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10 Best Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

10 Best Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

From spiny granite peaks and glacial snowfields to azure blue high-elevation lakes and fairytale rainforests, the diverse climates and terrain of the Pacific Northwest comprise one of the most unique wild regions in the world. While you could probably spend a lifetime on trails in the greater area and still not see it all, we’ve rounded up ten of the most awe-inspiring hikes in the Pacific Northwest for every type of adventure, whether you’re craving a challenging thru-hike in the alpine or a mellower riverside jaunt with a swimming-hole reward. No matter which routes you find yourself on, they’ll surely leave a lasting impression. Read on for the beta basics so you can start dreaming of- and planning!- your next Pacific Northwest hike right away.



Trail of Ten Falls | Silver Falls State Park, Oregon


Difficulty – Moderate

Length – 8.7 miles

Elevation Gain – 800 feet

Type – Loop

Pets allowed - No


Just over an hour south of Portland, The Trail of Ten Falls takes you through a verdant, ombre-green rainforest bursting with overhanging hemlocks and Douglas firs, basalt passageways sculpted by volcanic activity, and as the name implies, ten super impressive waterfalls. You can start the hike at any of four different trailheads, since the trail is actually a combination of several shorter hikes in Silver Falls State Park. Regardless of your entry trailhead, the loop passes by ten waterfalls ranging from 27 to 178 feet tall, a few of which you can even walk behind for a full sensory experience!

The Enchantments Trail | Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington


Difficulty – Difficult

Length – 20 miles +/- 

Elevation Gain - 4,950 feet

Type – Point to Point

Pets allowed - No


Considered one of Washington’s most impressive hikes, the Enchantments Trail, located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness near Leavenworth, will leave hikers inspired with bright blue snowmelt-fed lakes, prime glacier views, and alpine meadows blanketed with springtime wildflowers and golden larches. But be warned: you have to work for this slice of paradise. It’s a long trail, and there are several mountain passes with relentlessly steep, rocky approaches, including the hike’s high point of Aasgard Pass, which will challenge even the fittest of hikers with 2000 feet of elevation gain in under a mile. Trust that every mile is worth it, though.

Tamolitch Blue Pool via McKenzie River Trail | Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Difficulty – Easy

Length – 4.2 miles

Elevation Gain – 300 feet

Type - Out and Back

Pets allowed – Yes, leashed only


This friendly, fern-strewn trail meanders alongside Oregon’s beautiful McKenzie River, passing through old-growth forest, volcanic rock and lava cliffs dotted with moss and lichen, and a picturesque footbridge that crosses a creek. It ends at none other than the crystal clear Tamolitch Pool (aptly known just as the Blue Pool) which is fed by water channels created by an underground lava field- how cool is that?! If you’re feeling daring, you can reach the shores of the Blue Pool via a short but sharply-inclined path and some careful boulder hopping, and take a regenerative plunge in the chilly (like 35 degrees chilly!) water.

Sawtooth Lake via Iron Creek Stanley Lake Trail | Sawtooth Wilderness Area, Idaho

Difficulty - Moderate

Length – 10 miles

Elevation Gain – 1850 feet

Type – Out and Back

Pets allowed – Yes, but leashed during peak summer


Just minutes from the charming mountain town of Stanley, Idaho, this trail is no walk in the park, but rewards with picture-perfect alpine lakes and unmatched views of the dramatic, shark-fin peaks that the Sawtooth Mountains are known for. Although the hike is long and very rocky at times, it’s a fairly steady incline that offers vistas around nearly every corner. The main attraction, of course, is Sawtooth Lake, which sits at 8,500 feet right under the base of towering Mount Regan. If time allows, we recommend one of the short side-trip trails around the lake to soak in the views from every angle.

Joffre Lakes | Joffre Lakes Provincial Park | British Columbia

Difficulty - Moderate

Length – 5.7 mile

Elevation Gain –1300 feet  +/-

Type – Out and Back

Pets allowed – No


This super scenic trail in the greater Squamish area offers relatively easy access to the glacier-fed Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre Lakes and the vibrant blue-green waters they’re known for; and we don’t exaggerate when we say that they’re a sight that have to be seen to be believed! The Joffre Lakes trail route winds steadily uphill through forested woodlands, fast-flowing streams, waterfalls, and vast valleys carved by ice, and there are several viewpoints along the way that provide a supreme window into the greater snow-capped Coast Mountain range. Upon reaching the pinnacle of Upper Joffre Lake, you’ll even get treated to larger-than-life views of the Matier Glacier!

