Washington’s diverse geography is a wonderland for adventure. Rainforests, wetland estuaries, alpine meadows, mountain peaks, coastal beaches and arid deserts are rich with beauty and adventure options for hikers, climbers, bikers, paddlers, and campers. There is plenty of room to roam with Washington’s two major mountain ranges, the Cascade Range and Olympic Mountains, and three national parks, Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and North Cascades National Park.
Though there are over 4 million acres of protected wilderness in Washington, national parks and campgrounds can often be crowded and reservations difficult to obtain. Stretch your legs, adventure a bit farther from the crowds, and find a campsite to call your own under the starry sky. Go backpacking. Here are a few of our favorite, and most rewarding, backpacking trips in Washington.
Olympic National Park
The view of Seven Lakes Basin from the High Divide Trail. Photo by Heron Marychild.
- Hoh to Sol Duc via High Divide Trail: This 26-mile thru-hike in Olympic National Park encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems and offers an excellent sampler of some of the highlights of this unique park. Plan on four to five hiking days to complete the trip, and consider a layover day at Hoh Lake or in Seven Lakes Basin in order to explore this alpine wonderland without a pack.
- Anderson Glacier via Enchanted Valley: The Anderson massif is one of the most visually stunning, physically imposing, and geographically significant mountain regions in the Olympics. Its glaciated peaks are the most substantial in the eastern Olympics, and its central location makes it an apex for drainage from the Olympic Range. This trip is 40 miles in total.
- Olympic South Coast Wilderness Trail: Two sections of the Olympic Peninsula’s coastline are completely undeveloped and uniquely spectacular. The first is a section of the Olympic North Coast Wilderness Trail that runs nearly 21 miles between Rialto Beach and Ozette. The second is this southern section that runs between La Push (Third Beach Trailhead) and the Hoh River (Oil City Trailhead) and totals 17.5 miles.