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The Beautiful North Cascades

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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.

Lake Chelan National Recreation Area

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Spokane, WA: Scratch your itch for alpine splendor.

Trail Mix: West

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Perfect days; Bring Your Skis, and finding solitude in Mt. Hood National Forest.

Trail Mix: West

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Backcountry swimming in Oregon, alpine lakes in John Muir Wilderness, and more.

Destinations: Top 3 West

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One Night Wonders: Mileage Monsters, Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass

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Gobble the PCT's tastiest morsel.

From the Field: BACKPACKER Trail Scouts' Top Western Local Hikes

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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.

The High Life: Hidden Lake Peak Fire Lookout, WA

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Claim an eagle's roost above Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Killer Trips: Terrain

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Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.

Killer Trips: Gravity

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Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.

Easy Epics: 17 Drive-up Campsites a Backpacker Will Love

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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.

Rip & Go: Heather & Maple Pass Loop, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, WA

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Orbit an alpine lake on the edge of North Cascades National Park.

Mountain Map: Coast Range - Olympic Mountains

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Explore peaks and forests in this coastal range.

Burn After Reading

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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.

Local Hikes

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Jump-start your hiking season on these spring-ready trips from around the country.

America's Best Campsites

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Park your tent in one of these 10 spots, and you'll be happy in the morning. Guaranteed.

Mt. Rainier Adventure Guide (2012 National Parks Series: Part 1 of 6)

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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.

Best Day: Mt. Rainier, Camp Muir (Summer Route)

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Trek to a lofty, iconic basecamp on Rainier's snowy slopes.

Best Weekend: Northern Loop Trail

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See scores of wildflowers, waterfalls, and peaks.

Best Week: Wonderland Trail

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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.

The Changing Mountain

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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).

America's Newest Long Trail

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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.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Paddle Pristine Shorelines

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Sea kayaking unlocks a new world of solitude and scenery.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Climb to Heart-Pumping Heights

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Scramble a class 3 route and claim your own private peak.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook

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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.

Readers' Choice 2012: Top 3 - West Hikes

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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.

Rip & Go: Trapper Creek Wilderness Loop - Gifford Pinchot National Forest, WA

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Climb through towering evergreens to in-your-face Cascade views.

America's Best Backcountry Ski Tours

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Upgrade your winter fun at these 8 beginner-friendly, expert-ready spots.

Online Exclusive: Readers' Choice 2012: Eli Boschetto's Five Favorite Hikes in the West

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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.

A Piece of Quiet

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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.

Backyard Everests: Mt. Stuart

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Scramble a sneak route to Rainier-worthy views-of Rainier and much more.

National Parks: Olympic

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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.

Rainier's Reigning Champ

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George Dunn, co-owner of International Mountain Guides, recalls personal adventures and gives tips about climbing Mount Rainier.

Going to Extremes

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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.

The High Life: Hiking Utah's Highline Trail

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Watch your step on Utah' Highline Trail. The nonstop views and rampant wildlife are distractingly spectacular. Plus: Gaze away on 9 more elevated hikes.

Local Hikes: West

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Hike these long trails in Washington, Oregon, and California, and climb to a 10,064-foot peak in Angeles National Forest.

National Parks: North Cascades

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Come for the sheer, glaciated peaks, but be mesmerized by rain-fed waterfalls that pour down on all sides.

National Park Slideshows

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See scores of stunning images from the Grand Canyon, Denali, Yosemite, and more.

Right Place, Perfect Time

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See Yosemite's river of ice, witness there-and-gone meteor showers in Hawaii, and mark your calendar for eight more fleeting natural wonders.

America's Best-Kept Secrets

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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.

Get Higher: Best Firetower Hikes

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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.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Olympic's Spring Waterfalls

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Hike through a wild water park in Enchanted Valley.

America's Best-Kept Secrets: Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, WA

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Local Hikes: West

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See California dunes, Nevada red-rock canyons, Alaska's deep forest, quiet Oregon Coast, and Washington's Cascade lakes.

Rip & Go: Goldmyer Hot Springs - Snoqualmie NF, WA

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Track beneath waterfalls and icicle-hung trees to a soothing soak.

Trip Finder: Northwest

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Your favorite Northwest hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Rip & Go: Enchantment Lakes Basin - Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA

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Discover a hidden basin filled with wildlife, lakes, and granite peaks.