Ramona Falls Trail | Mt. Hood Wilderness, Oregon

Difficulty – Easy, with a moderate river crossing

Length – 7.5 miles +/-

Elevation Gain – 1100 feet

Type - Loop

Pets allowed - Yes


For a gentle rainforest hike with incredible views of Mt. Hood, the Ramona Falls Trail truly delivers the goods. The hike follows a lush upper and lower river canyon carved by the powerful Sandy River, which thunders at your side for half the loop until you reach the cascading 120-foot Ramona Waterfall. Along the way, pass through a carpet of moss and a forest of soaring hemlocks, pines, and Douglas firs that open up to amazing glimpses of Oregon’s iconic stratovolcano in the distance. Note that the trail requires a moderate river crossing in one section, by either walking across fallen logs or fording the Sandy River if water levels allow.

Skyline Trail | Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Difficulty - Moderate

Length – 6 miles +/-

Elevation Gain – 1800 feet

Type - Loop

Pets allowed - No


The swoon-worthy Skyline Trail follows a mix of dirt and rock footpaths in the national park’s “Paradise” region to climb halfway up the southern face of Washington’s queen volcano, Mount Rainier. En route, you’ll stroll through pine forests, sprawling sub-alpine meadows, waterfalls, snowfields (even at the peak of summer!), and be gifted with ever-changing views of peaks like Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. You’ll also pass the Stevens-Van Trump Monument, which honors the first ascent of Rainer in the late 1800s. In the end, you’ll get so close to Mount Rainer that you may even hear its glacier cracking!

Stevens Lakes Trail | Idaho Panhandle National Forest, Idaho

Difficulty – Moderate

Length – 5.5 miles +/-

Elevation Gain – 1770 feet

Type – Out and Back

Pets allowed – Yes, on leash


The Stevens Lake Trail, nestled in the Bitterroot Mountains near the Idaho-Montana border, is a favorite in the region because the varied terrain truly offers a bit of it all: easy access into the high country with just enough challenge, an exciting water crossing at Willow Creek, dense pine and larch woodlands, glacially carved cirques and snow-capped ridgelines, and jaw-dropping views of Upper and Lower Stevens Lakes in the valley below Stevens Peak. The first part of the trail offers an opportunity to view some cool mining relics of years past, too.

Panorama Ridge | Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia

Difficulty - Difficult

Length – 18.5 miles +/-

Elevation Gain – 5000 +/-

Type - Loop

Pets allowed – No


If challenging high-elevation scrambles filled with glaciers, alpine lakes, mountain meadows and wildlife-dotted valleys make your heart stir, the bucket-list-worthy Panorama Ridge Trail is for you. Clocking in at nearly 19 miles, it’s a lengthy hike that’ll make your legs burn and heart race, but one that traverses some of the most spectacular and varying terrain British Columbia has to offer. Starting off with switchbacks in a forested canopy, the trees thin out at Taylors Meadows to showcase incredible mountain vistas as the trail works up in elevation to Panorama Ridge. There, rest assured you’ll be rewarded with an unrivaled look at the expansive blue of Garibaldi Lake, Table Mountain, Black Tusk Peak and the Garibaldi Mountain Range.

Angel’s Rest | Shepperd’s Dell State Natural Area, Oregon

Difficulty – Easy to Moderate

Length – 4.8 miles

Elevation Gain – 1500 feet

Type – Out and Back

Pets allowed – Yes, on leash


Boasting a fairly short mileage and a modest incline but a summit viewpoint that will leave you awestruck, the Angel’s Rest Trail is a favorite of Portland locals and visitors alike because it strikes the perfect balance of workout and reward. A forested, at times rocky, slope of switchbacks passes over small creeks and two beautiful waterfalls while working its way toward an impressive bluff, which is the real star of the show. At the top, you’re treated to a remarkable, all-encompassing view of the Columbia River Gorge, the greater Portland area, and distant mountains of the Pacific Northwest- not to mention a pretty otherworldly overhead perspective of the Columbia River.

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