Image via Flickr by pfly
The Pacific Northwest is the perfect destination for any outdoor enthusiast. From the snowy Cascade Mountains to salty Puget Sound to the vast evergreen forests, you’ll find peace and adventure in the great outdoors of Washington.
I haven’t been to the West Coast yet. I travel a lot abroad, but I have yet to explore most of my home country. However, this summer when I head home for a few weeks I plan to make stopovers in both California and Washington. I’ve been dying to visit Seattle ever since one of my best friends moved there from Montana. Even though I haven’t been to Washington, I have a feeling it’s a place I won’t want to leave.
As I begin to plan my travels to Washington in August, I know they will contain a lot of good food, wine, and hiking. Fortunately, my friend and I share very similar interests. As much as I’m looking forward to exploring the hip city of Seattle, I’m looking forward to hitting the hiking trails even more.
Washington offers an amazing array of hiking trails for all fitness levels, most of which are just a few hours drive from Seattle. As someone who struggles a bit with altitude sickness, I’ll have to stick to the easier hikes this time around. But, someday in the near future, I do plan to bag Mount Rainier. After all, it serves as the training ground for some of America’s best mountaineers.
Carbon Glacier Trail
There are only a few places left in the United States where you can still see glaciers today, and Washington is one of them. As the name implies, Carbon Glacier Trail leads to Carbon Glacier in Mount Rainier National Park. The trail isn’t for the faint of heart, as it is a round trip of over 17 miles with an elevation gain of 1,300 feet. Expect to be hiking for about eight to nine hours. Carbon Glacier Trail is located about two hours southeast of Seattle, making it the perfect day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the Emerald City.
John Wayne Pioneer Trail
John Wayne Pioneer Trail is a 145-mile trail that stretches from Iron Horse State Park in North Bend all the way to Tekoa, Washington, near the Idaho border. The trail is on a former railroad bed belonging to the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad. The trail allows you to walk across almost two-thirds of the state of Washington! The trail is named John Wayne Pioneer Trail in honor of the John Wayne Pioneer Wagons and Riders Association, which helped develop and open the trail. The trail system was designated a National Recreation Trail in 2002 and is open to hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders.
Liberty Lake Loop Trail
Liberty Lake Loop Trail is located near Spokane. The trail is a nice 7.1-mile loop with an elevation gain of 1,509 feet around Liberty Lake. The trail begins as a nice relaxing path but you’ll soon begin to climb up some switchbacks where you’ll have a nice view of the lake and surrounding valley. As an added bonus the trail system is dog-friendly!
While I won’t have time to make the trip from Seattle to Spokane, the drive is only about five hours. As someone who is not a fan of driving in unfamiliar areas, I’ve come to rely on public transportation to move from point A to point B. Unfortunately, the train system in the United States isn’t as robust or as cheap as Europe so I’ve found the next best thing – buses! There are two daily bus departures from Seattle to Spokane, including an overnight bus, that will get you from the Emerald City to the Lilac City for less than a tank of gas costs. As a budget traveler, this is my favorite way to travel.
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