Aug 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm #1306875
Okay I pretty much fell in love with PNW on my PCT thruhike last year and I managed to get 10 days off the second week of this September. Originally I figured I'd drive up and try to work out a first come first serve wonderland trail trip but now I've started debating shorter trips just to see more.
I figured I'd ask this lovely community for any suggestions I hadn't thought of. I prefer trails to cross country and am pretty happy hiking 15-25 mile days. I've never been anywhere in Washington except the PCT so I'm pretty open to any ideas.
Thoughts?Aug 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm #2018074
hard to beat the WT for easy logistics. Consider the Boundary Trail in the Pasayten as a more isolated alternative. Some good loops in the Glacier Peak wilderness that mostly involve the PCT, so I'm not sure if you want to do a repeat. Planning a climb of Glacier Peak would also be on my list.
If you want to do a couple smaller trips, consider heading up HW 542 and checking out Copper Ridge, High Divide, and environs. Lots of great subalpine terrain up that way.
The Olympics have a bunch of great options for big loops. I'm not as fond of the area because of permit hassles, but most Seattle folks disagree. There are also the olympic coastal trails, if you are into beach walking.
You can attempt to squeeze some info out of nwhikers.net, but I think it would be more appropriately named nwtrolling.net/bickering hahaAug 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm #2018085
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
I love Olympic National Park and there is great hiking on the east side along Hood Canal, with good starting points at Staircase, Duckabush or Dosewallips. Starting from this area keeps your drive to a reasonable time from either Portland (about 3 hours) or Seattle (probably 2.5 hours). I've never had any permit issues, but it is a national park, so camping is limited to designated campsites.
Spider Gap loop in Glacier Peak is one I'd love to do myself one day.
There is amazing scenery along both sides of Icicle Creek Road southwest of Leavenworth. On the south side is the Enchantments, a premier site in WA and you do need permits. You might be able to get a walk-in permit at the Leavenworth ranger station; others in WA might have a better thought about this. On the north side of the road is Icicle Ridge; I've gone up Chatter Creek to Grindstone Mtn and done a very nice loop through there. There is a lake in this wilderness (Alpine Lakes) called Larch Lake. The larches might be turning yellow by the second week in September. A plus about this, and Spider Gap, is that Leavenworth is a nice little tourist town with amenities.
I'll add more if I think of anything.
Some great resources:Aug 23, 2013 at 7:01 pm #2018088
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"I've never had any permit issues, but it is a national park, so camping is limited to designated campsites."
Steve, many national parks allow camping without designated campsites.
–B.G.–Aug 23, 2013 at 7:56 pm #2018103
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
I misspoke, Bob. I guess I meant that in the steep forested valleys of Olympic and the more delicate sub-alpine areas, one will generally stay at designated wilderness campsites. There are several places in Olympic where one would stay wherever one wanted.Aug 23, 2013 at 11:18 pm #2018140
to elaborate, permits in ONP are 1) required 2) Limited 3) costly.Aug 24, 2013 at 8:32 am #2018188
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Some areas in ONP like High Divide, Grand Valley, or Ozette require reserving a particular camp area on a particular day. I think the Wonderland Trail is the same. There are a number of designated sites with numbered posts. First come first serve so you probably need to get in early to get a decent spot – or arrive late and leave early so it doesn't matter. Probably all designated sites are within view of other sites.
Other areas of the park require permits but you can camp anywhere.
Permits are $5 per group plus $2 per person per day.
This is off-putting to me so I mostly avoid those areas. After September they remove these restrictions.Aug 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm #2018261
thanks so much guys, getting so excitedAug 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm #2018314
@jcar3305Locale: East of Cascades
1) Olympic National Park Beach Hike. Very accessible, fairly low cost, lots of options, although the southern beaches are a bit easier to hike on.
2) Ross Lake National Recreation Area has numerous hikes bordering the lake and there are many camps. They are free but require going to Ranger Station in Marblemount to register for them. In September this should be easy.
3) Esmeralda Basin, Ingalls Lake and Ingalls Creek then exit via Longs Pass. Strnuous hiking but nice relaxing 3 day trip.
john the xcarOct 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm #2033792
Just meant to thank everyone for the advice. Kept it simple and did the Wonderland Trail. Got a fair bit of rain and on my last 2 days rehiked the sections I had skipped r/t lack of visibilty.
If interested in a rambling trip report starts with Day 1:
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