Readers' Choice: Northwest

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The undisputed local experts—you—choose the top parks, trails, campsites, and weekend getaways in the Northwest.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide: Best Winter Trips

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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.

Best Hikes Ever: Olympic Traverse, WA

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Go from rainforest to glaciers.

Best Hikes Ever: Wonderland Trail, WA

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Circumnavigate the West's most majestic mountain.

Best. Hikes. Ever.

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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.

50-Mile Thru-Hikes: The Press Traverse, WA

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Cross the Olympic Range on a forgotten explorers' path.

Local Hikes: Spokane, WA

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The best hikes near Spokane.

Seattle Hikes

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The best hikes near Seattle, WA.

Local Hikes: Northwest

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The best hikes in Northwest, as suggested by the best local hiking clubs.

Print & Go: Ape Canyon, Mt. St. Helens National Monument

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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.

Print & Go Weekend Trip Planners

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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.

New Life List: Bag a Remote Peak

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Stand alone atop Washington's Glacier Peak--a summit that others rarely see, let alone climb.

New Life List: Traverse a Mountain Range

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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.

Rip & Go: Hoh River to Third Beach Olympic National Park, WA

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Cross a rugged coastline on the edge of Washington's Hoh Rainforest.

Secret Hikes: North Cascades National Park

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Dive into the heart of the Lower 48's wildest park.

Secret Hikes: Olympic National Park Hiking

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Walk from lush rainforest to wide-open glacier views on this 43-mile sneak route.

Secret Hikes of the National Parks

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The perfect dozen: Embark on one of these 12 treks, and turn America's most iconic preserves into your own private paradise.

Natural Wonders: World's Tallest Geyser, North America's Smallest Bird and Best Shade Tree

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Discover the world's tallest geyser, North America's smallest bird, and the country's best shade tree on these three treks.

Local Hikes: New Hikes Near You

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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.

Local Hikes: Northwest

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See five volcanoes, camp at secluded lakes, and hike through a swarm of butterflies. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)

Zones: Forests

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Hike amongst the trees in these Washington, California, and Vermont hikes.

My Island, My Map: Creating a Custom Map of Bainbridge Island

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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.

Forest: Hoh River Trail, WA

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This Olympic National Park trail features serious elevation gain and switchbacks galore.

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes

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Like your life and limbs intact? Then you'd better get skilled before visiting these trails.

The Best Cities To Raise An Outdoor Kid

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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.

Print & Go Weekend Trip Planners

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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.

Northwest Readers' Choice Trips

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Crashing waterfalls, hidden lakes, and a choice Denali view highlight the 2010 Northwest Readers' Choice hikes.

Readers' Choice Northwest: Golden Larches - Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA

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See this deciduous pine turn electric-yellow.

Readers' Choice Northwest: Wahtum Lake, OR

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Find primo lakeside camping on a rainforest-to-alpine loop.

Readers' Choice Northwest: Lost River Range, ID

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Want guaranteed peace and quiet? Hike to two of the Lower 48's most remote alpine lakes.

Readers' Choice Northwest: South Spur, Mt. Adams, WA

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Climb the Northwest's tallest nontechnical volcano.

Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier National Park

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This classic alpine loop belongs on every backpacker's tick list.

Readers' Choice Northwest: Hannegan Peak and Copper Ridge - North Cascades NP, WA

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Enjoy unparalleled views from one of the country's finest skyline trails.

Insider's Guide to Peaks

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Think you know all there is to know about these famous peaks? Get an insider's guide right here.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Coastal Hike

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Swap summits for sand scrambling along nearly 18 miles of quiet coastal terrain.

Quick Escapes: 10 Trails Near Major Cities

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The perfect metro-area trail: close, wild, uncrowded. Here are 10 major city options.

Natural Wonders: Freaky Bats, Dry Falls, Winter Witch Hazel

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Washington, Arkansas, and Georgia are host to these three life-list phenomena treks.

Your Daily Tread: Local Hikes Across the U.S.

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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.

Free Maps! Our Contributors Favorite Local Hikes

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Online or via your cellphone these trips are ready to be downloaded and explored.

Rip & Go: Loowit Trail - Mt. St. Helens National Monument, WA

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Tackle a challenging, rocky route in the shadow of America's most famous volcano.

The Peak: Mt. Rainier

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From the best guiding service to ultimate summit routes, Washington's highest peak is still the greatest.

Jonathan Dorn's Photo Slideshows

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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.

Vote on America's Best Trail

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For our 2010 Readers' Choice issue we want to know your favorite trail in America.

