LOCAL EXPERT: Eli Boschetto, Portland, OR
“My coolest hiking achievement: completing a 130-mile section of the John Muir Trail—from Happy Isles to Muir Trail Ranch."
1. Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA: Enchantment Lakes
Located in the 'Yosemite of the Northwest,' this popular trail climbs past forested lakes to the Enchantment Basin, an alpine wonderland of pocket meadows, gurgling creeks, crystalline lakes, and glacier-carved granite ridges and spires.
2. Goat Rocks Wilderness, WA: Snowgrass Flat
"A delightful two-day loop hike that climbs a ridge between two glacial valleys, skirts an ice-crusted lake, offers spectacular views of Mt. Rainier and other nearby Cascades volcanoes, and boasts one of the best wildflower displays in the Northwest."
3. Columbia River Gorge, OR: Eagle Creek
"Arguably the best dayhike in the Columbia River Gorge, this trail showcases a series of unique waterfalls, including iconic Punch Bowl Falls, while clinging to the sheer cliffs of a deep, narrow canyon. There's even an option for a longer backpacking loop."
4. Strawberry Wilderness, OR: Strawberry Lakes
"A pleasant hike to two lake basins and a cascading waterfall in Eastern Oregon's alpine Rockies. There's also an option to tag 9,038-foot Strawberry Mountain with views of the John Day Valley and the distant Blue Mountains."
5. John Muir Trail, CA: Yosemite National Park to Reds Meadow
"This weeklong backpack features some of Yosemite's best high country—Sunrise and Cathedral Lakes, Tuolumne Meadows and Lyell Canyon—plus a romp through the spectacular alpine lakes country of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. It's an unforgettable experience!"