The Breathtaking Views on Washington’s Greatest Hikes
Part of living in the Pacific Northwest is weather, but it also means living in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the nation. If you’re like most Washingtonians, though, you may not have ventured into those hills. Here’s a quick guide to the best hikes for the best views, all of them just outside Monroe.
At only seven miles total, Little Bandera is one of the hidden gems of Washington. Typically uncrowded, the trail branches off Ira Spring, which is much more travelled. Be prepared for a fairly steep climb as the path will send you up nearly 3,000 feet in a short amount of time. The views of the nearby mountains make it absolutely worthwhile.
Chelan Lakeshore Trail
If you prefer something a bit longer and steadier, check out Chelan Lake. On the eastern side of Mount Baker is the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. Here you can park and then canoe, hike, or just stroll about. If you’re up for a challenge, though, the Chelan Lakeshore Trail is 17 miles with a gain of 1,600 to 2,200 feet, depending on where you start from. The mountain peaks, the blue lakes, and the abundant wildflowers are astounding, but the real treat is Stehekin, a picturesque town that has no road access whatsoever.
Because not all of us are great hikers, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the views. The full Cascade Loop is a 400-mile scenic highway. The Route 20 portion of it from Rockport takes you through a different world. North Cascades, Ross Lake, and Lake Chelan are all big stars on this charming trek.