Rip & Go: Spider Glacier - Glacier Peak Wilderness, WA

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Stroll through wildflower-filled meadows to a frozen slice of the Cascade Range.

Where Solitude Rules

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Sharing is for kindergarten. Take one of these 30 hikes and you can have the wilderness all to yourself.

Weekend Planner: Quick Escapes

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Get big views and rack up long miles with these close-to-home adventures.

Where Solitude Rules - Surprise Escapes

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Find real solitude amid the crowds at these secret stashes.

Top 3 Glow-in-the-Dark Trips

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See glowing plankton, mushrooms, and bugs on these brilliant adventures.

Top Cities to Raise A...

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Does your kid want to be an ice climber? How about a thru-hiker, or paddler? These cities have just what you need.

The Best Cities to Raise an Outdoor Kid: The Winning 25

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From Boulder to Juneau to Bozeman, see which cities made the cut for the best place to raise an outdoor kid, and why.

Swimming Hole Hikes

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Time to cool down. Hike to these refreshing swimming holes and settle right into summer.

Adventure Weekends: Luxury Hiking and Camping

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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.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Loop

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Don't go up, go around. Rainier's Wonderland Trail loop offers the marathon hiker two weeks of backpacking bliss.

Weekend Snow Climbs in the Pacific Northwest, Rockies, and Northeast

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Pack snowshoes for these nine epic treks to snowy solitude in the Pacific Northwest, Rockies, and Northeast.

Mount Rainier: Thunder on the Mountain

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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.

Bushwhackers Wanted: Portland's Forest Park to the Pacific Ocean

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Be the first to thru-hike an exploratory route from Portland to the Pacific.

Where Solitude Rules - More Tips and Tricks

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Alternative routes, where to find solitude in the Lower 48, and avoiding the crowds in America's most crowded park

Hikes and Trips in US Cities

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Use our comprehensive city-specific pages to find hikes near your hometown or in a city you're planning to visit.

Party Peaks

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Ten perfect summits for your next group hike

Top 3 Winter Hut Treks

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Trek into the wilderness but sleep in comfort with these hut treks

Mt. Adams: Solitude On Ice

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Test your self-arrest skills on Mt. Adams's 12,276-foot fractured glacier.

Top 3 Fire Tower Hikes

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Want a backcountry room with a view? Climb these lookouts from Vermont to Washington.

Lost in the Olympics

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A gym teacher's speed hike becomes a five-day bushwhack in Olympic National Park.

Washington Paddling: Operation Orca

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See one of the sea's keenest hunters as you paddle San Juan Island.

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Muir Snowfield, Mt. Rainier, WA

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Where winter strikes year-round

Trip Finder: Ridgewalks

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From the West Coast to the Rocky Mountains to New England, we've got nine epic ridgewalks just for you.

Nuclear-Free Hiking

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How Cold War weapons sites are becoming America's most unusual new preserves.

Trip Finder: Wildflowers

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Trek the best spring blooms from the Ozarks to the Olympics with these two, three, and four day treks.

Best Damn Weekend Ever: Washington's Kaleetan Lake Loop

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Only an hour from Seattle, this Cascades gem offers killer Rainier views.

Hike It: 4 Big Trips Made Easy

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Ready to dial up the adventure meter? Try out your digital skills–and go places most people can't–on these life-list journeys.

Should Mount St. Helens become a national park?

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New legislation could make the volcanic monument a national park. But is that a good thing?

Big Trips Made Easy: Glacier Peak Wilderness, WA

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Exploring a high, wild corner of the North Cascades

Big Trips Made Easy: Allagash Wilderness Waterway, ME

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Floating a liquid maze in the Northeast's lake-riddled forests

Big Trips Made Easy: High Sierra, CA

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Rambling a granite redoubt

Big Trips Made Easy: Hayduke Trail, UT

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Finding total Southwest solitude

Life List: Backpack Olympic National Park

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Add Olympic National Park to your to-do list.

Find the Tallest Waterfall in the U.S.

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Head to Hawaii for three of the tallest

Adventure Guide: Glacier Peak Wilderness

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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.

Weekend Adventures: Big Tree Hikes

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Get ready to feel puny--and profoundly grateful--on three hikes through ancient forests.

Paddling's Greatest Getaways

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16 wild ways to find backcountry solitude and big-time scenery. All this, and you can bring the ice chest, too.

PERFECT DAY: Olympic National Park

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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.


