Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
mirak
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Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

Post by mirak » February 13th, 2017, 7:48 pm

I hike in Colorado all the time, but I've never been to the Pacific Northwest. So please pardon the VERY broad question - but I don't know where to start!

I'm planning a 6-day trip to the NW this summer with travel days on the ends and 4 days of hiking.

This is a guy trip and we can handle strenuous hikes, maybe 5-12 miles per day. I'm NOT interested in a 4-day backpacking trek. Mainly I'm thinking long day hikes from a central location. But I'd consider backpacking for a portion of the trip and maybe camping 1 or 2 nights for something really spectacular.

Good trails are a plus - I'm pretty spoiled hiking the Rocky Mountain National Park trail system. I'd like to summit something, but I also want to experience some of the old growth forest and coastline I can't get in Colorado.

So with all that in mind, if this was your first time to the region and you had 4 days, what would you recommend for us to get the most "bang for our buck?" And logistically, where would you fly in/out of and find lodging? Finally, when's the best time to go during summer for best chance at good weather?

Thanks so much for your help getting started!

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Chip Down
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Re: Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

Post by Chip Down » February 13th, 2017, 8:18 pm

If I was a short-term visitor, I'd do what you're planning: a series of short day jaunts, with nights in a civilized place. A couple obvious choices:

Mt Hood, with nights in Hood River, or the suburbs east of Portland (or maybe right down in Portland if you want to explore the city too).

Mt Rainier, but lodging choices are a bit sparse. You can probably find something acceptable if you're not too picky, or if you really want to research and make a reservation months in advance.

And yeah, get to the coast too.

The scope of your question is so broad, I think you might want to pick a few destinations and then ask specific advice on strategies for those particular areas.

As for weather, there's no way to win. August is dry, but also hot. We get some fantastic weather in Sept/Oct, but risk of precip increases. June/July can be nice, but you have to be prepared for snow on the ground if you go high. I'm going to say the best compromise is mid July.

Aimless
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Re: Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

Post by Aimless » February 13th, 2017, 8:28 pm

Your biggest problem will be that distances in the western states are great enough that if you want to sample several diverse places, you'll end up seeing a lot of road and very little trail. The Pacific NW is an immense place with fantastic beauty spots you wouldn't want to miss, but located hundreds of miles apart. You're not going to do more than barely scratch the surface in six days total.

Each of the Cascades volcanoes has wonderful trails and scenery. You can hardly go wrong there. Mt. Rainier is exceptional, but accommodations, both lodges and campgrounds, are both popular and limited. The Bend, OR area has many wonderful possibilities nearby in the Three Sisters and Newberry Crater National Monument.

Oregon coast is FAR more accessible than the Washington State coast. Almost any 50 mile stretch of OR coastline will include magnificent beaches with excellent access. Just go.

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romann
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Re: Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

Post by romann » February 13th, 2017, 8:33 pm

When do you come? Important to know because alpine areas will thaw out somewhere from mid July to early August, depending on the amount of snow and weather in the spring. Most lower areas will be snow-free by early summer.

1. This hike on Mt. Hood will make for long, really nice day. (index page for Mt. Hood hikes). No parking pass required

2. Another really good Mt Hood hike. Be sure to loop around south side of Bald Mtn, for best views, not north side as suggested there. Requires NW Forest Pass, need to buy in one of the stores on SR-26 on your way

3. Lower-elevation hike along Salmon River, starts in rainforest and ascends to cliffy viewpoint 1 mile before Goat Creek Camp. Requires NW Forest Pass

4. Hamilton Mtn in the Columbia Gorge. Lots of views from the cliffs higher on the hike. They sell $10 park pass right there; need to arrive early on weekend to find a parking spot. While there you may also visit Beacon Rock, pretty cool staircase welded onto 600-ft high rock.

5. Saddle Mtn - nice, steep hike in the Coast Range, lots of views, open summit. May be crowded - arrive early. I think no pass is needed. It has a down/up section of trail at the "saddle", so elevation gain is at least 2000', maybe 2300' - not 1600 as per description.

6. The beach - try Ecola State Park, my favorite is section between Ecola Point and Indian Beach, return back, and take trail south from Ecola Pt (not marked on map) down to Crescent Beach. Trails may be very muddy after rains so need to plan for this. $5 or so for OR State Park pass - sold at entrance - good for numerous other state parks along the beach so you may plan & hit as many points on the coast as you have time in a day. Head South on HWY 101 from Ecola, try to get to Depoe Bay or Newport - lots of cool pullouts and little trails.

mirak
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Re: Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

Post by mirak » February 14th, 2017, 11:48 am

What about Olympic National Park? I realize this might be a little further afield than the specialty of this message board, but sounds like I could get amazing beaches, rainforest, and mountains all in one spot?

Anybody got a recommended itinerary for first timers to that area?

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retired jerry
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Re: Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

Post by retired jerry » February 14th, 2017, 12:25 pm

Olympics are great. Some specifics are in the field guide - click on "field guide", then "Washington coast and Olympics". There are many miles of wilderness beach unlike anywhere else in the U.S.

Basically, just take highway 101 around the peninsula. Check out Hurricane Ridge.

Campgrounds tend to fill up in the summer, especially Kalaloch.

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miah66
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Re: Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

Post by miah66 » February 14th, 2017, 12:47 pm

retired jerry wrote: Campgrounds tend to fill up in the summer, especially Kalaloch all of them.
FTFY
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retired jerry
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Re: Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

Post by retired jerry » February 14th, 2017, 12:54 pm

thank goodness for the google so I can figure out what the h you guys are saying :lol:

yeah, I agree

Heart-o-the-Hills isn't quite so bad. You could call them and ask for recommendation

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Peder
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Re: Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

Post by Peder » February 14th, 2017, 4:55 pm

Roman's suggestions on Mt Hood are good. My take, if I was based around Portland and in summer (when we usually have great weather):

Mt Hood - Barrett Spur
Mt St Helens area - Coldwater Peak
The Gorge - Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop (start early - it gets very crowded - the same applies to the other option in this category: Eagle Creek)
The Coast - Salishan Spit (I tend to start at the Salishan Spa & Golf Thingy and return along the roads on the spit).
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retired jerry
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Re: Best 4 day hiking trip in the Pacific Northwest?

Post by retired jerry » February 14th, 2017, 7:40 pm

Timberline Lodge is a nice spot to check out. Have a beer or something to eat. Unique building.

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