Great PNW Multi-day Backpacking Loops

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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ghsmith76
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Great PNW Multi-day Backpacking Loops

Post by ghsmith76 » April 24th, 2019, 11:08 am

I have been putting together an annual multi-day backpacking loop trek for my friends for the last 8 years. The goal was to find a 4 or 5 day trek of moderate difficulty based on a loop to simplify travel logistics.
Image
The first trek was through the Sisters Wilderness in 2011 and during each trek we would ask other backpackers what they thought was another great loop option. This advice truly led us to discover and confirm the finest multi-day backpacking loop treks in the Pacific Northwest. Since I have answered this question for other backpackers through the years I decided to create post to highlight these loop treks. https://adventurecontinues.org/2019/03/ ... king-loops The order presented is based on the order in which I discovered these treks. Please feel free to share your similar favorite loops.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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Re: Great PNW Multi-day Backpacking Loops

Post by olderthanIusedtobe » April 24th, 2019, 11:33 am

Nice collection of loops. Some other good options in Washington. Hannegan Pass/Copper Ridge loop in North Cascades NP is exceptional. Out and back to Whatcom Pass in the middle is a must do.

Spider Gap/Buck Creek Pass is outstanding. Many other possibilities in Glacier Peak Wilderness area of varying lengths. NF Sauk/Pilot Ridge has gotten fairly popular. A little bit longer and even better (it's dependent on there still being a log jam crossing the White Chuck River) is beginning w/ Lost Creek Ridge rather than NF Sauk. I don't think it's as nice but the Bald Eagle loop is in the same vicinity. If the road is ever opened again to the trailhead, there are 3 trails that depart from north of Index, you can combine any 2 of them into a nice loop--West Cady Ridge, NF Skykomish and Quartz Creek. I've done 23 and 30 mile options combing those.

I haven't done it but Devils Dome/Jackita Ridge on the east side of Ross Lake is supposed to be really good.

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drm
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Re: Great PNW Multi-day Backpacking Loops

Post by drm » April 24th, 2019, 11:53 am

I would also put Hannegan Pass/Copper Ridge next on the list. And you have nothing in the Olympics. There is an inside-the-park 3-pass loop (O'Neil, Anderson, and La Crosse). The loop is not so long but it's a ways to get in to it. I went in via Duckbush but I would recommend going in via Enchanted Valley instead. You can get some interesting loops in Hells Canyon too.

One comment on your descriptions. For Spider Gap loop, you say:
If time and energy allow you should consider including a visit to Image Lake along Miners Ridge.
In my humble opinion, anybody who does this loop and doesn't find the time for the spur to Image Lake and the Miners Ridge lookout is certifiably insane, assuming they have any idea of what they are missing, of course.

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teachpdx
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Re: Great PNW Multi-day Backpacking Loops

Post by teachpdx » April 25th, 2019, 2:00 pm

This is a good list!

My best friend and I are doing a 5 day "figure 8" this summer out of Two Pan in the Wallowas, but extending a bit farther than Lakes Basin.
The plan is: East Fork Lostine / Eagle Cap / Lakes Basin / Hawkins Pass / South Fork Imnaha / North Fork Imnaha / Tenderfoot Pass / Polaris Pass / Lakes Basin / Carper Pass / Minam Lake.
This sits at just over 65 miles R/T and should be great for five full days on the trail.

In addition, there are some great loop opportunities at the south end of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. Down around TFJ some nice, varying loops can be made combining the PCT with any combination of Lake of the Woods/Marion Lake/Blue Lake/Santiam Lake trails.

And an area that's still on my list to explore fully is the area between Three Sisters and Diamond Peak. There are dozens of trails in this area that could form countless multi-day loops but my specific knowledge of the area is lacking. If you play it right it looks like you could form a 150+ mile loop without any overlap. I am planning to do a 3 day loop in the area this summer, and I will post a TR about it.

olderthanIusedtobe
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Re: Great PNW Multi-day Backpacking Loops

Post by olderthanIusedtobe » April 25th, 2019, 2:21 pm

drm wrote:
April 24th, 2019, 11:53 am
In my humble opinion, anybody who does this loop and doesn't find the time for the spur to Image Lake and the Miners Ridge lookout is certifiably insane, assuming they have any idea of what they are missing, of course.
Totally agree. On a different trip (Suiattle River to PCT and then southbound) I tried to talk a north bound thru hiker into using Miners Ridge/Image Lake as an alternate route. The thru hiker glanced at his PCT map, didn't see what I was talking about on there, then just gave me a blank look. I can't believe that isn't an official alternate route like Eagle Creek is (or was before it got torched).

Additionally the side trip to High Pass/Triad Lake area is also fantastic and should not be missed. I understand sometimes there is a steep snow patch that can block progress, but you can still get in several good miles of ridge top roaming before that point.

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texasbb
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Re: Great PNW Multi-day Backpacking Loops

Post by texasbb » April 25th, 2019, 5:14 pm

olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
April 25th, 2019, 2:21 pm
Additionally the side trip to High Pass/Triad Lake area is also fantastic and should not be missed.
+1

I actually like that better than Mirror Lake, though it's not as easy to consider an alternate PCT route.

And teachpdx's Wallowas route is outstanding (I've done half+ of it).

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