The Pacific Northwest. This place is adrenaline, danger and beauty all combined into one epic corner of the world. This area is roughly known to cover Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northern California and British Columbia, Canada. The PNW has everything an adventure lover could want – mountain ranges, rugged coastlines, hidden lakes and dense forests – just to name a few!
Here, there are hundreds (if not thousands!) of miles of outdoor trails to explore and enjoy year-round. In this post, we’re sharing ten Pacific Northwest hikes with drop-dead gorgeous views to inspire you on your next adventure. These hikes range from easy to very hard, but all of them are sure to leave an epic impression on you. Grab your hiking boots and let’s get outside!
1. SAMUEL H. BOARDMAN
Located on the very southern coast of Oregon, Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor is a 12-mile stretch known for its rugged, beautiful coastline and rock formations. There are lots of hikes to choose from, but some of the most popular are the 27-mile Oregon Coast Trail for backpackers and the Natural Bridges hike that overlook some of the most spectacular natural arches and blowholes on the Oregon coast. Come with a rain jacket because this place is known to have some pretty unpredictable weather!
2. PALOUSE FALLS
This Eastern Washington hidden gem is tucked away in a little state park, hours away from any major city. Remnants of glacial flooding in the last ice age, this waterfall stands at 186 feet and dumps an insane amount of water during the springtime. A little fun fact: it’s Washington’s state waterfall!
Hike into the valley to get up close and personal with the rushing water. However, be cautious – this “social path” is not a WTA issued trail and has loose rocks and steep areas on the descent. If you’re not feeling up for the adrenaline rush, there are plenty of overlooks from the top that give you an equally stunning view during sunrise and sunset!
3. RATTLESNAKE LEDGE
Just 30 minutes outside of Seattle, this hike is accessible for trail-lovers of any age and skill. It’s also a popular place to hike with families and dogs! While the Rattlesnake Ledge trail is a consistent and long climb up (1100 feet in 2 miles!) the views at the top are worth every step. Looking down from the top, you will see Rattlesnake Lake and views of Mount Washington and Mount Si.
We suggest coming on a weekday for fewer crowds and a chance to enjoy some solitude at the top!
4. LA PUSH SECOND BEACH
If you’re craving summer sunsets and camping on the beach, look no further than La Push, Washington. From a parking lot right off La Push Road, start your easy 0.7 mile journey through the forest to coastal magic. There are three beaches conveniently named “First”, “Second” and “Third”, with Second Beach being the most popular beach for camping and exploring.
If you are interested in an overnight stay, you must get a permit from any Olympic National Park ranger station, and use their provided bear canister to store any items with a strong scent. La Push is open for day use as well, and can make for a fun afternoon at the beach! (Oh, and if you’re wondering, there are no vampires allowed!)
5. MOUNT STORM KING
If all these hikes are “stunning” then this one needs to be re-labeled as EPIC. This Olympic National Park 4.5 round trip hike is frequently described as difficult, dangerous, and astonishingly beautiful. Beginning at the trailhead of Storm King Ranger Station, you must ascend 2,100 feet in the stretch of only 2 .25 miles.
Near the top are a series of climbing ropes to help you keep your balance on the steep and slippery cliffside. Only the bravest of the brave reach the top-most overlook, and the views are absolutely worth all the times you said to yourself, “don’t look down”. Here, you can enjoy sweeping views of Lake Crescent and the Strait of Juan De Fuca in the distance (Hi, Canada!).
6. SCENIC HOT SPRINGS
Deep in the heart of the Cascade Mountain Range is a little hot springs that skiers from Mount Baker have frequented since the 1980s. Back in the day, soakers carried lumber and supplies up by hand to create a magical oasis in the middle of the deep wilderness. These tubs take about an hour to reach on foot, and may take a bit longer in the winter months. Oh, and clothing is optional! This hot spring is located on private property, and scheduled reservations are required to visit. You can reserve a spot at this website.
7. CAPE KIWANDA
Cape Kiwanda is located on the north coast of Oregon, just south of Cannon Beach and about a two-hour drive from Portland. Some fun elements of this place are the ability to drive your car on the beach, exploring the dunes, and having a front and center view of Chief Kiwanda Rock from the beach parking lot.
From the beach, you have the option of taking the entire 2.2 mile beach trail starting at Pacific Avenue Trailhead, or simply exploring the Great Dune on the north side of the beach. This place can get a little crowded, especially in the summertime. Taking a quick hike over the sand dunes will give you the solitude (and views!) with much less distraction.
8. TOKETEE FALLS
Nestled deep in the Umpqua National Forest, Toketee Falls is one of the most famous falls in Oregon State. The columnar basalt formations with a two-tiered falls makes this place a unique and beautiful scene that can’t be missed. Toketee Falls is extremely easy to reach – hike only 0.8 miles from the parking lot to arrive at the viewpoint!
9. DEVIL’S PUNCHBOWL
Another Oregon Coast gem worth visiting is called Devil’s Punchbowl. It got its name because during high tide, the “bowl” fills up with violently churning water that crash against the rock walls – which you can view safely from above. When low tide comes, you can take the trail down to the beach and explore the inside of the bowl and peer into the tide pools, see marine life, and watch the huge waves that command this area.
This isn’t as much of a hike as it is a seaside stroll, though during the 1.8 mile round trip, you’ll be climbing up and around tons of fallen sandstone rocks.
10. CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT
This place is everything BUT disappointing. Located in the southwest corner of Washington state, this state park includes 8 miles of hiking trails, a lighthouse, jetty, and even a secret beach! You can climb down to this cove (pictured below) and pretend you’re in the movie scene from Moonrise Kingdom (though, the actual beach is in Rhode Island).
Getting your hiking boots on already? We don’t blame you! There are so many gorgeous Pacific Northwest hikes to discover – and we only shared ten with you! We hope this list gives you the kickstart you need to plan your next adventure, and inspires you to get outside in our beautiful corner of the world. Which one of these hikes gets you the most excited? Tell us in the comments below!
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit the Pacific Northwest. If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.
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