5. Sahale Glacier, Washington
The Sahale Glacier offers a great 12-mile day hike on the Cascade Pass Trail with views of glaciers and peaks. You’ll see subalpine meadows with pretty flowers, be entertained by marmots sunning themselves on the trail, and listen to the waterfalls of melt water cascading off the glaciers. In the fall, the switchback trail at the start of the hike is covered in mountain blueberries. If you continue onto the Sahale Arm Trail, you’ll get a much more strenuous workout, climbing 4000 feet in a mixed hike of strenuous scree rock and rolling meadow, ending at the edge of the glacier. You’ll have views of the surrounding peaks and a good chance of spotting a bear.
4. Snowgrass Flat-Goat Ridge Loop, Washington
Snowgrass Flat -Goat Ridge Loop will take you through a cedar swamp (take your bug spray), subalpine wildflower meadows, and views of the surrounding volcanoes. Goat Lake itself does a great job of reflecting the peaks, and you’ll thank yourself for bringing a tent so you can enjoy the late day light. You may even see some Mountain Goats if you’re lucky. This is a 13-mile round-trip hike with a gentle elevation gain of 1900 feet. The trail is only snow-free from the end of July to late September, so the hiking window is narrow. But that means the window for all those wildflowers is narrow too. The purple alpine lupine mixed with scarlet cliff paintbrush makes for a beautiful carpet on the meadows.
3. Shi Shi Beach and Point the of Arches, Oregon
Shi Shi Beach and Point of the Arches on the Olympic Coast are a fairly easy, but muddy, 2-mile hike. The remote beach is a long wash of sand with rock formations at each end. The tidal pools will yield starfish and sea anemones, and sea otters are often visible in the surf. The sunset is beautiful (bring your tent and spend the night), and the sunrise will amaze you with the wash of colors as it lights up the rocks.
2. Hoh River and Blue Glacier, Washington
Hiking the Hoh River to Blue Glacier trail in the Olympic Peninsula will take you into different worlds. You’ll start in the incredibly green and lush temperate rainforest on the Hoh River with dripping moss and a carpet of ferns. You might be lucky enough to see some Roosevelt Elk as you start your journey. On the way up the mountain you’ll have views of Mount Olympus and the White Glacier, but the highlight of the hike is the climb to the blue tinged crevasses of Blue Glacier. This is a 37 mile round trip, so you’ll need to give yourself 3 days. There are several campsites to choose from.
1. Oregon Coast Trail, Oregon
The Oregon Coast Trail is heaven for serious hikers. 382 miles of beach walking, rocky headlands, sand dunes, and lighthouses. You’ll see fabulous sunsets, shipwrecks, and whales, seals, and sea lions. There are clifftop vistas, sand spits, lush rainforests, giant driftwood trees, and secluded coves. You can take on the entire hike, and camp on the beaches, or just tackle a smaller section. Either way, it will be a trip to remember.