Hiking Washington  by Oliver Lazenby

Hiking Washington Guide Book

by Oliver Lazenby (Falcon Guides)
Hiking Washington  by Oliver Lazenby
There are a lot of amazing things to see here. The state’s beauty is as varied as it is grand. Where else can you ski snowfields in August and surf ocean waves in the same day, explore inland sand dunes one day and ancient forests the next? The staggering variety in terrain can be explored with hikes of all lengths. Often the state’s treasures are only a mile from a paved-trailhead, or even just outside city limits. The large protected areas in the Cascades and Olympics make it possible walk until you’re days from the nearest road. The state’s mountain ranges are also seemingly at the perfect climate and latitude to be a petri dish for culturing eye-popping scenery. Huge snowfall and mild summers create glaciers. When you see the Cascades or Olympics in summer under a clear blue sky, the white glaciers complete them—a reminder of the long wet winters and improbable elevation of the mountains in our backyard. Flowers bloom just below massive glaciers.

© 2014 Oliver Lazenby /Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking Washington" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 52.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 52.

This hike through a cliff-rimmed shrub-steppe desert ends at a waterfall tumbling into a spectacular set of lakes. Crumbling talus and 500-foot basalt cliffs covered in orange and green lichen surround the lush basin. The walk to the lakes is short, but there’s plenty to explore in and above the basin.
Quincy, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 4.8
A brand new, well-built trail leads up to Beckler Peak through an impressive mature forest. The peak is a high viewpoint into the Wild Sky Wilderness north of Stevens Pass. The 360-degree views and rocky summit lend the peak an alpine flavor. On top of all that, the trailhead is relatively easy to get to and it’s just a 7.6-mile-round trip for the grand view.
Skykomish, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.6
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This hike follows a trickle of water up through a wildflower-filled canyon to Umtanum Ridge, where you’re treated to views of Kittitas Valley, the Stuart Range, Mount Rainier, and the Wenas Valley, where the hike begins. The canyon walls aren’t especially tall or steep, but they make up for it with a plethora of wildflowers, stunning views, varied terrain, and a chance to see bighorn sheep and elk.
Selah, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 7.6
Starting from the highest paved parking lot in Washington State, the Burroughs Mountain loop wastes no time in getting to a mountain realm of alpine tundra, bare rock, and snow. Spectacular views of Mount Rainier start immediately and only get better. The top is a table set for two, with just you and the mountain staring each other in the face. On the return path you’ll see deep moraines and acres of lupines.
Packwood, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.3
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Cascade Pass is a classic destination in North Cascades National Park. The 7.4-mile hike through old-growth forest leads to an incredible perch surrounded by sharp peaks, massive mountains, and crevassed hanging glaciers creeping toward cliff bands. From the top of this ancient route through the Cascades, you can explore in a variety of directions—or sit still and let your eyes do the exploring.
Marblemount, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.4
One of the best rail trails in the state, Cowiche Canyon is an interesting pocket of wilderness surrounded by orchards, vineyards and other forms of civilization. Go in spring for the show of colorful wildflowers. Nearly anytime you go, a radiant blue sky will hang over the canyon’s steep, rocky walls.
Yakima, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 6.2
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Sometimes in the Olympic Mountains it takes a while to get to your destination. The trailhead to Flapjack Lakes—two emerald-green lakes below Sawtooth Ridge—starts way down in the Skokomish River Valley amid some of the biggest trees on the east side of the peninsula. You’ll be tired when you finally emerge at the sublime lakes, but the cold blue water and jagged skyline peaks will wash away memories of the long journey.
Hoodsport, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 15.0
This narrow basin of dark, naked rock, little pools, and a deep lake is wedged between the towers and buttresses of two formidable mountains. The trail is steep and rough, but it traverses beautiful forests high above the headwaters of the Sauk River. The uphill grunt ends when the trail crosses a pass into the awe-inspiring basin. The towering peaks and otherworldly rock make Gothic Basin an unforgettable destination.
Granite Falls, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.4
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The hike to Grand Valley is backwards—you start from one of the highest trailheads in the Olympics, roam through the sky on a ridge of flowery alpine tundra, and then descend to a lake-filled valley. The valley is grand, and so are the lakes and the view of Mount Olympus from the hike’s high points.
