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Best Northwest Summer Hikes of 2019

Our rainfall pays off during our lush green summers. See the Northwest right.

Bridal Veil Falls

Length: 4 miles round-trip
Passes needed: Northwest Forest Pass
Gain: 1000 ft.
Highest Point: 1600 ft.

While very busy on the weekends, Bridal Veil Falls makes for a gorgeous weekday excursion. It’s family friendly and your leashed dog is welcome, too. Bridal Veil Creek pours dramatically over a 100-foot rock face to create the waterfall. Be aware: it’s a powerful spray.

Read the WTA Guide.

Heather Lake

Length: 4.6 miles roundtrip
Passes Needed: Northwest Forest Pass
Gain: 1034 ft.
Highest Point: 2430 ft.

A great alternative to the Mount Pilchuck hike if you want something less strenuous (you’ll still have a great view). Start early to beat the crowds who flock to this very popular lower-elevation trail. As you ascend, you’ll pass by old growth trees and small waterfalls on your way to photo-perfect Heather Lake.

Read the WTA guide.

Mount Pilchuck

Length: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Passes needed: Northwest Forest Pass
Gain: 2300 ft.
Highest Point: 5327 ft.

This is an intermediate-level hike but none the less, extremely popular for its incredible views, so arrive early for a less crowded trail experience. Bring plenty of water and be sure to sign the trailhead register before you head up. On a clear day, the views of Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and the Olympics from the volunteer-maintained historic lookout are breathtaking.

Read the WTA guide.

Lake 22

Length: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Passes needed: Northwest Forest Pass
Gain: 1350 ft.
Highest Point: 2400 ft.

This lush rainforest trail is typically wet (except at the height of summer; read a few trip reports before you go) with abundant ferns, moss and berry bushes, plus some small creeks to cross, so waterproof boots can be a plus. As you ascend, you’ll see waterfalls and wildflowers. On a clear day, views include Whitehorse Mountain, Three Fingers and Mount Pilchuck. For novice hikers, this is a very accessible trail with plenty of sensory rewards. Be sure to respect the designated parking; blocking vehicles will be towed.

Read the WTA guide.

Monte Cristo Ghost Town

Length: 8.0 miles roundtrip
Passes needed: Northwest Forest Pass
Gain: 700 ft.
Highest Point: 2800 ft.

The route to what remains of this 1890s mining town starts on a mostly flat, now closed road followed by a log crossing which requires some caution. Arriving at the historic site, try to imagine what it was like during the short-lived boom times when thousands of men were here mining and homesteading.

Read the WTA guide.

Erika Olson