Apr 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm #1272197
Ok, I know there are a lot of PNWers on here and thus a lot of collective experience!
I'm looking for some amazing trip suggestions anywhere in Oregon or Washington. The trip will take place in late August or early September.
Here are some details:
–no difficult to obtain permits…so places like the Enchantments are out :(
–number of hiking days will be 5-7 days
–trip may be a loop (preferred) or a one way that requires a shuttle (e.g.PCT section)
–I've been to the Three Sisters area, the Olympics, the Gorge, and Hell's Canyon a lot in the past couple years so I'd like to go somewhere else.
–not super crowded…so a section of something crowded like the Wonderland Trail is out
Of course, I'm not expecting anyone to plan out the trip day by day but perhaps folks could list a series of landmarks they consider to be particularly amazing in a particular wilderness area, trail, etc…Then I have some ideas that I can plan a trip around.
Thanks folks!!!!Apr 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm #1724343
The Eagle Cap wilderness is a must here in Oregon. I've never been but it's one of the wilderness areas I would jump at the chance to hike in!!! A must see.Apr 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm #1724356
Thanks for the suggestion! Keep 'em coming.
Eagle Cap Wilderness/Wallowas is on my list of possibilities…any idea what spots are a must see there?Apr 14, 2011 at 6:43 am #1724419
@curtpetersonLocale: Pacific Northwest
Don't write off the Enchantments. Not the solitude you're looking for (although it can be found up there for sure), but it really is stunning and famous for a reason. They take walk-ins every day, so you could get lucky. A common tactic is to have an Enchantments trip ready to go and a solid backup in a nearby area of the Alpine Lakes or a Glacier Peak area trip. Many of the Glacier Peak trailheads are actually not that far from Leavenworth, so if you didn't get drawn on the daily permit you could still be on the trail by 10:00 am in some absolutely world class terrain. Personally I'd try an Enchantments daily lottery pick with the Spider Gap/Lyman/Miner's Ridge area as a (possibly even better) backup.
Then I'd hope for good weather in a big way :)Apr 14, 2011 at 7:14 am #1724426
Still plenty of first come-first serve early September permits available for the Enchanments on recreation.gov as long as you're ok with camping outside the Core Enchantment Zone.Apr 14, 2011 at 7:21 am #1724430
I'm not sure what is must see. It could just be the wallowas themselves. I do know that one of the more popular routes leads you past Sacajawea Peak The Matterhorn and Eagle Cap. The trail system is pretty extensive in the Wallowas which should afford you a lot of options.Apr 14, 2011 at 8:54 am #1724450
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
I highly recommend the Pasayten Wilderness in Washington.Apr 14, 2011 at 8:56 am #1724451
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I was in the Enchantments a couple years ago. Wasn't solitude, but because of the permit system it wasn't crowded.
On the other hand, there's just one trail going through the basin that's about 20 miles from trailhead to trailhead (Snow Creek to Colchuck) so maybe there isn't enough to do for 5 to 7 days. You could go up to Snow Lake the first day, then Lower Enchantments, Shield Lake, Upper Enchantments, Colchuck, back out – 5 nights – not a lot of mileage per day but then you could just wander around each spot.
PCT going by Mount Jefferson is supposed to be nice – I've only been above Pamelia Lake, but Jefferson Park is supposed to be nice. Or you could start at Santiam Pass, go North on PCT as far as you wanted, then back on several trails that are West of the PCT to make a loop.
Or go around Mount Hood – but crossing Eliot Creek is tricky. 40 miles. May keep you busy enough for 5 days.Apr 14, 2011 at 11:06 am #1724503
Well, I looks like either the Wallowas or Glacier Peak Wilderness would be great options…looking at the Enchantments it seems like that would be best saved for a shorter trip.
Now on to pouring over maps!Apr 15, 2011 at 3:59 am #1724782
Sounds like you've got your "short" list done. I'm surprised no one mentioned North Cascades National Park — spectacular and not crowded in early September. Whatcom Pass is a great highlight, with approaches either from the east (about 20 miles or so to the pass after a boat ride with drop-off at Little Beaver Creek), or from the west via Hannegan Pass and Copper Ridge. Either of the above approaches can be fashioned into a loop (for the most part), but the "ideal" trip would be a traverse from the east side with the boat drop-off at Little Beaver Valley to the west side, exiting after crossing Hannegan Pass. Can do the traverse west to east too, but the boat pickup would be at the end of the traverse, requiring pretty good coordination of time and date for the boat to do the pickup.
