The Pacific Northwest of the USA is a beautiful area with mountains, lakes, rivers, and a spectacular coastline. You can explore the beautiful Oregon coast, with rocky headlands, sandy beaches, and views out over the Pacific Ocean. You can head into the Cascade Range in Oregon and Washington for some of America’s most iconic mountains – Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Hood. Or try the Olympic National Park in Washington, dominated by Mount Olympus. To enjoy all that nature, the best thing you can do can do is get out and hike it! There are hiking trails all over the area, ranging from mild, easy 2 hour ambles, to strenuous multi-day hikes that will have you scrambling over boulders to get to the top of the mountain. The question, of course, is, which hikes are the best? Here’s your list of the best places to give your hiking boots a workout!
10. Angel’s Rest, Oregon
The Angel’s Rest trail in Oregon takes you up a moderately steep hike to a summit that offers a spectacular 270-degree view looking down over the Columbia River. It’s a beautiful panorama that will make this 2.4-mile hike well worth the while. On the way up you’ll pass two waterfalls and the evidence of a fire from back in 1991. If you’re looking for a longer hike, you can try the Angel’s Rest Devil’s Rest Loop for some other great viewpoints.
9. Skyline Loop Trail, Washington
The Skyline Loop Trail on Mt. Rainier is a breathtaking hike on Washington’s most famous mountain. In the summer, you’ll see meadows full of wildflowers, grandiose glaciers, and pretty waterfalls. The best viewpoints include the Nisqually Glacier and Panorama Point. From the Point, on a clear day, you’ll be able to see Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, and Paradise Valley. The Loop is about 5.5 miles and you’ll gain 1450 feet in elevation.
8. Wallace Falls, Washington
Wallace Falls is a very popular attraction in Washington, and with good reason. The 5.6-mile hike takes you up 1300 feet in the Central Cascades and provides constantly beautiful scenery along the way. You’ll see fly fishermen along the Wallace River, picnic areas at the Lower Falls, and then the panoramic views from the Middle Falls of the Skykomish River and the Olympic Mountains in the distance.
7. Crater Lake, Oregon
Without a doubt, Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Oregon. Surrounded by steep cliffs, the water is a stunning blue. The best views come from a climb up Garfield Peak. The trail is short but steep, only 1.5-miles, but climbing 970 feet. This is a popular hike, so you won’t feel the solitude and tranquility you will on most of the other hikes on this list, but it’s such a beautiful sight that we had to keep it on the list!
6. Upper Lena Lake, Washington
Lena Lake on the slopes of Mount Olympus in the Olympic Peninsula is a popular destination with a lot of visitors in the summer. The trick is to continue on to Upper Lena Lake, where the crowds thin, the vista becomes tranquil, and the flowers and heather make it a beautiful spot. It’s a good 14 miles and a 3900-foot elevation gain, but there are camping spots once you’re up there, and you’ll have a lovely view of the Brothers from the top.