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There is an astronomical amount of hikes in Washington State (the Pacific Northwest - PNW) & you can literally spend a lifetime trying to experience them all (no joke). In this section of our travel blog, we are going to list our Top 5 favorite hiking trails in Washington State, more specifically the SW corner (& yes... we might be biased) 😜
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Instead of me creating a massive, never-ending list of hikes in Washington State, I'm going to list the best hiking trails in Washington State but... with a twist... they are some of our favorites. And more specifically, we are targeting the SW corner of Washington State (primarily hikes in the Gifford Pinchot) and I will try to give you as much insight as possible!
My brothers and I, (Ashley), grew up in the middle of 'nowhere'... like 'no-electricity nowhere' (ponder that for a minute)... and our form of entertainment was exploring the great outdoors! I actually introduced a few of these hikes to Nate and Blake... needless to say, they approved 😉
Let's start with the most recent hike that we just discovered and fell in love with...
Hike Highlights: (see pictures here)
QUICK TIP: There are 2 small parking lots & they fill up quickly, so go early to get a spot... especially on the weekends!
QUICK TIP #2: If you park at the second parking lot, instead of walking back down the hill to gain entry to the main trailhead, you can walk uphill towards the camping area and gain entry there (its a little closer) than walking downhill.
BEACON ROCK near Carson WA & directly across the road from Hamilton Mountain
QUICK TIP: This is a VERY busy hike, best to go during the week or early am on the weekends.
QUICK TIP #2: When it rains, this climb up & back down can get SUPER slippery, be cautious if you get into a wet day on your hike!
APE CAVES near Cougar WA & Mount Saint Helens
(#2 for our favorite hiking trails in Washington State)
QUICK TIP: Bring warm clothes (even during the summer months). There is a bit of a cold draft that runs thru the cave and it stays about 40 degrees year-round!
QUICK TIP #2: Make sure to wear sturdy shoes and watch your step! For the most part on the 'lower' route, there is flat walkable ground (not the case for the 'upper' route, but there are also larger rocks and boulders all over! They sneak up out of know where and will help you pack for your trip... your trip down to the ground🤣🤦♀️
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LAVA CANYON near Cougar WA & Mount Saint Helens (also close to Ape Caves)
QUICK TIP: This is a longer hike and lots of great places to stop and take a look around, so be sure to pack some snacks and water for the trek if you plan on going the entire hike
QUICK TIP #2: The road to this hike does close down during the winter months (snowed in), so be sure to check the Gifford Pinchot website to make sure it's open before you make the drive!
LEWIS RIVER FALLS (upper, middle & lower falls) between Cougar WA & Trout Lake WA
(#1 for our favorite hikes in Washington)
QUICK TIP: Sometimes, if we didn't want to go the full loop of 8+ miles, we would leave one car parked at the Lower Falls, take a second car to the Upper Falls and then park it there and hike back down to the Lower Falls. Yes, you would have to drive back up to get the second car, but you get the gist.
QUICK TIP #2: These waterfalls are EXTREMELY busy and the parking lots fill up VERY quickly, during the week is best to go, or go early in the am during the weekends to ensure you get a parking spot
QUICK TIP #3: This by far is our #1 hiking trail in Washington State, and we highly recommend you check at least ONE of the waterfalls out! Also, on your way to the falls, there are multiple short hikes that you will easily pass by and only take about 15 minutes to walk!
One last QUICK TIP... An excellent website or app that we use is called 'All Trails'. You can look this up on the internet or download the app (it's free) and not only find hikes in Washington, but you can literally find hiking trails ANYWHERE in the US!
And as always, if you enjoyed my rambling in this travel blog, and would like to hear more, be sure to sign up for our blog posts. And if you REALLY like us, we would so much appreciate you sharing this with someone else ❤
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Thank you for your trust & Happy Adventures!
- Ashley, (Nate & Blake)
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