Talk about a dream job: Photographer Ethan Welty roved secluded valleys and isolated mountaintops as an artist-in-residence at Washington's North Cascades National Park last summer. That was just the capstone on eight years he's spent photographing the area. Here are a few of his favorite spots.
Spokane, WA: Scratch your itch for alpine splendor.
Washington, DC: Bask in big views as you undulate through remote hollows.
Perfect days; Bring Your Skis, and finding solitude in Mt. Hood National Forest.
Backcountry swimming in Oregon, alpine lakes in John Muir Wilderness, and more.
Gobble the PCT's tastiest morsel.
Tick of Washington's alpine gems the fast-and-light way.
Claim an eagle's roost above Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Whether you want an uncrowded hike in Zion National Park or a five-miler through a gypsum dune field in New Mexico, our scouts have paved the way.
Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.
Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.
Orbit an alpine lake on the edge of North Cascades National Park.
Combine the best of car camping (spacious tents, comfy chairs, frosty margaritas!) and the best of backpacking (deep solitude, outrageous scenery, swimming holes!) with these 17 accessible hideaways.
Explore peaks and forests in this coastal range.
The following is adapted from Northwest editor Michael Lanzas new book, Before Theyre Gone: A Familys Year-Long Quest to Explore Americas Most Endangered National Parks ($24.95, beacon.org, TheBigOutside.com).
Empty White Mountain summits. Tourist-free Yellowstone geysers. Rarely hiked Yosemite ridges. Rangers, guidebook writers, outfitters, and ultra-hikers dish their favorite routes for the first time.
Jump-start your hiking season on these spring-ready trips from around the country.
Trek to a lofty, iconic basecamp on Rainier's snowy slopes.
See scores of wildflowers, waterfalls, and peaks.
Explore Mt. Rainier from nearly every angle on this hike from Fryingpan Creek to Mowich Lake. The classic route tags the subalpine meadows of Summerland, crests 5,000-foot Cowlitz Divide, and links dozens of crystalline lakes and waterfalls.
We mapped nearly 300 miles of trail to bring you the only resource you'll need to jump-start your adventures in this premier park.
Park your tent in one of these 10 spots, and you'll be happy in the morning. Guaranteed.
Don't have time to hike all 1,200 miles of the Pacific Northwest Trail? No worries: Our scout pinpointed the finest two-week stretch.
Sea kayaking unlocks a new world of solitude and scenery.
Scramble a class 3 route and claim your own private peak.
Tired of the same old weekend loops? Looking to create memories your grandkids will talk about? In this how-and-where guide, we serve up 15 extraordinary escapes that will shatter your expectations of "normal." From adventure moviemaking to canyoneering, we'll take you places you've never been—but will long to visit again soon.
Upgrade your winter fun at these 8 beginner-friendly, expert-ready spots.
Five more must-do hikes from our top field correspondent, who's notched more than 1,800 trail miles throughout the West and mapped 116 trips.
The region's best picks from our top field correspondent, who's notched more than 1,800 trail miles throughout the West and mapped 116 trips.
Climb through towering evergreens to in-your-face Cascade views.
America’s leading advocate of wilderness silence shows the way to Mt. Rainier National Park’s quietest corner. Plus: 9 more campsites with life-list listening.
Scramble a sneak route to Rainier-worthy views-of Rainier and much more.
Stand atop The Mountain State's most famous peak.
On a climb from the Hoh River's silty riffles to high-country glacier views, pass through a moss-hung rainforest that might be the lushest place in America.
George Dunn, co-owner of International Mountain Guides, recalls personal adventures and gives tips about climbing Mount Rainier.
Can you ever really have too much of a good thing? Once you've seen the biggest tree, largest glacier, and deepest canyon, nothing else compares.
Watch your step on Utah' Highline Trail. The nonstop views and rampant wildlife are distractingly spectacular. Plus: Gaze away on 9 more elevated hikes.
Hike these long trails in Washington, Oregon, and California, and climb to a 10,064-foot peak in Angeles National Forest.
Come for the sheer, glaciated peaks, but be mesmerized by rain-fed waterfalls that pour down on all sides.
See scores of stunning images from the Grand Canyon, Denali, Yosemite, and more.
