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Backpacker Magazine – May 2009

America's Best Day Hikes: West

Tick off these life list hikes in Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska.

by: Nancy Prichard Bouchard

Tunnel Falls, Eagle Creek Trails (Eli Boschetto)
Tunnel Falls, Eagle Creek Trails (Eli Boschetto)
Tall Trees Grove (David H. Collier)
Tall Trees Grove (David H. Collier)




Waihee Ridge, HI
Drop into a jungle thick with tropical blooms and waterfall views on this moderate five-mile round-trip ridgewalk on Maui (rise early for cloud-free valley vistas). Info

Sandstone Peak, CA
Bag the Santa Monica Mountains' 3,111-foot-high point on a three-miler to sweeping views of five coastal islands. Info (805) 370-2301

Otter Falls, WA
Hike 3.5 miles through cedars to this two-tier cascade–which drops first 1,000 and then 700 feet over sheer granite. Info (425) 783-6000

Hobbit Trail, OR
Tunnel through lush vines, ferns, and rhododendron blooms on this four-mile loop to a secluded Pacific cove. Info (541) 547-3416

Palm Canyon, CA
Hike to a fan-palm oasis, complete with a waterfall and cool grotto, on this three-miler in Anza-Borrego. Bonus: Look for desert bighorn sheep. Info (760) 767-5311

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Reader Rating: Star Star Star Star Star


Gary Karpowitz
Oct 07, 2011

Just finished a classic 55 mile loop in Yosemite. Highlighting the end was climbing Half Dome. Worth every step, epic views. Two clues, go early to beat the crowd and bring some gloves with a grip for the cables. Don't miss it.

Steve Cash
Feb 22, 2011

Is there any hike in the Pacific Northwest that makes for a 'less than a great day' hike? I can't think of any. That's like saying, which page of your favorite novel would you not read. They are all different and they all build on each other to make the story.

M. D. Vaden of Oregon
Dec 09, 2009

The Tall Trees Grove may not be a steep trail, but it is partially vigorous on the return. Probably takes two and a half times longer coming up than going down. The maples are incredibly nice too. That was one of my last hikes in November 2009.

M. D. Vaden of Oregon


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