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'Lifelist' hikes in the NW
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Cullen Steele

Locale: Northwest
'Lifelist' hikes in the NW on 11/04/2011 19:54:42 MDT Print View

I am relatively new to Seattle and am trying to compile an aspirational list of hikes, along with the seasons in which to hike them. All of the guidebooks I have bought reference a June-Oct hiking season, but I figure that the lower elevation routes should be accessible earlier/later in the year. Here is what I have so far:

Crater lake
Northern loop - Mt Rainier
Blue lake loop
Hoh river
Wonderland trail
Copper ridge trail
Enchantment Lakes

I know that there are a lot of NW BPLrs and I am hoping to learn from your experience. Thanks for your input!

Steve Robinson
(Jeannie) - F
NW Hikes on 11/04/2011 21:21:01 MDT Print View

I can't get enough of Hoh River to Shi Shi Beach on the coast.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Lifelist' hikes in the NW" on 11/04/2011 22:08:36 MDT Print View

The Spider Meadow/Lyman Lakes/Image Lake/Buck Creek Pass loop.

Entiat River/Larch Lakes/Cow Creek Meadows loop in early October, for the golden Alpine larch.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Lifelist hikes in the NW on 11/04/2011 22:23:38 MDT Print View

Welcome to the Northwest, I hope you find it to your liking.
I believe June - October is fair estimation of traditional hiking season in western Washington, although this year July was pretty snowed in after a wet and cold spring. June at elevation is usually pushing it early in the month on the west side of the Cascades, at least in the Central Cascades north.
Off the top of my head, others I would add to your list (and by no means are my suggestions definitive. My experience in mostly in Washington. Others here will comment on the wonders of Oregon . )
So, in no particular order I give you a list:
1. Spider Meadow - Spider Gap - Lyman Lakes - Cloudy Pass - Image Lake (or many alternatives such as Miners Ridge) - Buck Creek Pass. A classic loop. Lovely. Outstanding views.
2. North Fork Saulk River / Pilot Ridge / White Pass / White Chuck River - a great looop with terrific ridge hiking and tremendous old growth.
3. Pacific Crest Trail - Snoqualmie to Stevens Pass (quite nice), Stevens Pass to Border (outstanding). The northern parts of the trail venture through the Henry M. Jackson and Glacier Peak Wildernesses, the Pasayten Wilderness and North Cascades National Park. In other words, an epic treat. A grand introduction to the wild parts of the state.
4. Goat Rocks Loop - a great three day trip - or for a longer stretch, you could hike Pacific Crest Trail from Mt. Adams over the Goat Rocks into Packwood. This hike works in excellent weather - the views and knife ridge is what sells this hike.
5. Enchanted Valley - Anderson Pass - La Crosse Pass - Hart Lake - O'Neill Pass - Great loop through some of the prettiest territory in the Olympic National Park.
6. Cascade Pass / Sahale Arm trail – An inconic hike. Do as a dayhike or hike up the arm and then go back down to Cascade Pass and hike the 25 miles to the town of Steheiken (only accessible via boat, float plane or on foot) on Lake Chelan.
7. Ptarmigan Ridge - Mt. Baker (near Bellingham) - Short hike relatively, but some fine camping spots and really, the views-per-mile, especially in fall, is outstanding. 5-star dayhike.
8. Olympic National Park beaches - I very much enjoyed going out to Forks and heading north of along the beach. Warning, slow going and you need to pay attention to tide charts. Great spring / fall hike.
9. West Coast Trail, British Columbia – I haven’t yet done this one but plenty of people here have – a terrific coastal trail with many challenges.
Spring fever bonus! And just because you will go nuts waiting for hiking season to start in spring, go over to the Black Canyon near Yakima. Easy hiking up to beautiful ridge views of Yakima Valley and beyond. Can be done as a dayhike or overnighter.
Finally, I would encourage you to visit two websites. Become a member of The Washington Trails Association and Northwest Hikers Forum. Both have many great resources and suggestions! Welcome!