For sheltered scenery high above the trees, there's no better place than a fire tower. Try one of these editor-approved hikes to backcountry rooms with a view.
See Yosemite's river of ice, witness there-and-gone meteor showers in Hawaii, and mark your calendar for eight more fleeting natural wonders.
Hike through a wild water park in Enchanted Valley.
The only thing better than enjoying the life-list scenery in the country's premier national parks? Getting that same scenery, minus the crowds. Find it in these 10 backcountry hotspots, along with no-hassle permits, choice campsites aplenty, and solitude to match the world-class terrain.
See California dunes, Nevada red-rock canyons, Alaska's deep forest, quiet Oregon Coast, and Washington's Cascade lakes.
Track beneath waterfalls and icicle-hung trees to a soothing soak.
Mt. Rainier's snowy, 14,411-foot crown rises less than 20 miles southwest of this 3-day, 23.3-mile lasso loop--
and you'll get
picture-perfect views of it at miles 9.8 and 10.4. Hike south along the Greenwater River before starting a 17.2-mile counterclockwise
circuit that connects Lost, George, and Echo Lakes with ridgelines overlooking Rainier's glaciated slopes.
Free Print & Go PDFs give you turn-by-turn trail instructions and photos embedded on a usable topo map. Also: gear checklists, driving directions, and geo-references for finding the nearest campground, restaurant, gas station, and grocery store.
Your favorite Northwest hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.
Discover a hidden basin filled with wildlife, lakes, and granite peaks.
The undisputed local experts—you—choose the top parks, trails, campsites, and weekend getaways in the Northwest.
We traveled to Fjordland and discovered that nothing compares to skiing glacier-clad mountains above deep-water fjords. Plus: 20 winter adventures, from California to New York.
Go from rainforest to glaciers.
Circumnavigate the West's most majestic mountain.
Hike through waterfall spray to a rarely summited grassy bald.
We've covered 245,591 miles of trails in our 37-year history. Here are our 20 all-time favorite trips, plus—shocking!—20 routes we never covered.
Cross the Olympic Range on a forgotten explorers' path.
The best hikes near Spokane.
The best hikes near Washington, DC.
The best hikes near Seattle, WA.
The best hikes in Northwest, as suggested by the best local hiking clubs.
Traverse the eastern flanks of the most active volcano in the Cascades on this 11.3-mile (round-trip) dayhike in Mt. St. Helens
National Volcanic Monument. You'll encounter tufts of vibrant wildflowers and postcard views of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams.
Free Print & Go PDFs give you turn-by-turn trail instructions and photos embedded on a usable topo map. Also: Gear checklists, driving directions, and geo-references for finding the nearest campground, restaurant, gas station, and grocery store.
Stand alone atop Washington's Glacier Peak--a summit that others rarely see, let alone climb.
Walking a high ridge with countless views and no people is the stuff of dreams. Make it real in Olympic National Park's Bailey Range.
Cross a rugged coastline on the edge of Washington's Hoh Rainforest.
Dive into the heart of the Lower 48's wildest park.
Walk from lush rainforest to wide-open glacier views on this 43-mile sneak route.
The perfect dozen: Embark on one of these 12 treks, and turn America's most iconic preserves into your own private paradise.
Discover the world's tallest geyser, North America's smallest bird, and the country's best shade tree on these three treks.
Our army of reader-reader scouts mapped 59 local hikes from South Carolina to Northern California. See their favorites, then learn how to download tracklogs and waypoints.
See five volcanoes, camp at secluded lakes, and hike through a swarm of butterflies. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)
Hike amongst the trees in these Washington, California, and Vermont hikes.
If you think you missed the age of exploration and discovery, you haven't tried the latest mapping tools. Join our tech scout as he learns how to hike like a cartographer--and sees the wilderness in an entirely new way.
This Olympic National Park trail features serious elevation gain and switchbacks galore.
Crashing waterfalls, hidden lakes, and a choice Denali view highlight the 2010 Northwest Readers' Choice hikes.
See this deciduous pine turn electric-yellow.
Find primo lakeside camping on a rainforest-to-alpine loop.
Want guaranteed peace and quiet? Hike to two of the Lower 48's most remote alpine lakes.
Climb the Northwest's tallest nontechnical volcano.
This classic alpine loop belongs on every backpacker's tick list.
Enjoy unparalleled views from one of the country's finest skyline trails.
Think you know all there is to know about these famous peaks? Get an insider's guide right here.
Don't go up, go around. Rainier's Wonderland Trail loop offers the marathon hiker two weeks of backpacking bliss.
Swap summits for sand scrambling along nearly 18 miles of quiet coastal terrain.
Be the first to thru-hike an exploratory route from Portland to the Pacific.
What's better than hiking every weekend? Hiking every day. Here are the best big-city escapes from New York to Los Angeles. Plus: Bill Donahue explores the remote reaches of Portland's Forest Park and discovers secrets even locals don't know.
Online or via your cellphone these trips are ready to be downloaded and explored.
The perfect metro-area trail: close, wild, uncrowded. Here are 10 major city options.
Tackle a challenging, rocky route in the shadow of America's most famous volcano.
Washington, Arkansas, and Georgia are host to these three life-list phenomena treks.
For our 2010 Readers' Choice issue we want to know your favorite trail in America.
Our editor in chief digs through his years of trips, trails, and tales to share some of his adventures in the wild, from the Grand Canyon to Mount Rainier.
Sharing is for kindergarten. Take one of these 30 hikes and you can have the wilderness all to yourself.
Alternative routes, where to find solitude in the Lower 48, and avoiding the crowds in America's most crowded park
Find real solitude amid the crowds at these secret stashes.
Stroll through wildflower-filled meadows to a frozen slice of the Cascade Range.
From the best guiding service to ultimate summit routes, Washington's highest peak is still the greatest.
Ten perfect summits for your next group hike
Get big views and rack up long miles with these close-to-home adventures.
Does your kid want to be an ice climber? How about a thru-hiker, or paddler? These cities have just what you need.
Which towns offer the ideal mix of accessible trails, inspiring teachers, and great recreational resources? We worked with The Outdoor Foundation to identify America's top 25 places to beat nature deficit disorder.
From Boulder to Juneau to Bozeman, see which cities made the cut for the best place to raise an outdoor kid, and why.
Time to cool down. Hike to these refreshing swimming holes and settle right into summer.
See glowing plankton, mushrooms, and bugs on these brilliant adventures.
Take your pick of mountains, rainforests, deserts, or the ocean–or experience all four zones in a single day–one advantage of living the outdoor dream along the west coast of America.
Use our comprehensive city-specific pages to find hikes near your hometown or in a city you're planning to visit.
Two years after hurricane-force winds and rain ravaged hundreds of miles of trail in Mt. Rainier National Park, the true damage is finally becoming clear. And what it's telling scientists is alarming: Bigger, more frequent–and more destructive–storms
may be coming.
Pack snowshoes for these nine epic treks to snowy solitude in the Pacific Northwest, Rockies, and Northeast.
Like your life and limbs intact? Then you'd better get skilled before visiting these trails.
Where winter strikes year-round
A gym teacher's speed hike becomes a five-day bushwhack in Olympic National Park.
Test your self-arrest skills on Mt. Adams's 12,276-foot fractured glacier.
See one of the sea's keenest hunters as you paddle San Juan Island.
We've got a selection of cozy shelters and trail-side restaurants from Washington to Maine. Check out these hikes in the Rockies, the Northeast, and the Northwest.
Want a backcountry room with a view? Climb these lookouts from Vermont to Washington.
From the West Coast to the Rocky Mountains to New England, we've got nine epic ridgewalks just for you.
Finding total Southwest solitude
Exploring a high, wild corner of the North Cascades
Floating a liquid maze in the Northeast's lake-riddled forests
Rambling a granite redoubt
Ready to dial up the adventure meter? Try out your digital skills–and go places most people can't–on these life-list journeys.
New legislation could make the volcanic monument a national park. But is that a good thing?
How Cold War weapons sites are becoming America's most unusual new preserves.
Only an hour from Seattle, this Cascades gem offers killer Rainier views.
Trek the best spring blooms from the Ozarks to the Olympics with these two, three, and four day treks.