Ultimate Summer Escapes: The Best Dayhikes and Backpacking Trips Near You

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Coming soon to your city: far-out adventures that are shockingly close to home.

Footwear Review: Gear for Rainier

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Stop dreaming, start planning with our top tips and picks for boots and gaiters

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being Scott Williamson

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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.

Hike, Paddle, and Fish in Seattle

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Appreciate Seattle's fresh and saltwater beaches, plentiful forests, and the 27-mile urban path as much as locals after a long, wet winter.

America's Hardest Dayhikes

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Push yourself on any of these challenging hikes

Top 3 Waterfall Hikes

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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.

High Points: Mt. Rainier, Washington

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Get to the top and you'll hear a joyous echo

Winter Camping at Mount Rainier National Park

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Snowshoe to a scenic high balcony

Hike to Copper Mountain Fire Lookout in the North Cascades

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Take a stunning ridge walk in this glacier-clad wilderness park

Washington: Grand Valley, Olympic National Park

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On this trip you'll find everything from alpine meadows to ancient rainforests

Cascade Pass, North Cascades National Park

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The Cascade scenery on this hike can only be compared to those of the Alps.

Spray Park, Mt. Rainier National Park

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You'll never get a bad view of Rainier's glacier-clad slopes.

Best Waterfall Hikes

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Learn the weird science behind our addiction to waterfalls, and the location of the best trails in North America.

Hike Through Washington's Blue Mountains

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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.

Wander Along The Wild Olympic Coast

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A trip along Washington's Olympic Coast is one whale of a day at the beach.

Walk Through The Pacific Crest Trail's Alpine Wonderland

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Follow the Pacific Crest Trail through Washington's volcano country and discover the high life.

Best Backpacking In Washington

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Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Washington.

Loomis State Forest: Hike Washington's Cascade Secret

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Hike to the edge of the Cascade Range in this forgotten corner of the Washington wilderness.

Hiking Washington's Elwha Trail Rainforest

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Washington's Elwha Trail is a rain-forest classic: green, primeval, spongy soft, and wonderfully wet.

Hiking The Pacific Crest Trail

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Everything you'd want in a long trail.

Washington's Olympic Coast

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It's the longest stretch of virgin coastline left in the Lower 48. But that's just one of many reasons to hike it.

Washington's Wonderland Trail

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Mind-bending views, close-up wildlife encounters.

Giving Thanks At Washington's Jackson Wilderness

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The best way to honor a wilderness-minded senator is to hike the Jackson Wilderness.

Hiking Washington's Kettle River Mountains

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Washington's gentle "forgotten mountains" -- The Kettle River Range -- are ignored by those in a hurry to reach the Cascades.

Washington's World Of The Larch

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As autumn closes in on the larches, the green bleeds out of their needles, leaving a towering spire of gold.

Climbing: A Higher Calling

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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?"

Boulder River Wilderness, Washington

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Majestic peaks rise in all directions in Washington's Boulder River Wilderness -- elegant, jagged, draped in snow.

Olympic National Park, Washington

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Olympic National Park is pristine and isolated -- rare commodities these days.

Glacier Peak Wilderness

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Tundra hiking in the shadow of Washington's ice-cloaked behemoth.

Twin Lakes Trail, Washington

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Explore Washington's storied old-growth forests plus an authentic ghost town.

Snowshoe Camping, Northwest-Style

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When temps warm but the going's still snowy, strap on snowshoes to reach Washington's hidden camping gems.

Washington's Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness

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You'll find North Cascades beauty minus the rain in Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness.

Washington's Supreme William O. Douglas Wilderness

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The William O. Douglas Wilderness is a monument worthy of a great man.

Olympic National Park's Grand Valley Loop

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The best way to see all Olympic has to offer is on the grand Valley Loop.

Washington's North Cascade's Copper Ridge Loop

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Hike this crown of North Cascades National Park, Washington.

Mt. St. Helens: The Cataclysm and Beyond

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A trek through the blast zone of a restless volcano raises questions about a father's legacy and a child's future.

Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness

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A hidden spot in Washington's popular Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Washington's Juniper Dunes: Not So High, But Dry

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In a region known for soggy times, Juniper Dunes is a warm sandbox where you can dry out.

Short Hikes On The Pacific Northwest Trail

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Only have a short time to tackle the Pacific Northwest Trail? Our guide will give you the best the PNT has to offer.

Hike All Year

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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.

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