Weekend Backpacker: Seattle

Emerald City Overnighters
  |  Gorp.com
Seattle and environs
Seattle and environs

With wilderness characterized by diversity and diversion, Washington is a hiker's paradise. Within three hours' drive of the Seattle metro area you can be walking near glaciers, on beaches, through old-growth forests, and along ridge lines between knifelike peaks still sporting snow deep into August.

For high-country experiences, visit the North Cascades National Park and the William O. Douglas Wilderness. Alpine Lakes Wilderness is the closest major hiking destination to Seattle and has myriad choices for weekend wandering. Hike in the presence of the Northwest's volcanic sentinels at Mount Rainier National Park and Mount Adams Wilderness. And the Olympic Peninsula is a microcosm of Northwest ecosystems: Here you find remote beaches littered with tide-scoured cedar logs alongside the country's oldest forests and one of the state's most dramatic mountain ranges. The options are endless, and your senses will never rest. Your legs won't either.

A note about trip planning: The Mountaineers, the Seattle-based hiking club, has a well-stocked bookstore, including every version of that Northwest hiker's bible, the 100 Hikes series written by veteran outdoorsmen Ira Spring and Harvey Manning. (The bookstore is at club headquarters: 1011 SW Klickitat Way; 206-223-6303.) The REI flagship store in Seattle is home to the Outdoor Recreation Information Center, which is staffed by National Park Service and Forest Service personnel. The store has a wide selection of USGS topo maps and Green Trails maps for sale (222 Yale Ave. N, 206-470-4060; closed Mondays).


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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