All tagged National Forest

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area: Our Recommendations for Places to See

The river canyon known as the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington/Oregon border is one of only nine National Scenic Areas within the United States. Stretching from Portland and Vancouver in the west, all the way to Wasco and Klickitat counties in the east is the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Passed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, this became the second scenic area of its kind. The 292,500-acres of land contain a wealth of history, gorgeous landscapes, and interesting places to see and explore. This is one road trip you do not want to miss!

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to Sheep Lake

This easy hike along the Pacific Crest Trail leads to the beautiful Sheep Lake. It's a pretty short trek, just under an hour for us even though we stopped for lots of photos along the way. It's easy to see why the area is so popular. The water is clear and looks inviting; the peaks, meadows, and tress make for a beautiful backdrop; and the peacefulness throughout the area makes it hard to leave. With this being an easy to reach trailhead, as well as an easy hike, everyone should make it out here at least once. The rewards for the lack of difficulty are hard to find elsewhere.

A Foggy Hike to Glacier View

To the west of Mt. Rainier lies Glacier View, a 5,450' peak which normally provides wonderful views of some of Rainier's magnificent glaciers. During our hike the weather was cloudy with fog, which prevented us from seeing much of anything in the distance. Upon reaching our destination, however, we were more than satisfied. It appeared as though we were on a ship, sailing through a sky of mist.

Hiking to Lake Christine in Glacier View Wilderness

When is summer going to arrive in the Pacific Northwest? That's a question we keep asking ourselves. Earlier this week we were once again met with rain, clouds, and chilly temperatures during our hike. We were hoping for views of Mt. Rainier's glaciers but the majority of our journey through Glacier View Wilderness left us with seeing no more than the tops of nearby trees. This certainly didn't stop us, and shouldn't stop you, from trekking to the beautiful Lake Christine.

A Star-Spangled Hike to Summit Lake

In the Clearwater Wilderness, at 5,400 feet high, lies a pristine, calm, and dark blue alpine lake. Reaching this magical area in the early summer months will have you hiking your way through forest, switchbacks, and trail junctions, as well as passing other lakes, fields of avalanche and glacier lilies, and if you're lucky, wildlife. During our visit we were accompanied by clouds hanging right around the treeline. However, we've seen photos of a nearly-cloudless day there and the views are amazing. Nevertheless, our trip was a great one and the clouds that day simply give us another excuse to revisit soon.

Exploring Ape Cave

A 13,042' long lava tube lies beneath the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, south of Mt. Saint Helens. It was created by a rare eruption that sent fluid basaltic lava flowing down the southern flank of the volcano for months, if not a year. The top of this lava flow hardened, forming the ground today that rests atop the cave, while the lava was free to remain flowing under it. This is the third longest lava tube in North America, and the longest in the country, which was created during an eruption roughly 2,000 years ago.

Hiking High Rock Lookout in the Pacific Northwest

High Rock is a 5,685' prominent peak located on Sawtooth Ridge which provides beautiful, unobstructed, 360 degree views as far as the eye can see. Located on the rock is an old fire lookout, one of only three remaining in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which was built in 1929. The north face of the rock has a 600' sheer drop, without any protection from falling. Explore this area, but do so carefully.

Franklin Falls

This weekend we headed to Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to visit Franklin Falls. Located along I-90, just before the slopes of Snoqualmie Pass, it’s about an hour’s drive from Seattle. This is one of the most visited waterfalls in the state. It’s easy to understand why once you see it.

Heybrook Lookout Trail

On the western edge of the Central Cascade mountain range is Heybrook Lookout Trail #1070. It traverses through a second-growth forest that leads to a seven flight observation deck overlooking many nearby peaks, a close town, and more. The 900-foot elevation gain, just over a mile in length, had us catching our breath more than a few times on the way up. The views from the top on a sunny and clear day made the hike well worth it.