From either direction, Whatcom Pass would be about in the middle of the traverse.
Here are a few trip reports, with the first one being a solo traverse that started from the east with the boat taxi up Ross Lake to Little Beaver Valley (after first leaving a car at the exit trailhead to the west of Hannegan Pass) —Apr 15, 2011 at 11:35 am #1724905
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
+1 on the Pasayten Wilderness, many options and no crowdsApr 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm #1725037
"+1 on the Pasayten Wilderness, many options and no crowds"
Make that +2, but be prepared for lots of bugs in the summer, especially this year.Apr 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm #1725092
@obxcolaLocale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Can you do the Ptsrmigan Traverse as late as September following a big snow season or is there generally just too much melt-off and icing to make that a late August/September option?Apr 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm #1725143
I've never been to Pasayten. I checkedout some trip reports at nwhikers.net and all I can say is WOW… There are a lot of good ideas here. Thanks for the input.
I've seen friend's pictures of the Hannagan Pass and agree that it looks to be an amazing place. Thanks for the reminder and the links. I feel like my short list is now expanding. There are so many extraordinary places to explore!
I'm not sure about the Ptarmigan Traverse but my experience is that if we've had a high snow year, one's best bet at finding a route open is the late August to mid-September time frame and also that it's really hard so make a good guess this early in the year.Apr 15, 2011 at 9:47 pm #1725150
@chrismorganLocale: Southern Oregon
Elizabeth, I've started to come up with an X-hours-from-Portland-that-X-hours-is-worth-driving-to-backpack list, FWIW:
OR/WA – Columbia River Gorge
OR – Mt. Hood
OR – Northern Coast (Ecola, etc.)
WA – Indian Heaven
OR – Bull of the Woods
OR – Deschutes River
OR – Opal Creek
WA – Mt. St. Helens/Mt. Margaret
OR – Mt. Jefferson
OR – Santiam Pass/Three Fingered Jack
OR – Three Sisters
WA – Mt. Adams
WA – Mt. Ranier
WA – Olympic NP (closest parts)
WA – Goat Rocks
WA – Snoqualmie Pass
OR – Crater Lake
OR – Rogue River
OR – Sky Lakes Wilderness
WA – Alpine Lakes Wilderness
WA – Glacier Peaks Wilderness
CA – The Redwoods
OR – Wallowas
WA – Olympic NP Coast
BC – West Coast Trail (plus ferry)
CA – Trinity Alps Wilderness
OR – Steens Mountain
WA – Pasayten Wilderness
CA – Lake Tahoe
ID – Sawtooths
MT – Bob Marshall Wilderness
BC – Strathcona PP (plus ferry)
MT – Glacier NP
CA – Emigrant Wilderness
AB – Banff/Yoho NP
AB – Jasper NP/Mt. Robson
CA – Yosemite
CA – Middle Sierras (Bishop)
MT – Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness
WY – Wind River Range
WY – Yellowstone
CA – Lower Sierras (Lone Pine)
UT – Canyonlands
UT – Escalante NRAApr 16, 2011 at 8:54 am #1725212
@curtpetersonLocale: Pacific Northwest
The Pasaytan is truly fantastic. The eastern half has a Tibet feel to it. Miles and miles of high altitude roaming. Gorgeous. September is getting a little late for up there, though. Depends on the year, but it can be pretty dry in September. Still a great choice. Bugs shouldn't be an issue in September up there. Nights will dip below freezing so they'll be pretty well done.Apr 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm #1725292
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Nice list, Chris! Some of it's a bit different for me since I live out the east side (more like 2 hours to the coast and 20 minutes to the Gorge), but still very useful.
You might want to consider posting it on:
where we get lots of questions that your list would help answer!Apr 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm #1725380
"Bugs shouldn't be an issue in September up there. Nights will dip below freezing so they'll be pretty well done."
Correct. However, September, specifically September 15-25, brings another problem, hunters. You'd want to dress accordingly if you decided to go then.Apr 16, 2011 at 8:56 pm #1725442
5-7 days… Really depends on how much vertical you wish to do a day.
Really only one or 2 places in my opinion for trails. Glacier PEAK Wilderness or Olympic National Park. Glacier Peak Wilderness will have VERY FEW folks in it generally speaking.
