NW WA Day Trips

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AtlasBound

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797
Washington
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Ryan
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Something
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23291

I'm looking for recommendations on day trips in the northwest WA area. In particular, the general North Cascades National Park and Mt. Baker areas or anywhere in that area. I'd be willing to consider the Olympic National Park area as well (the national parks are general reference markers). I'm looking for places that are nice drives, easy to navigate, and have great views. I'm not looking for 4x4 trails or overly difficult trails. I'm new to the region and just trying to learn the area by exploring some of the "easier" areas to get to. I have a Ram 1500 4x4 so it's capable of getting around a lot of places but right now I'm looking to keep it simple.

I appreciate any recommendations you have.
 

Bruce Pettersen

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I recently moved from the nw where I had spent about 45 years. The overland bound community is not very strong or even exists in the nw. Baker is a day trip on a decent highway. Everywhere you go on the west side is plagued by traffic. However, if you plan for that it’s okay. I’ll get back to you, bkpettersen@gmail.com I don’t get in here too often.

The State department of tourism does a decent job of outlining the States places to go.
 
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Shakes355

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It's not overland, but you should start with a day trip up SR20 to Winthrop, also known as the North Cascade Highway. Great drive. Wish I had done it sooner when I first moved here.

Another nice drive is to the summit of My Baker. Take 542 until it stops.

Most of the cool stuff in Whatcom county tends to be accessible mostly by hiking. It's big country and forest roads generally terminate in trailheads. If hiking is what you're after, I recommend scouring the National Parks website for the area you want to explore and then check out the Washington Trails Association (WTA- they have an app too) for pertinent information.
 

mtn

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Each section of the WABDR should easily fit in a day. My favorites are sections 2, 4 and the southernmost part of 5. Washington Backcountry Discovery Route (WABDR) Map & Information

If you decide on section 2 this time of year I suggest picking the bypass on Bethel ridge unless you have both a chain saw and either a winch or a buddy with a tow strap.
 

M Rose

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I recently moved from the nw where I had spent about 45 years. The overland bound community is not very strong or even exists in the nw. Baker is a day trip on a decent highway. Everywhere you go on the west side is plagued by traffic. However, if you plan for that it’s okay. I’ll get back to you, bkpettersen@gmail.com I don’t get in here too often.

The State department of tourism does a decent job of outlining the States places to go.
The OB community doesn’t exist in the NW??? The NW is one of the strongest OB regions.

@AtlasBound check out the Greater Seattle area virtual campfire

Also a lot of trip reports for the areas you are looking at going. I would also contact @Gabriel Bozeman and @Ubiety as they are the member representatives local to the areas you are asking about.
 

AtlasBound

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Ryan
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It's not overland, but you should start with a day trip up SR20 to Winthrop, also known as the North Cascade Highway. Great drive. Wish I had done it sooner when I first moved here.

Another nice drive is to the summit of My Baker. Take 542 until it stops.

Most of the cool stuff in Whatcom county tends to be accessible mostly by hiking. It's big country and forest roads generally terminate in trailheads. If hiking is what you're after, I recommend scouring the National Parks website for the area you want to explore and then check out the Washington Trails Association (WTA- they have an app too) for pertinent information.
Thanks! Those recommendations seem like a good way to get started exploring the area. I'm definitely interested in hiking the area once I figure out some of the better areas to hike. It looks like Picture Lake is up Highway 542 as well.

The OB community doesn’t exist in the NW??? The NW is one of the strongest OB regions.

@AtlasBound check out the Greater Seattle area virtual campfire

Also a lot of trip reports for the areas you are looking at going. I would also contact @Gabriel Bozeman and @Ubiety as they are the member representatives local to the areas you are asking about.
Thanks!

I’ve been thinking about another trip you would definitely enjoy and that’s the Mount Saint Helens trip. There are two ways in. If you have a couple of days do the southerly route.
It's on the list to see. I'd like to go camping around that area as well.


I don't know any particular routes up there, BUT, if you want to learn something about where you are living/going you can start with; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4szl4Ra1ZD3m80wJP40UBA
Nick Zentner is a geology prof at CWU in Ellensburg and focuses on the PNW. Great stuff!
I'll check it out, thanks.
 

MeliMK

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797
Port Orchard, WA, USA
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Melinda
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I would get a Benchmark Atlas, they are the best road maps for the western states. We've gone through 3 in 6 years out here, just driving roads to see where they go. Highway 20 is amazing, as are any of the roads that cross the Cascades. You really can't go wrong , just don't accidently get lost in a tree farm. The forest service pages are super helpful when they are updated about road closures and conditions. But I always fall back on the Benchmark for all our adventures. And if you are wanting to hike www.wta.org is the best resource for trails in WA hands down. Detailed hike descriptions, updated trail reports (and roads to get there). You can search by region, distance, anything really.