Edited by dirk9827 on 11/07/2011 21:46:17 MST.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: 'Lifelist' hikes in the NW on 11/05/2011 01:43:53 MDT Print View

I see Copper Ridge Trail is on your list -- here's a trip report that includes that trail as part of a traverse across North Cascades NP -- going from east to west with the start at Little Beaver trailhead (reached via boat up Ross Lake), over Whatcom Pass and down to Chilliwack River valley, then up along Copper Ridge, and finally out to Hannegan Pass trailhead on the west --

The above report describes a great hike but it does require a substantial shuttle. The route can be broken into two separate loop trips -- one that starts at Hannegan Pass trailhead to reach the trail along Copper Ridge, then returning to the starting point via Chilliwack River valley; and the other starting at Little Beaver trailhead (reached via boat taxi from Ross Dam), going up to Whatcom Pass and Tapto Lakes, then returning via Big Beaver trail to Ross Lake (meeting a boat taxi that you've arranged in advance).

Since you included an Oregon trail on your list (Crater Lake), you might consider other Oregon trails: like Jefferson Park in Mount Jefferson Wilderness (google Jefferson Park Oregon) plus Three Sisters Wilderness -- as well as the PCT thru both of those wildernesses.

If you haven't checked them out already, here are some well-reviewed trail guides describing a lot of "lifelist" type hikes in the NW, including many trails already on your list or suggested by others above:

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: 'Lifelist' hikes in the NW on 11/05/2011 08:19:48 MDT Print View

Olympic Peninsula beach is pretty unique - Ozzette to Rialto or Toleak Point - kind of busy in the summer but great in the off-season if you can catch some good weather

Cullen Steele

Locale: Northwest
Thanks! on 11/05/2011 09:09:54 MDT Print View

.....for the fantastic suggestions! Looks like I'm in for 6-7 months of TOPO!, guidebooks, and daydreaming...... I wonder if my boss will let me take vacation from July 1 - Sept 30?

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Jefferson Park on 11/07/2011 13:30:11 MST Print View

What great lists for Washington!

My favorite place on the Oregon PCT is Jefferson Park. It's a lakes basin on the northwest flanks of Mt. Jefferson.

The easiest access is probably from the Santiam Pass road. Someone around here should know.

This is a trip you could easily do on a 3-day weekend, July - September. If you are an extremely efficient driver and hiker (can you drive to the trailhead on the Friday night?), you could even get it done on a 2-day weekend. Jefferson Park is fairly compact once you actually arrive.

- Elizabeth

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Lifelist hikes in the NW on 11/07/2011 21:48:36 MST Print View

Jefferson Park is really great, I recall being a bit on a mission while on the PCT and we hiked through this way to fast. It deserved much more attention. But I do recall climbing opposite Jefferson peak and reaching the ridge and getting my first views of the big peaks of Washington...I was nearly home! Good feeling.

But you are right, it's a great hike, plenty of water, great places to stake out a camp and get some splendid views. Thanks for that suggestion! Very nice.


Terry G
(delvxe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
another add on 11/07/2011 22:07:10 MST Print View

I agree with many of the other trips. I would like to add Ingalls Lake. Great hike and some opportunities for loops up there. One of my favorites, indeed.

Also check out

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Jefferson Park on 11/08/2011 12:42:12 MST Print View

Here's a link to excellent short descriptions of trails in Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, with each trail description accompanied by a sketch map that has links to photos taken along that trail:

To get to a trail description at the above link, click on a trail icon on the overview map of the Jefferson Wilderness, then roll mouse over camera locations shown along the trail to see the view at that location.

Jefferson Park can be accessed from several trail heads - from the west, there's a trail head at the end of White Water Road off of Santiam Highway (short distance from Detroit, about hour from I-5 at Salem); from the north, there's Park Ridge trail head starting at Breitenbush Lake; from the southwest there's Pamelia Lake trailhead; and from the south, there's the PCT via Hunt's Cove.

As shown by the map and descriptions at above link, there're an abundance of trails in the Jefferson Wilderness that can be combined to make a "hike into Jefferson Park" via several different loop or quasi-loop trips using trail heads at Whitewater Road, Pamelia Lake and Hunt's Cove, and Breitenbush Lake.

Jefferson Park can also be done as a fairly easy 10 mile day hike, although once there you would want to have several days to explore, fish, and just laze around.