My #1 recommendation as there are hordes of side trips you can do and if the will is strong, many class 2,3,4,5 peaks to climb if you so wish. Glacier Peak Wilderness. Here is a 5-7 day trip. Can extend it indefinetly of course if you are a higher mileage person by adding trails(loops) north of the selected area. Chiwawa river road end. Spider Meadows. Spider Pass. Chiwawa lake/Glacier. Suiattle Pass. Cloudy pass. Image Lake(must detour to in decent weather). Buck Creek Pass. High Pass. Back to car. Yes, if you are a high mileage hiker you can do this loop in 2 days, but there are a huge number of side trails and additional loops with attractions in this area. If the weather is nice, you will want to stay forever. middle to End of July is peak time for wildflowers usually, but if heavy snow year, can be pushed back by a month. Huckleberriers are peak in Mid/late August. Beware of Black and Grizzly bears. I have seen both. Black Fly season is generally middle of July, but tends to extend only to 5000 feet leaving everything above that ok minus the other pests of course.
If higher mileage person. Then a 100 Mile trip is going Around Glacier Peak itself. Park at North Fork Sauk via city of Darrington as the other two main access points are washed out(white Chuck/Suittle river). Could do it from the Chiwawa River Road, but I would recommend skipping that portion as you have to wade Chiwawa River and road walk a ways and instead go up the Napequa River Valley to High Pass and down to Buck Creek Pass. Exceptional beauty through there along with Red Pass. DO wander up Portal Peak or over to Kololo peaks(8200 to the east of Red pass).
Glacier Peak Wilderness was not included in the North Cascades National park because at the time there was designation for keeping a National Park a wilderness and the proponents who wanted it protected did not want roads put into it. Thus, it became a Wilderness and the North Cascades National Park/Ross Lake National Recreational area became a national park. Also, the North Cascades National Park really doesn't have many trails in it to speak of or worth mentioning, as its nearly all a climbers paradise. You have a couple passes like Fisher, Cascade, Whatcom, but generally all trails that do exist in the NCNP, are in deep valleys with no views. You have to get high and go off trail to truly enjoy NCNP.
Olympic National Park. If you don't mind some off trail rambling and glacier travel do the high divide loop going from Sol Duck Hot springs and the bailey traverse over to Mt. Olympus and back to your car. The other 5 day mellow loop is situated on the Quinalt River Trailhead on the South Side.
As posted by someone else, the Pasayten Wilderness has huge number of miles of trails, but IMO isn't all that spectacular of scenery(seems exactly like Idaho). Its more something to do in the fall time for the larches or spring time because its east of the crest and less likely to be poured on. The exception is the western portion where the true crest trail runs.
PS. If you want off trail routes, I can give you TONS of them that would encompass that 5-7 days in pure bliss in good weather. Ptarmigan Traverse. Pickets Traverse. Several other traverses as well. Here is part of the Pickets. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33243403@N02/3099170058/Apr 17, 2011 at 8:10 am #1725550
@geccomanLocale: NCW the dry part
+1 On any of the many possible Glacier Peak wilderness area loops.You can add mileage if you so desire with countless side trips and always be in spectacular terrain and solitude. August or better yet September for clear trails,fewer bugs and the best weather.Apr 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm #1725735
"I'm surprised no one mentioned North Cascades National Park — spectacular and not crowded in early September."
I think this is primarily because OP expressed a preference for a loop route, which is sort of hard to do up there. That said, your suggestion of the traverse, in either direction, from Hannegan Pass to Ross Lake is a great route. It is beyond spectacular up there, probably the finest scenery in the entire Cascade range, IMO. There are also opportunities for short side excursions off the main route to squeeze even more out of the trip. Copper Ridge and Easy Ridge come immediately to mind in that regard.Apr 17, 2011 at 9:06 pm #1725897
While I agree that Hannegan Pass is nice along with Whatcom pass, I don't agree that miles upon miles of valley bottom hiking with no views is all that fun or spectacular. Yes, there is the occasional big tree. See Big Beaver Valley and a quadruplet of some seriously MASSIVE cedar trees, but otherwise, its more for the off trail climber/routefinder than the backpacker. I most certainly agree that the area is spectacular if you are willing to get off trail. Bring Boots, Ice Axe at a minimum. Last few years have seen me going to the North Cascades National Park nearly exclusively as I try to nab the routes before they start trying to force us to pay to enter the park like nearly every other National Money sucking "open to the public" park. Try pricing out a trip to the back
country in Olympic national park. You get HOSED BIG TIME. Pay to enter. Pay to park. Pay a daily permit fee. Isn't there another fee I am forgetting in there. BY the time you are said and done for a week trip you just dropped a $100 bucks.
