SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – February 2000

Hike All Year

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.

by: Dan Nelson and Dennis Lewon


Seattle/ Portland Area

Chemists know water exists in three natural states: solid, liquid, and gas. Hikers would add two other watery states to the list: Washington and Oregon. Here, virtually every trip is a textbook lesson in the many forms of water: rain in spring, trail-clogging snow from October to June, and cloudy weather just about all year-round.

Obstacle: Persistent rain

Solution: The Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness in eastern Washington is about as far from the soggy Cascades as you can get, in terms of both mileage and environmental conditions. This wilderness, which straddles the Washington-Oregon line near Walla Walla, receives less than 30 inches of precipitation each year-a thimbleful by Northwest standards, which means relatively rain-free hiking from late spring through early winter.

Try the Slick Ear Trail that descends through dry ponderosa pine and tamarack forests to the trout-rich Wenaha River. At river's edge, the Slick Ear intercepts the Wenaha River Trail, then rolls along the river for 15 miles through the heart of the wilderness to Troy, Oregon. Arrange for a pickup there or return the way you came. For a change of scenery, return via the Grizzly Bear Trail as it climbs steep, rimrock-lined grass slopes to the pine forests on the valley rim. You'll face a 4-mile hike on a dirt road back to Slick Ear trailhead.

Directions: The Slick Ear and Grizzly Bear trailheads are about 35 miles south of Dayton, Washington, off US 12.

Maps: USGS 7.5-minute quads Godman Springs and Oregon Butte in Washington and Wenaha Forks, Elbow Creek, and Eden in Oregon.

Contact: Umatilla National Forest, 2517 S.W. Haley Ave., Pendelton, OR 97801; (541) 278-3716.

Obstacle: High country snow

Solution: The best way to deal with late-melting snow: Head west until the water tastes of salt. The Pacific Ocean keeps conditions temperate along the coast, and for lovers of all things wild, there's no better place than Olympic National Park. Here, you'll find the longest section of undeveloped wilderness beach in the Lower 48 and not a flake in sight.

A good trip is the trek from 3rd Beach to Oil City, which covers 17 miles of rugged coast. The route rambles along sand and pebble beaches, over jagged rocky headlands, and occasionally through lush rain forests. Scan the waves for seals, otters, sea lions, and whales. Peer into the tidepools and you'll see a variety of aquatic life. Watch the forests above the beaches for deer, red fox, and black bear, which often come down to fish in the tide pools. Hiking requires waterproof boots and an accurate tide table.

Directions: The 3rd Beach trailhead is just south of the Quillayute River, off WA 110, about 14 miles west of Forks, Washington.

Maps: Custom Correct map South Olympic Coast or USGS 7.5-minute quads Hoh Head, Toleak Point, Quillayute Prairie, and La Push.

Contact: Olympic National Park, Wilderness Information Center, 3002 Mt. Angeles Rd., Port Angeles, WA 98362; (360) 452-0300.

-Dan Nelson




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Gear
Ruined jacket in dryer
Posted On: Sep 01, 2014
Submitted By: SWest
Trailhead Register
Stick is fine
Posted On: Sep 01, 2014
Submitted By: eyebp
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions