On our way home from backpacking Ediza and Thousand Island Lakes in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, we added a day for Lassen Volcanic National Park. Because of smoke from wildfires, we decided on a day of short walks and hikes combined with stops at various viewpoints, rather than climbing Lassen Peak.
For the first part of our July 2021 Cascades and Sierra Nevada roadtrip, we visited central Oregon, stopping in Bend, Newberry Volcanic National Monument, and Crater Lake National Park. Each of these destinations merited more time than we had, but we still enjoyed the three days we had to explore.
One summer at Cold River Camp, another guest presented on backpacking the Muir Trail and through the Ansel Adams Wilderness. This presentation inspired our summer 2016 backpacking trip from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley. The image that most stayed in my mind, though, was a sunset photo at Thousand Island Lake.
Kyle & I finally visited in July 2021, stopping at Newberry National Volcanic Monument and Crater Lake National Park on the way there, and Lassen Volcanic National Park on the way back. This made for a one-week road trip with three days of backpacking in the middle.
Compared to the photo that inspired our trip, the sunset over Thousand Island Lake sunset was muted, but it was still excellent.
While a graduate student, I was fortunate to tack a couple of days in Yosemite National Park onto the end of a conference. That was enough time to hike up Half Dome (this was in the days before permits) and to explore Yosemite Valley. While stunning, I knew I had just scratched the surface of the Yosemite’s wonders.
I later saw a slide show of a hike along the John Muir Trail, which further motivated me to return. Kyle and I talked with friends–Joe and Jeremy–about a proposed trip. We decided to focus on the section from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley. This would take us to Cathedral Lakes, Sunrise Lakes, Clouds Rest, and Half Dome.
We set about applying to permits by fax. On our third try, we secured permits for our desired route for 21-24 July 2016.
Over the past few summers, my family has settled into a bit of a rotation between a week hiking in the Northwest and a week at Cold River Camp in the White Mountains. For 2018, we decided on a week of day hikes in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. Despite smokey skies from wildfires, we had a wonderful time.
In January 2018, we spent a long weekend on Oahu to seek some sun and warmth as a break from Seattle’s winter. In contrast to our past Hawaii trips to Kauai, the Big Island, and Maui, this was a relaxed vacation, with just a few short hikes and a good amount of time reading on beaches and in other beautiful places. Oh, and a chance of missiles.
After visiting Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands on previous long fall weekends, Bryce Canyon called to us as the next destination. I had fond memories of visiting Bryce as a child, and Kyle had never been. Despite both of us having colds, we enjoyed three days of hiking in Bryce and a stop at Cedar Breaks National Monument on the way back to the airport.
Friends are visiting Seattle from late June to early July. They recently asked:
I was wondering if there were a few places that you could recommend for some epic hiking. Your flickr account is filled with gorgeous photos of spots that are easy to get to from Seattle, so deciding based on photos seems daunting. We’re thinking of doing three days of hiking (and we’d stay in a cabin overnight) in one or two locations. We’ll have a rental car also. We’re just looking for gorgeous scenery, and up to a moderate level of hiking difficulty. Are there 4 or 5 favorite hikes that fit this that you’d recommend?
This is a challenging time for planning a hiking trip. Some years, the northwest will have warmed up months earlier and the snow will be gone. Other years, many of our favorite trails may still be covered in snow. So, unless you are prepared to deal with snow, you need a base with some different options. There are a few that should fit that bill. Read on for some suggestions of where to stay and corresponding hikes, in both the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.