steep wall of Mazama Ridge at about 0.7 mile.Start up the ridge, angling right (south) while climbing steeply for 0.5 mile to attain the ridge crest at 5700 feet. Cross to the eastern side of the crest for great views in that direction. Then turn right and follow the ridge south through thin stands of dwarf trees (their growth stunted by the howling winds that frequently scour this open ridge) and wide open meadows. Looking south, the multiple peaks of the Tatoosh Range--Pinnacle Peak, The Castle, Unicorn, Boundary Peak, and the rest--are visible as a jagged line against the sky. At the southern end of Mazama Ridge, near the 2.5-mile mark, look down onto Reflection and Louise Lakes and east along the deep cut of Stevens Canyon. To the north, Mount Rainier towers over it all.To return, go north along the western edge of the ridge to meet the tracks you made along the eastern edge on your way in. Turn and follow those tracks back to Paradise.Author’s Rating: More DifficultSome previous snowshoe experience helpful. Some winter survival skills recommended (basic knowledge of avalanche evaluation, emergency shelter construction, etc.). Elevation gain is usually less than 1000 feet with a gradual slope.Driving Directions:To get there, drive east from Tacoma on State Route 7 and bear left onto SR 706 at the town of Elbe. Continue east through the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park, and proceed up the plowed road to the Paradise Lodge parking area. There may be nothing better than snowshoeing at Mount Rainier National Park on a sunny day - and the forecast looks favorable! Drive to Paradise and find your way to the top ofMazama Ridgefor exhilarating close-ups of both The Mountain and the Tatoosh Range to the south. The slopes before you are wide open and inviting. Ahhh. Paradise. 5700 ft 46.7860
None January 27, 2012 Mima Mounds 450 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/klickitat-rail-trail-swale-canyon/ 13.0 miles -121.0240 The Klickitat Rail Trail is a 31-mile rails-to-trails conversion managed by Columbia Hills State Park. This linear park goes from Lyle to Warwick (on the Lyle-Centerville Highway) with several access points along the way. Swale Canyon lies on the eastern end of the trail and offers a quiet canyon, a burbly creek, wildflowers and solitude.Swale Canyon can be hiked end-to-end (13 miles) or as an out-and-back as far as you'd like. Start the hike at Harms Road and follow Swale Creek downstream as it approaches the Klickitat River. The old railbed is wide, making it fun to walk side-by-side and easy to share the trail with the occasional mountain biker.This is lonely country, with broad, windswept vistas that narrow as you enter the canyon. Wildlife is abundant, particularly birds and springtime brings flowers sometimes as early as late February or early March. Look for black desert parsley, balsamroot, phlox, lupine and much more along the trail.This is easy walking, gently treading downhill along the creek. Take the time to appreciate the trestles and the decking that volunteers have undertaken to make them safe for hikers and other users.Dogs are required to be on leash on this trail. Also, please stick to the path, as much of the adjoining property is private. And note that Swale Canyon is generally closed from July 1 - October 1 each year because of fire danger.Driving Directions:From Lyle, take the Lyle-Centerville Hwy. Go north, then east for about 15 miles. Turn left on Harms Road. Drive north one-half mile and park just north of the bridge. There is a portable toilet at the trailhead. South of Olympia lie theMima Mounds, a National Natural Landmark that has perplexed generations of scientists. No one knows why or how these 6-foot high prairie humps were created - and there are a lot of them! As you wander among the hummocks along the family-friendly trail, contemplate the possible geologic forces that could have made the mounds. You might be right! 1550 ft 45.7282
None January 19, 2012 Padilla Bay 30 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/padilla-bay 4.8 miles -122.4731 Featured In:Day Hiking: North Cascades, byCraig Romano.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Hike on a snaking dike built by tenacious twentieth-century settlers and farmers through the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Established in 1980 to protect extensive mudflats of eel grass, the 11,000-acre preserve is a bird watcher's paradise. The trail twists and turns along sloughs, tidal flats, and salt marshes, allowing you to scope out herons, eagles, falcons, dunlins, brants, and scores of other winged residents. And in addition to the profuse birdlife, you'll be treated to unhindered views of surrounding mountains, islands, and farmland from this delightful and level path.Begin by walking back down Second Street and then Bay View-Edison Road for 0.15 mile to the Padilla Bay shore trailhead. Roads are lightly traveled, but keep children and dogs close by. The short drop in elevation from parking lot to trailhead is the only elevation change you'll experience on this hike. Relax and enjoy this perfectly level trail for the next 2.25 miles.Developed in 1990 by a consortium of public agencies, the Padilla Bay Shore Trail allows the best pedestrian viewings of the estuarine reserve. Established for research, education, and stewardship, Padilla is one of only twenty-seven such reserves in the country. Padilla harbors some of the best remaining eelgrass flats north of Willapa Bay, but the area has been heavily influenced by agriculture and industry. Farmers have reclaimed thousands of acres of tideflats for cropland, and a large oil refinery sits across the bay at March