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Jackie Busen
(JackieB) - F
Washington backpack early June on 05/10/2012 22:17:49 MDT Print View

Hello,

My boyfriend and I are visiting Seattle the first week of June. We are wanting to try to find a 3-4 day backpacking trip (preferably a loop) that would be appropriate at that time of year. We are currently living in Arizona, so are much more accustomed to hiking/camping in the heat and are looking for something that will be a nice change from the desert. My boyfriend loves a challenge, so something that is flat would be a no-go. What areas/trails are recommended for mid-week hiking in Washington in early June? Any help would be greatly appreciated, as we want to figure out a game-plan soon!

Thank you, Jackie

pack nwcurt
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Washington backpack early June on 05/11/2012 08:29:54 MDT Print View

Early June is one of the most frustrating times of the year out here. Weather is improving, but snowpack is still very high. You won't get anything much over 3000' - less in many places.

For something COMPLETELY different, the coast is amazing. LaPush to Oil City or one of the other stretches would be ideal. No bugs. Amazing scenery. Physically challenging enough with rope ladders and sand. It's about a 60-40 mix of beach hiking and old growth forest hiking. Not a loop, though.

If you want Cascades you'll probably be frustrated. Check wta.org and nwhikers.net for recent reports on places. Both usually include pictures, too. You can find spots here and there, but nothing really "premier" that will give you the best of the Cascades. Mostly just river valley hikes and stuff like that. For the great stuff in great conditions, you need to be here in September :)

Good luck!

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Re: Washington backpack early June on 05/11/2012 11:09:33 MDT Print View

In early June most of the higher elevations are still packed with snow. This year we have higher than average snow pack, however, the temperatures have already been warmer than last year, so maybe we will have earlier melt out than last year.

For some specific destinations that fall in line with some of what you are looking for, you may want to look at Ross Lake, specifically the East Bank Trail or the West Bank Trail which will lead you up into the Big Beaver Creek Valley. You can also look East of the Cascades to the Chelan Lakeshore Trail which follows lake Chelan up to the little Village of Stehekin. Aside from that, the coast might be the best option. I would think that Ross Lake has probably the shortest driving time though. Look on the North Cascades National Park website for more details and for condition information. Good Luck!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Washington backpack early June on 05/11/2012 11:37:30 MDT Print View

The Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness in SE Washington may be melted out enough--it's normally melted out enough for travel by mid-June. However, this area is ponderosa pine plateau country, definitely more like northern Arizona than the Cascades. Oops, I last checked in early March--since then the snowpack has gone to above average!

There are several long low-elevation valleys in the Olympics, such as the Hoh River and Enchanted Valley, with spectacular old-growth rain forest, but loops are not possible there until mid to late summer when the higher elevations have melted. I have also seen reports that the trail to Enchanted Valley is in pretty bad shape. The Olympic NP website (nps.gov) has excellent trail descriptions, and a call to their Wilderness Information Center in Port Angeles will give you the latest information.

The Chelan Lakeshore Trail might be a good choice if you don't want the coast. It's not a hiking loop, but you ride the boat to the Prince Creek trailhead and then ride it back from Stehekin. Be sure to allow a day to explore the Stehekin area. Unfortunately, the famed bakery there doesn't open until June 15.

This map of Washington Snotels will help you find snow conditions:
http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snotel/Washington/washington.html

The nwhikers.net and WTA sites have already been mentioned

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/11/2012 11:42:34 MDT.

Ben W
(bpwood)

Locale: NW Center for Volcano-Aided Flight
Go East on 05/11/2012 13:22:23 MDT Print View

The eastern end of the Pasayten Wilderness could be somewhat melted out in a month, but hey, snow is not evil. Trying to cross a jagged ridge with 45-degree corniced slopes still covered in feet of snow is one thing, but a little postholing out in the gentle east end of the Pasayten is nothing to worry about, just an adventure. The east end out there is much drier than the more westerly stuff near the crest. The Horseshoe Basin area, for example, often melts out in May, but this year has more snow than usual. From there, there are lots of local peaks to hike/scramble, plus options to continue west along the Boundary Trail or check out Windy Peak to the south. It's a great area for just rambling off trail. Beware, though, much of the southern tier of the Pasayten Wilderness has burned in various fires in the last dozen years. Depending on your disposition and the intensity of the sun, making way through, e.g., the Lake Creek, Andrews Creek, or Chewuch valleys can be either demoralizing slog or high adventure. The northern tier is intact, and green. Here's what the Cathedral area (a little farther west from Horseshoe Basin, and likely to melt a little later) looked like this past weekend.

As mentioned above, great resources for ideas and conditions are:
The WTA hiking guide
nwhikers.net trip reports
WA snotel info
Also, NOAA has a snow pack prediction model (pick Snow Depth in the left-hand drop-down menu) that can be helpful, but should be taken as an interpretation. It's not always representative of reality, but does give a good rough idea of where things stand.

Edited by bpwood on 05/11/2012 13:29:13 MDT.

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
Chelan Lakeshore on 05/11/2012 14:14:10 MDT Print View

I would second the Chelan Lakeshore trail. Beautiful in June, easy logistics, and spend a night at Moore Point for sure. Spend an extra day in Stehekin and take the shuttle up for a dayhike of the road or Agnes creek. Camping in "town" is free, and the restaurant at the inn makes some pretty tasty food.