There's a science to why we love waterfalls: When water crashes earthward, it releases negatively charged ions that--you can't make this stuff up--some researchers think can reduce anxiety. Spring is when cascades' spigots open full bore, so head off on these three beguiling treks for a dose of nature's backcountry Rx.
In the Elwha Valley, tidal rivers collide with towering old-growth forests, creating an outsized multisport playground. You'll need a bike, a kayak, and a boatload of stamina to join Sara Gagnon, an area native and co-owner of Adventures Through Kayaking, on this rollicking tour.
Head to Hawaii for three of the tallest
Add Olympic National Park to your to-do list.
Trek into the wilderness but sleep in comfort with these hut treks
Like crowded campsites and easy trails? Then by all means avoid this deafeningly quiet expanse of rugged, wildlife-rich mountains and forest in Washington's North Cascades.
Get ready to feel puny--and profoundly grateful--on three hikes through ancient forests.
16 wild ways to find backcountry solitude and big-time scenery. All this, and you can bring the ice chest, too.
Appreciate Seattle's fresh and saltwater beaches, plentiful forests, and the 27-mile urban path as much as locals after a long, wet winter.
Coming soon to your city: far-out adventures that are shockingly close to home.
To hike from Mexico to Canada and back, a man needs strength and speed and luck. He needs something else, too. If only he knew what it was.
Push yourself on any of these challenging hikes
Stop dreaming, start planning with our top tips and picks for boots and gaiters
Get to the top and you'll hear a joyous echo
Snowshoe to a scenic high balcony
Take a stunning ridge walk in this glacier-clad wilderness park
On this trip you'll find everything from alpine meadows to ancient rainforests
The Cascade scenery on this hike can only be compared to those of the Alps.
You'll never get a bad view of Rainier's glacier-clad slopes.
Learn the weird science behind our addiction to waterfalls, and the location of the best trails in North America.
City life got you down? Head for the quiet hills of southeastern Washington, where the air is clean, the water clear, and bighorn sheep outnumber hikers.
Follow the Pacific Crest Trail through Washington's volcano country and discover the high life.
A trip along Washington's Olympic Coast is one whale of a day at the beach.
Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Washington.
Hike to the edge of the Cascade Range in this forgotten corner of the Washington wilderness.
Washington's Elwha Trail is a rain-forest classic: green, primeval, spongy soft, and wonderfully wet.
In Virginia, a miracle occurs and hikers get some new wilderness, thanks to The Priest.
Mind-bending views, close-up wildlife encounters.
It's the longest stretch of virgin coastline left in the Lower 48. But that's just one of many reasons to hike it.
Everything you'd want in a long trail.
The best way to honor a wilderness-minded senator is to hike the Jackson Wilderness.
Washington's gentle "forgotten mountains" -- The Kettle River Range -- are ignored by those in a hurry to reach the Cascades.
Majestic peaks rise in all directions in Washington's Boulder River Wilderness -- elegant, jagged, draped in snow.
Olympic National Park is pristine and isolated -- rare commodities these days.
Only have a short time to tackle the Pacific Northwest Trail? Our guide will give you the best the PNT has to offer.
In a region known for soggy times, Juniper Dunes is a warm sandbox where you can dry out.
As autumn closes in on the larches, the green bleeds out of their needles, leaving a towering spire of gold.
Okay, so the weather stinks and so does the hiking. Change both by heading down the road to where the sun shines and the trail beckons.
Who needs Everest when you can have these eight summits, all hikeable, all close to home, no sherpas or yaks required.
The William O. Douglas Wilderness is a monument worthy of a great man.
In every backpacker's life, there comes a time when you stare awestruck at a mountain and wonder, "What's it like to climb that sucker?"
The best way to see all Olympic has to offer is on the grand Valley Loop.
Hike this crown of North Cascades National Park, Washington.
A hidden spot in Washington's popular Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
You'll find North Cascades beauty minus the rain in Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness.
Tundra hiking in the shadow of Washington's ice-cloaked behemoth.
The 50-mile-long Massanutten range in Virginia may be D.C.'s top-secret hiking getaway.
When temps warm but the going's still snowy, strap on snowshoes to reach Washington's hidden camping gems.
Explore Washington's storied old-growth forests plus an authentic ghost town.
A trek through the blast zone of a restless volcano raises questions about a father's legacy and a child's future.