Bang for your buck you should check out the road to Twin Lakes (NF 3065) off the Mount Baker Highway. Its a fun road to get up to the lakes, and an amazing fairly easy hike to a lookout once you get there. I would try going on a weekday if possible, or at least early as ppl park like idiots on the road if they can't get their rig all the way to the top. You can totally make it in yours, you'll just have to make a few extra turns on the switchbacks. There are camp spots all around the lake and you can camp in the lookout (its first come first served). Pit toilets up there too. If its not fully accessible it should be soon. We always take out of towners up there, even the ones scared of heights. Another fun road is the road to Harts Pass (NF 5400). We love heading out there, usually less people, and you can hike right out of the camp grounds along the PCT. It gets you up high in the mountains so the hiking is easy at that point.
 

AtlasBound

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Member III

797
Washington
First Name
Ryan
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Something
Member #

23291

I would get a Benchmark Atlas, they are the best road maps for the western states. We've gone through 3 in 6 years out here, just driving roads to see where they go. Highway 20 is amazing, as are any of the roads that cross the Cascades. You really can't go wrong , just don't accidently get lost in a tree farm. The forest service pages are super helpful when they are updated about road closures and conditions. But I always fall back on the Benchmark for all our adventures. And if you are wanting to hike www.wta.org is the best resource for trails in WA hands down. Detailed hike descriptions, updated trail reports (and roads to get there). You can search by region, distance, anything really.

Bang for your buck you should check out the road to Twin Lakes (NF 3065) off the Mount Baker Highway. Its a fun road to get up to the lakes, and an amazing fairly easy hike to a lookout once you get there. I would try going on a weekday if possible, or at least early as ppl park like idiots on the road if they can't get their rig all the way to the top. You can totally make it in yours, you'll just have to make a few extra turns on the switchbacks. There are camp spots all around the lake and you can camp in the lookout (its first come first served). Pit toilets up there too. If its not fully accessible it should be soon. We always take out of towners up there, even the ones scared of heights. Another fun road is the road to Harts Pass (NF 5400). We love heading out there, usually less people, and you can hike right out of the camp grounds along the PCT. It gets you up high in the mountains so the hiking is easy at that point.
Thank you! I looked up Twin Lakes and it looks like that would make a great weekend. I'm going to look into this a little more, including how hard the road is, and plan a trip up there.

As a side note, I know up in the area there are huts, or maybe old fire lookouts (or both) that people will hike up to and camp in. I'd be interested in checking out some of those at some point a well.
 
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MeliMK

Rank III
Member

Member III

797
Port Orchard, WA, USA
First Name
Melinda
Last Name
Killian
Member #

21740

I would get a Benchmark Atlas, they are the best road maps for the western states. We've gone through 3 in 6 years out here, just driving roads to see where they go. Highway 20 is amazing, as are any of the roads that cross the Cascades. You really can't go wrong , just don't accidently get lost in a tree farm. The forest service pages are super helpful when they are updated about road closures and conditions. But I always fall back on the Benchmark for all our adventures. And if you are wanting to hike www.wta.org is the best resource for trails in WA hands down. Detailed hike descriptions, updated trail reports (and roads to get there). You can search by region, distance, anything really.

Bang for your buck you should check out the road to Twin Lakes (NF 3065) off the Mount Baker Highway. Its a fun road to get up to the lakes, and an amazing fairly easy hike to a lookout once you get there. I would try going on a weekday if possible, or at least early as ppl park like idiots on the road if they can't get their rig all the way to the top. You can totally make it in yours, you'll just have to make a few extra turns on the switchbacks. There are camp spots all around the lake and you can camp in the lookout (its first come first served). Pit toilets up there too. If its not fully accessible it should be soon. We always take out of towners up there, even the ones scared of heights. Another fun road is the road to Harts Pass (NF 5400). We love heading out there, usually less people, and you can hike right out of the camp grounds along the PCT. It gets you up high in the mountains so the hiking is easy at that point.
Thank you! I looked up Twin Lakes and it looks like that would make a great weekend. I'm going to look into this a little more, including how hard the road is, and plan a trip up there.

As a side note, I know up in the area there are huts, or maybe old fire lookouts (or both) that people will hike up to and camp in. I'd be interested in checking out some of those at some point a well.
Yeah there is a lookout on Winchester Mountain you can camp in. It's first come first served. There is also space up top to tent camp if the lookout is occupied.

There are lots of old lookouts like that throughout the region you can stay in. A few Google searches & you'll be set!
 
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