There are many non marked trails in the North Cascades that exist as climbers trails that do NOT appear on any map. These trails, while steep are definetly go to spectacular destinations. Trail up Ruby Mountain(still discernable, old trail out of Fourth of July Pass). Climbers trail going to Colonial/Snowfield area on right side of Pyramid Lake. Climbers trail going to Mt. Redoubt/Spickard out of the Chiliwack valley. Climbers trail going to Terror Basin and Southern Pickets. Climbers Trail going to Mt. Forbidden and Mt. Torment. Climbers Trail going to Eldorado. In fact, there is a large amount of true trail on the ptarmigan traverse. The first 12 miles are all trail but do no appear on a forest service map. Just like the South Cascade River Trail to South Casacde lake and over the South Cascade glacier to White Rock Lakes. Climbers trail to Snow King Mountain. Note, several of these trails used to be old Forest Service Trails that were abandoned like the Napequa River Trail to High Pass in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.Apr 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm #1726275
"There are many non marked trails in the North Cascades that exist as climbers trails that do NOT appear on any map. These trails, while steep are definetly go to spectacular destinations."
I've been on many, not all, of the trails/routes you mention and you are absolutely correct in saying that the scenery is spectacular. However, I suspect the OP was asking for something a bit more, shall we say, civilized. Most of the routes you mention are either climb approaches or strenuous scrambles beyond what most trail hikers would find enjoyable, and are destinations in themselves, not part of a 5-7 day loop or point to point trip. I mentioned 2 easier possibilities in an earlier post that, if added to a Hannegan-Ross Lake traverse, would offer more "ridge time" with ample scenery of the type you mention, while fitting into a longer trip: Copper Ridge and Easy Ridge. If I am wrong about OP's intent, I would highly recommend that she give your suggestions serious consideration.
BTW, I'm surprised you didn't mention the Depot Creek "climbers" trail to Redoubt. That's pretty scenic, too; great view of the North Face of Redoubt. ;)Apr 19, 2011 at 1:44 pm #1726684
"BTW, I'm surprised you didn't mention the Depot Creek "climbers" trail to Redoubt. That's pretty scenic, too; great view of the North Face of Redoubt. ;)"
The depot creek waterfall is amazing. Off hand I don't know of any other several hundred foot roaring waterfall/cataract that you literally hike through/next to. Only thing comparable I can think of off the top of my head is Canyon hiking in the SW USA. I went through there in June as I went for Custer/Spickard/Redoubt. Oh my GOD, WATER! Needless to say, we didn't hike where most folks go through. Had to stay on the left side. Have to go back to get Mox peaks for my 100 high points in Washington State though.
Never been on the Cooper ridge. How is it? I take it that you have been there? Seems like a great weekend trip.
Oh yea, if you want trails and loops. Hooking up many trails in the Entiat Region East of the Cascade Crest is quite fine as well. Not as spectacular as the Crest Peaks, but still very fine country. Go a bit earlier for peak flowers than you would for crest areas. It can be spectacular regarding flowers over there as there is quite a bit of pumice blown over there from Glacier Peak.
PS. I like to strech folks idea of what they can actually do. I find its far more rewarding getting off of the beaten path, not that there aren't MANY number of gorgeous trail destinations of course, just more rewarding as you get a better feel for the true mountain experience. I have gotten to the point where I can move off trail fairly quickly. When I first started doing so, I would run myself into blind corners etc. You quickly learn that heading for sunlight is a BAD thing. =) Stay in those trees as it usually means 1) no brush and 2) no cliffs. Hit the sunlight for pictures of course.Apr 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm #1726688
@lenchik101Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)
Agree on glacier peak wilderness area .. is amazing. See Lyman Lakes, Image lake, etc. you'll meet lots of people on the trail though..
But.. if you have an extra couple of days to spare and the weather is good, i highly recommend a short trip to mount baker. You can actually go there for a day hike if you want. Alternatively, spend a night there. Take the railroad grade trail and keep going up, until you hit the snow patches. Camping out there is spectacular. You are basically looking down at some crazy glaciers, and mountains around. Plenty of space to camp off the beaten path. bring some yak treks and play around in the snow, and scramble some rocks. We did it and ended up half way to the summit, where you can actually smell the sulphur coming out from the volcano!if you go late in the summer, you'll be treated to some nice huckleberry fields.
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