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Backpacker Magazine – January 2011

Trip Finder: Northwest

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

by: Jason D.B. Kauffman

Indian paintbrush on the Timberline Trail (Blaine Franger)
Indian paintbrush on the Timberline Trail (Blaine Franger)
Reader Expert Terence Lewis (Courtesy Photo)
Reader Expert Terence Lewis (Courtesy Photo)

WILDLIFE Cascade Pass-Sahale Arm Trail, WA
Head to the southwest corner of North Cascades National Park for a 12.5-miler with high-alpine scenery and wildlife to match—including mountain goats, marmots, pika, and black bears. From Cascade Pass trailhead, gain 1,800 feet in 3.7 miles. Then climb another 1,800 feet to Sahale Glacier Camp at 7,200 feet. Full disclosure: This route is one of the most popular in the park, but totally worth it for the top-of-the-world views. For the best chance at solitude, go in early October.

WATERFALLS Fall Creek-Green Lakes, OR
Pass a succession of waterfalls and wildflower meadows on this wooded, well-maintained, 8.4-mile out-and-back in the Three Sisters Wilderness (Oregon’s second largest). Hike along Fall Creek—almost always within earshot of a waterfall—and then cross creekside meadows riddled with bubbling rivulets before the final climb to your camp at Green Lakes. Views of snow-capped South Sister and Broken Top appear to the north; look south to spot Mt. Bachelor.

Experience both the wet west side and drier east side of the Olympics—and vibrant wildflower displays from late June to early July—on this 10.6-mile hike in Olympic National Forest. Cimb through lush fir and hemlock along the Big Quilcene River to Marmot Pass, then cross the wide-open saddle to the east side, says Lewis. Spend the night at Camp Mystery, a backcountry site located just below the pass, with prime views east toward Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens.

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