Point.But the area still remains ecologically viable and incredibly scenic, especially during low tide, when nearly the entire 8-by-3-mile bay is transformed into glistening mudflats and slithering sloughs. Hordes of herons harvesting succulent appetizers can often be observed. Be sure to cast your attention to the neighboring "drier"grounds for songbird and raptor sightings.If bird-watching doesn't ruffle your feathers, the surrounding scenery should still tickle your fancy. Islands dot the bay, with Lummi and the San Juans guarding its northern waters. Across Padilla, the conifer-cloaked knolls of Sugarloaf and Mount Erie crown Fildalgo Island. Mount Baker rises above the countryside to the east, and to the south Mount Rainier hovers in the distance over the Skagit Flats.In 1.8 miles you'll approach a lone cedar and a slough-side barn, a favorite among photographers casual and serious alike. The trail then turns away from the mudflats, following a snaking Indian Slough for a final 0.5 mile and terminating at its southern trailhead. From this alternative starting area (where parking is limited), begin your return, enjoying a new phase of the bay.Driving Directions:From Burlington (exit 230 on I-5), head west on State Route 20 for about 7 miles, turning right onto Bay View-Edison Road (the turnoff is approximately 1.75 miles west of the SR 20/SR 536 junction). Continue north on Bay View-Edison Road for 3 miles to the trailhead, on your left. Parking is located a little farther ahead. Turn right onto Second Street, and within 200 feet turn left into the Skagit County Historical Society's large parking area. Privy available. With lowland snow melting, beat cabin fever and head out toPadilla Baywhere you'll be treated to shore birds, like the dunlins pictured above, flocking about. This National Estuarine Research Reserve is a real treat - with 4.8 miles of ADA-accesible hiking, gorgeous views across Puget Sound and many varieties of birds. 30 ft 48.4803
None January 12, 2012 Heather Lake 1100 ft http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/heather-lake-snowshoe 4.6 miles -121.7740 Featured In:Snowshoe Routes - Washington, byDan A. Nelson.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.The Heather Lake Trail can be a wonderful route for snowshoers as it climbs just 2 miles--gaining more than 1000 feet--through thick second-growth forest to arrive at a stunningly beautiful alpine lake nestled in a deep rock cirque on the north face of Mount Pilchuck. The trail is heavily traveled in the summer, but winter visitors will find the crowds thin and the forests even more beautiful when blanketed in soft white. The lake features several excellent campsites around its perimeter, each with its own charm and glorious view of Mount Pilchuck or the Stillaguamish Valley. The short distance makes this a great destination to consider for first-timers in the art of winter camping.The trail leaves the left side of the parking area near the gate and immediately begins climbing through the dense young forest, switching back a time or two before traversing west into the Heather Creek valley. The trail climbs steadily alongside the creek, gaining more than 1000 feet in the 2 miles to the lake. After nearly a mile of climbing, notice how the surrounding forest begins to age. Old, stout trees of massive size are mingled with the young, crowded stands of second-growth fir and hemlock. At the 1.2-mile mark, the forest is entirely old growth, with ancient hulks towering over the trail and long-dead trunks lying scattered about the forest floor. The decaying fallen trees provide just the rich nourishment seeds need to sprout and grow into young, upstart trees. In this way, the dead trees, or nurse logs, hold the roots of a new generation, closing the circle of forest life. Even buried under snow, these nurse logs are evident. Just look for the long rows of young trees, and imagine them all rooted in one long, straight log.The trail reaches the Heather Lake basin at just above 2400 feet and breaks out of the forest and into open views of the towering summit of Mount Pilchuck beyond. The lake is at a low enough elevation that at no time should you attempt to cross its ice; the ice is seldom thick enough to support an adult, and even then, it is likely riddled with cracks and fissures, which could open and send you into a quick bout of hypothermia.Campsites can be found around the perimeter of the lake, and the best are on the eastern shore where the slope is most gradual and the view most splendid.Author’s Rating: More DifficultSome previous snowshoe experience helpful. Some winter survival skills recommended (basic knowledge of avalanche evaluation, emergency shelter construction, etc.). Elevation gain is usually less than 1000 feet with a gradual slope.Driving Directions:To get there, from Granite Falls drive east on the Mountain Loop Highway 1 mile past the Verlot Public Service Center and turn right (south) onto Mount Pilchuck Road (Forest Road 42). Continue up the road 1.6 miles to reach the winter closure gate. Park in the wide areas near the gate, but do not block the main road or any side access (private) roads. Often hikeable without snowshoes in winter, a cold front just may make them necessary atHeather Lakethis week. Climb steadily but not too steeply through wintery forest to a gorgeous lake at the foot of imposing Mount Pilchuck. Bring a pad to sit on while you gaze at the semi-frozen lake and the rocky mountain face before you. 2440 ft 48.0829
None January 6, 2012 Amabilis Mountain 2100 ft http://www.wta.org/hp/go-hiking/hikes/amabilis-mt 8.0 miles -121.2889 Featured In:Snowshoe Routes - Washington, byDan A. Nelson.Buy the full book, including maps, elevation profiles, photos, and more:»REI»AmazonA portion of all book sales from the links above benefits WTA and helps protect and maintain our trails.Sometimes it's nice to cut a switchback or two; to go where skiers and snowmobilers can't; to work up a sweat on a cold day while enjoying spectacular local scenery and distant views. This trail offers all that. A road loops, bobs, and weaves its way to the top of the mountain, but snowshoers don't need roads. There is enough open country on the side of the mountain that snowshoers can just point their shoes uphill and go, jumping onto the road when necessary to avoid particularly steep pitches or brambly clearcuts.All that open country makes prime hunting habitat for raptors--red-tailed hawks and falcons--and ravens. Owls prowl the forest fringes, and bald eagles soar through between fishing trips up the Yakima River. Those birds are here for a reason, and that reason is rabbits, or more accurately, hares-- snowshoe hares, which bound through the meadows and burrow in the snow to eat the grasses underneath. Even if the white rabbits aren't seen, their tracks frequently are. This route is steep and has a high danger of avalanche at times, so avoid the mountain when forecasters report moderate or higher avalanche danger.Before strapping on the snowshoes, walk north across the freeway overpass and find the start of Forest Road 4826 on the left. Snowshoe north on this wide, flat road. Note that the road is usually groomed, with tracks frequently set for skiers (twin, parallel grooves carved into the snow by a grooming machine), so steer your snowshoes well clear of the tracks. A quarter mile up the road, turn off onto FR 4822 and start to climb toward the summit of Amabilis. This trail switches back and forth a few times before slanting off to the south on a long traverse of the middle section of the mountain.Cross a small creek, and at about 2 miles the road forks. A hard hairpin turn to the left leads you on a long looping route to the mountaintop. Snowshoeing straight off on the right-hand road leads to an even longer loop to the same point at the summit (which, incidentally, is almost directly up-slope from this intersection).Either road will get you to the top, but if you are looking to avoid the roads, start off along the left fork, and in 0.5 mile leave the road by climbing on a more direct route up the slope while still slanting slightly to the left. The views are now spectacular. Looking south and west, the Yakima River and Keechelus Lake valley spread out at your feet, and beyond the rolling hills (with their many square scars of open clearcuts) the South Cascades sprawl to the horizon.A half mile farther on, near the 3-mile mark, cross the road, which has flipped through a switchback turn and is now climbing south, and head straight upslope to the ridge crest. Turn right and follow the crest another mile to the 4554-foot summit. A thin stand of trees lines the summit crest, providing a degree of protection from the wind while you enjoy a scenic lunch before heading down the steep slopes.Author’s Rating: Most DifficultHikers should have good experience and familiarity with snowshoes. This route features sections that will need to be evaluated for avalanche safety every time. Trails climb considerably and may include climbing to ridge tops. Traverses across forested or open slopes may be required. An ability to self-arrest with an ice axe or trekking pole recommended.Driving Directions:To get there, from Seattle drive east on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass to exit 63, signed Cabin Creek. Turn right after exiting the interstate, and enter the Cabin Creek Sno-Park on the right. Get your heart pumping while enjoying snowy scenery and peaks on a trek upAmabilis Mountain. On the east side of Snoqualmie Pass, this destination offers snowshoers and cross-country skiers elevation gain and amazing views. But make sure avalanche danger is low before heading out. 4554 ft 47.2965
March 2014
Permalink Hide details Show details 1394477844.429457_d2326e3f-4a77-4983-abc8-b30cf947da3f 18:57, 10 March 2014 1393873005.970486_727b38d9-ea70-4614-a26c-aac4c39b7bc1 18:56, 3 March 2014
Run succeeded: - ran 2 times, most recently for 0 seconds (0 scraped pages, 0 records) 18:57, 10 March 2014

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February 2014
Permalink Hide details Show details 1393150431.217407_5b9638b5-c679-480d-976f-0be9fda42af2 10:13, 23 February 2014 1391885130.048227_75c6c907-c8ac-4838-aeea-ccba1110009d 18:45, 8 February 2014
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January 2014
Permalink Hide details Show details 1390674313.250585_e0940af9-00ec-4391-aa01-409a3bda56d2 18:26, 25 January 2014 1390674313.125193_14ad3a32-36ac-4ac1-8864-3b40b4b8b70a 18:25, 25 January 2014 1390049703.706636_255c639b-f86a-40e3-919d-96eb12241086 12:55, 18 January 2014 1389126539.140920_d001915e-7422-4890-b479-636280101332 20:29, 7 January 2014
Run succeeded: - ran 4 times, most recently for 0 seconds (0 scraped pages, 0 records) 18:26, 25 January 2014

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December 2013
Permalink Hide details Show details 1388521064.192018_2f39abb8-00ce-4f20-aecc-57cdd1d5569a 20:18, 31 December 2013 1387670978.700997_bfb51911-f77d-4712-9111-8e494882b2e7 00:09, 22 December 2013
Run succeeded: - ran 2 times, most recently for 0 seconds (0 scraped pages, 0 records) 20:18, 31 December 2013

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April 2011
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Hide first version Show first version 0 00:24, 17 April 2011
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