Anyone who’s been to the Pacific Northwest (PNW for short) understands that it really is a beautiful place. There’s so much green, so much nature, so many sites to be seen. Because of all this it’s not hard to believe that hiking is a favorite pastime to many who call the PNW home.
Even if you live in the city you’re never more than an hour away from a good hike. With nature being so close to more urban areas, it’s common to see people wearing their outdoor gear (Patagonia, North Face, etc.) even while walking around the streets downtown. There are many avid hikers who are in the city during the work week and in the mountains when the weekend rolls around.
I have a friend I consider a serial hiker who I have interviewed to get her opinion on the best hikes near us. Whether you’ve never hiked before or if you consider yourself a serial hiker as well, hopefully this interview will point you in the direction of your next hike. This rundown should also give you options of hikes both near and far so you can plan for either a quick trip or a weekend away.
(Forewarning, anything in parenthesis is my commentary.)
What is the most difficult hike you’ve been on in the PNW?
Mailbox Peak near Northbend, WA. The original trail is 2.5 miles long with extreme elevation. They’ve since put in a longer trail with more gradual elevation. When coming back down the trail the incline/decline was so steep that if we wanted to stop we needed to brace ourselves with trees to keep us from falling. Although it’s a difficult hike, it’s definitely worth going; the view is great!
Snoqualmie Falls is pretty easy and kid friendly, but it’s still worth the trip because once you get down to the bottom of the falls it’s beautiful. (It’s not too far of a drive and there’s a really nice viewpoint overlooking the waterfall.)
For those of us that love fun hikes, what would you suggest?
Twin Falls near Northbend, WA. There are a couple of viewpoints of the waterfalls, a cool bridge and this hike gives you a workout without being too hard.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve seen while hiking?
Cute dogs in hiking gear (I imagine hats and cargo vests), old bridges, old overgrown forests and cool looking vegetation on trees that have fallen.
What hike would you suggest for those of us looking for beautiful scenery?
Mount Storm King near Port Angeles, WA. This hike overlooks Lake Crescent, the Strait of Juan De Fuca and parts of Canada. (I’d like to see this view in person.)
What is your favorite hike in all of the PNW?
Cape Flattery near Neah Bay, WA is the northwesternmost point of the contiguous US. There are amazing views at the end of the hike overlooking an island with a lighthouse, cliff sides and where the Strait of Juan De Fuca meets the ocean. (I want to visit here and be on the northwesternmost point of the country, especially with all those views. This is definitely on my bucket-list.)
Why do you love to go hiking?
It’s challenging and it’s rewarding. Hiking sets your mind at ease and reminds you how much there is to see on earth. Would you rather go hiking or be stuck inside a gym? (I’d much rather be free outside than confined to a treadmill.)
Any tips for new hikers or visitors to the PNW?
Mud! Beware of mud. Wear the right shoes and check the weather before going. Once when visiting Shi Shi Beach it was so muddy that I had to jump from twig to twig to avoid getting stuck and losing my shoes in mud puddles.
Be careful not to get lost. Just a few weeks ago I tried to go on De Leo Wall trail for a short afternoon hike and ended up in a loop with no view for 2 hours. (Do your best not to get lost. Amanda was able to laugh while telling this story now, but I’m sure being lost wasn’t very funny at the time.)