Port Angeles, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.6
This 7.6-mile hike quickly climbs a tall ridge and then traverses across its top to a broad high point. From Grassy Top, the view into Idaho is supreme—ridge after ridge rolls into the distance. Grizzly bears, moose, elk, gray wolves, and woodland caribou dwell in this wild corner of the state.
Metaline Falls, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 7.6
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This hike in the Columbia Gorge has a little bit of everything the gorge offers— enchanting waterfalls and pools, wildflowers, views of volcanoes, and an incredible vantage of the Columbia River’s deep channel. A ribbon of water dropping into a deep pothole of a pool at 1.1 miles is a highlight of the hike. It’s rare to find such a long, scenic hike that you can do before the high country snow melts out.
Stevenson, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 8.3
The hike to the Hidden Lake Lookout is one of the prettiest day hikes anywhere. Big woods lead to wildflowers, open slopes, heather meadows, and finally snow patches and sheer granite slabs. Up and up you go, until the world falls away and you’re surrounded by sky, snow, and stark-white rock. Here Hidden Lake reveals itself, its dark blue water lying just below in a basin of broken granite.
Marblemount, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 9.0
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The 19-mile High Divide Loop journeys deep into the Olympics. The climax of the trip is roaming in the shadows of Mount Olympus on the High Divide. But there’s plenty more to this loop, including bears, elk, a rocky basin crowded with pristine lakes, an ancient rain forest valley, and several wooded lakes.
Forks, WA - Backpacking,Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 19.5
The top of High Rock, in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, is the perfect place to gaze at Mount Rainier. You’re far enough from the massive mountain to get a sense of its incredible height and bulk, but close enough to pick out such details as icefalls and crevasses on its glaciers. The trip to the old fire lookout atop High Rock is short and sweet.
Ashford, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 3.6
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In the North Cascades, wilderness is usually rugged, choked with brush, and hard to travel through. Horseshoe Basin in the Pasayten Wilderness is the opposite. The expansive, rolling alpine tundra is easy to explore. Horseshoe Basin is a beautiful base camp for days of hiking over golden hills and mountains, to chilly lakes, and through groves of pines and larches. In fact, you almost need to stay a night or two to experience the quiet wilderness surrounding the basin.
Tonasket, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 12.4
This low-elevation loop right outside Spokane leads through a pleasant forest to tall granite cliffs and views over the rolling green Palouse country. The granite cliffs will surprise you by appearing as you round a bend on the trail. From the top of a rocky ridge, you’ll descend among grass and flowers back toward the Spokane Valley.
Spokane, WA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.0
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Lake after lake is sprinkled throughout the high plateau that makes up the Indian Heaven Wilderness. Trails lead around the lakes through meadows and tall open forests. In season, the scent of sweet, juicy berries wafts through it all. Hike to as many lakes as you can stand, and snack on berries in between—it’s hiker heaven.
Trout Lake, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 6.9
Unfortunately for hikers, motorcycles are allowed on many of the trails in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Some of these mixed-use trails lead to beautiful destinations like Juniper Ridge. If motorcycles don’t deter you, try this seldom-used hike to a grassy ridge with Mounts Adams, Rainier, and St. Helens all on the horizon. Smart hikers know they can find crowd-free roaming where motorcycles are allowed.
Randle, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 6.0
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The Pine Ridge Trail makes a quick loop up and down one of the Palouse region’s rare mountains. The 2.5-mile trip starts in a dense forest, where the trail begins to switchback up a steep hillside to the top of a ridge. From the ridge, the wrinkles and folds and patches of wheat and lentils of the Palouse stretch in all directions. Photographers flock to the Palouse to capture its wide-open beauty, and Kamiak Butte is a unique vantage point.
Palouse, WA - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 2.5
This hike passes through some of the most beautiful mountain terrain in the easily accessible Snoqualmie Pass area. It’s all on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which sticks to the high country and crosses incredibly steep slopes in places. One such slope is the 70-degree rock slab that the Kendall Katwalk crosses. To make a safe path across this slab, trail builders used dynamite to blast away a long rock shelf.
North Bend, WA - Backpacking,Birding,Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 12.0
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