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Best Hikes in Pacific Northwest from PNW Concierge at PNW-Concierge.com

Best Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest is renowned for its stunning landscapes and national parks. Some of the best hikes in the Pacific Northwest offer adventurers the chance to immerse themselves in these natural wonders. From lush rainforests to rugged coastlines, and volcanic peaks to serene lakes, the region’s hiking trails cater to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just out for the occasional trek, this corner of the United States promises an unforgettable experience with every step. 

Join us as we explore some of the top Pacific Northwest hikes.

1. Eagle Creek Trail

Nestled in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, Eagle Creek Trail is the perfect hike for outdoor enthusiasts. This moderate trail, extending approximately 13 miles round trip, features several impressive waterfalls, including the famous Punchbowl Falls. 

The path takes you through towering basalt cliffs and dense forests, offering the best views that embody the lush beauty of Oregon’s landscape. For those seeking a shorter hike, the 4-mile trek to Punchbowl Falls still delivers a very rewarding experience.

2. The Wonderland Trail

Encircling Mt. Rainier, this extensive trail covers about 93 miles and offers a more challenging adventure. The Wonderland Trail invites you to a world of alpine meadows, glaciers, and panoramic views of Washington’s iconic peak. This long trail presents an opportunity to explore the majestic landscapes of Mount Rainier National Park up close, with many opting to complete this hike as a backpacking trip over several days. 

Those who embark on this adventure will find that obtaining a permit is essential due to the trail’s popularity and the park’s efforts to preserve its natural beauty and wilderness. With each step along the The Wonderland Trail, hikers are invited to witness the awe-inspiring grandeur of one of Washington’s most iconic natural wonders.

3. South Sister Trail

Conquering the South Sister Trail is a rite of passage for serious hikers in the Pacific Northwest. The climb to the top of Oregon’s third-highest peak is not an easy hike, stretching over 12 miles round trip with 4,900 feet of elevation gain. 

However, the effort is rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding Cascade Range. On clear days or summer months, hikers can even spot Crater Lake on the horizon.

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4. The Enchantments

This alpine wonderland is part of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and is one of the most amazing hikes in Washington State. The Enchantments require a permit for overnight stays due to their popularity and fragile ecosystem. The 18-mile trek through the core zone exposes hikers to crystal-clear lakes, granite peaks, and occasionally, mountain goats. Most opt for a multi-day trip to truly savor the enchanting scenery.

5. Hoh River Trail

Olympic National Park’s Hoh Rainforest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a hiker’s dream. The Hoh River Trail is an 18-mile journey leading to the base of Mount Olympus. It’s a relatively flat trail, making it accessible to a wide range of hikers. The dense canopy of moss-clad trees and the symphony of bird calls create a magical atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the region.

6. Timberline Trail

This 40-mile loop around Mount Hood is a testament to the diverse beauty of the Pacific Northwest’s landscape. The Timberline Trail offers views of waterfalls, glaciers, and wildflowers, presenting different facets of nature at every turn. Some river crossings can be challenging, and hikers should be prepared for varying conditions, especially when trekking at higher elevations.

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7. Pacific Crest Trail

While the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) spans from Mexico to Canada, the sections running through the Pacific Northwest are among the most picturesque. Many hikers choose to tackle segments of the PCT, such as the stretch from Bridge of the Gods to Timberline Lodge, to experience the region’s splendor without committing to a months-long journey.

8. Colchuck Lake Trail

Tucked away near Leavenworth, the Colchuck Lake Trail presents an 8.7-mile round trip that many consider to be a challenging yet exhilarating experience. As you trek through this route, you’re greeted by the larger cousin to the Enchantment Lakes, Colchuck Lake itself, set beneath two of Washington’s tallest peaks. This alpine jewel sparkles with turquoise waters, making the hike a rewarding endeavor.

9. Cape Flattery Trail

At the northwesternmost tip of the contiguous United States, the Cape Flattery Trail is a shorter, more accessible hike at just 1.5 miles round trip. The trail takes you through a dense forest to the rugged cliffs that overlook the dynamic meeting of the Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Visitors are often left in awe of the dramatic sea stack formations, the powerful waves, and the chance to spot marine wildlife from the lookout points.

10. Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail

An epic adventure spanning approximately 1,200 miles, the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (PNT) stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. This trail traverses three of the most scenic national parks: Glacier National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Olympic National Park. 

It’s a challenge accepted only by the most dedicated long-distance hikers, but it also offers shorter segments for those looking for the best day hikes or weekend backpacking trips. The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail embodies a diverse landscape, showcasing everything from alpine tundras to coastal rainforests.

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11. Trail of Ten Falls

Located in Silver Falls State Park, the Trail of Ten Falls is a moderate loop that extends about 7.2 miles and showcases the park’s namesake attractions – ten stunning waterfalls. Along this path, hikers can walk behind the graceful curtain of water at South Falls and Lower South Falls, offering a unique perspective rarely experienced on other trails. The lush environment, accentuated by fern-covered canyons, makes this hike a magical journey through one of Oregon’s most beloved parks.

12. Heliotrope Ridge Trail

The Heliotrope Ridge Trail in the Mount Baker Wilderness serves as a gateway to awe-inspiring glacial scenery and alpine splendor. Known for its challenging yet rewarding journey, the trail covers a distance of 5.2 miles round trip. It is considered a strenuous route due to its steep sections and multiple stream crossings. Hikers navigate through an old forest, colorful avalanche chutes, and rock formations, leading them ever closer to the imposing Coleman Glacier. 

Trekkers are encouraged to prepare for the adventure, as the trail, while short, requires a good level of fitness and proper hiking shoes to manage the terrain safely and enjoy the mesmerizing panoramic views. The trailhead can be found shortly after leaving the Glacier Public Service Center, making it reasonably accessible for those eager to encounter Mount Baker’s dynamic landscape up close.

Before embarking on these scenic hikes, it’s essential to prepare appropriately. Check current trail conditions, weather forecasts, and if permits are necessary for your hike. The best way to preserve these pristine environments for future generations is to always adhere to the Leave No Trace principles. 

Embark on Outdoor Adventures with PNW-Concierge: Your Ultimate Guide to a Perfect Stay

Ready for an unforgettable outdoor adventure in the Pacific Northwest? Let PNW Concierge be your starting point for your favorite hikes! Specializing in creating personalized itineraries, we ensure that every moment of your journey is seamless and spectacular. From cozy cabin bookings to arranging guided tours to snow-capped mountains, we have you covered. Our expert team curates the finest accommodations, dining experiences, and gear rentals, tailored precisely to suit your outdoor activities.

Whether you’re traversing the expansive Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail or admiring the breathtaking beauty of Mount Baker’s cascading landscapes, PNW Concierge ensures your front-row access to nature’s masterpieces, coupled with the luxuries of full-service hospitality. Revel in tranquility amidst the wilderness without the burden of minor details, for at PNW Concierge, your exceptional Pacific Northwest adventure is meticulously crafted, promising elegance and ease throughout your journey.

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