Hiking Cascadia, The Best of the Northwest

We started this blog to keep a record of all our adventures, so we can look back in a 5, 10, 20 years and remember all the amazing places we've been able to explore in the beautiful PNW. To help friends and family follow in our footsteps, we've written detailed accounts of our favorites like the South Sister, Rattlesnake Ledge and Miner's Ridge. But we wanted to create a space for us to track all our hikes in one place. So below you'll find every hike we've done since launching Larch & Loon. Enjoy!

WASHINGTON

1-90 CORRIDOR

Pacific Northwest Hikes, Mt. Si

MT. SI

The trail begins with steady switchbacks and gets increasingly steeper as you rise to the top. When you reach the haystack you'll be surrounded by views of downtown Seattle, Bellevue, Rainier and the Olympics. For something less strenuous, try Little Si!

Length: 8.0 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 3150 feet     Highest Point: 3900 feet

POO POO POINT

There are sections that are a bit strenuous, but the view from the top is totally worth it and you might even get to watch a paraglider take off! The trail is very dog friendly and at the top there's an open field for furry friends to run, pretty much a puppy paradise.

Length: 3.8 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 1760 feet     Highest Point: 1850 feet

Pacific Northwest Hikes - Rattlesnake Ledge

RATTLESNAKE LEDGE 

One of our favorites since it's where Dustin proposed! After a short 1.9 miles filled with switchbacks you will reach a junction. Rattlesnake Ledge is just to the right, about a hundred yards away! We've continued up to the Middle and Upper Ledge, but haven't made it all the way to East Peak yet which is an additional 2.4 miles each way. Short, sweet and close to Seattle.

Length: 4.0 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 1160 feet     Highest Point: 2078 feet

Mt. Washington 

By heading just a few miles past North Bend you'll avoid the crowds but still get the same panoramic views as Mt. Si and Rattlesnake. A great day hike!

Length: 8.5 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 3250 feet     Highest Point: 4450 feet

Mailbox Peak

MAILBOX PEAK 

This trail is pretty much a Seattleite's right of passage and comes with stunning views of Rainier. 

Length: 9.4 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 4,000 feet     Highest Point: 4,822 feet

SOUTH TIGER MOUNTAIN

A nice year-round moderate climb in the less popular area of Tiger Mountain.

Length: 5.5 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet     Highest Point: 2,014 feet

SNOW LAKE HIKE

We went on a rainy day and still had a good time! 

Length: 7.2 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 1,800 feet     Highest Point: 4,400 feet

SNOQUALMIE LAKE & OTTER FALLS

Great weekend backpacking destination to a picturesque alpine lake with impressive waterfalls along the way.

Length: 17 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 1,900 feet     Highest Point: 3,147 feet

Snoqualmie Tunnel

SNOQUALMIE TUNNEL

The BEST rainy day hike, also known as the John Wayne Trail. Don't forget to bring a headlamp or flashlight!

Length: 5.3 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 0 feet     Highest Point: 2,600 feet

KENDALL KATWALK

A long day hike to an impressive section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Stop by Dru Bru for a beer on your way back to the city!

Length: 12 miles roundtrip  Elevation Gain: 2,600 feet     Highest Point: 5,400 feet

SILVER PEAK

SILVER PEAK

Hike along a portion of the PCT and then a gruelling climb to the top! 

Length: 5.6 miles roundtrip  Elevation Gain: 2,100 feet     Highest Point: 5,605 feet

 

HIGHWAY 2

Lake Serene

LAKE SERENE & BRIDAL VEIL FALLS

After roughly 1 1/2 miles of trekking through thick tree cover you'll reach the trail to Bridal Veil Falls. It's only a half of a mile from there to the falls and definitely worth the extra little jaunt. After returning from the falls you have about 6 more miles to climb to Lake Serene and it is STEEP. The lake is breathtaking and surely worth it!

Length: 8.2 miles roundtrip  Elevation Gain: 2000 feet     Highest Point: 2521 feet

WALLACE FALLS

One of Washington's most well-known waterfalls, Wallace Falls, is just an hour from Seattle on scenic Highway 2. Two miles from the trailhead you'll reach the Lower Falls, a great place to stop for lunch and enjoy the impressive views. Hang in there for another half mile and you'll arrive at the Middle Falls Overlook, another half mile of switchbacks and you'll be at the Upper Falls.

Length: 5.6 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 1300 feet     Highest Point: 1500 feet

Malachite LAKE

One of Washington's most well-known waterfalls, Wallace Falls, is just an hour from Seattle on scenic Highway 2. Two miles from the trailhead you'll reach the Lower Falls, a great place to stop for lunch and enjoy the impressive views. Hang in there for another half mile and you'll arrive at the Middle Falls Overlook, another half mile of switchbacks and you'll be at the Upper Falls.

Length: 8.4 miles roundtrip Elevation Gain: 2,200 feet

 

ENCHANTMENTS

Pacific Northwest Hikes, Colchuck Lake

COLCHUCK LAKE

This hike begins with a gradual climb through dense forest and the closer you get to the lake, the steeper and rockier it gets. Once you reach the lake, continue around the lakeshore for less than a mile and you'll find lots of places to hang out for the day. Stay for a while, take a swim, have a picnic and enjoy the picturesque views.

Length: 8.0 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 2280 feet     Highest Point: 5580 feet

AASGARD PASS

Continue from Colchuck Lake up the treacherous trail another two miles to the basin. With a steep grade and scrambling required I was exhausted at the top though Dustin has continued on from here to Dragontail Peak.

Length: 12.2 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 4400 feet     Highest Point: 7800 feet

 

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK

BURROUGHS MOUNTAIN

Burroughs Mountain is compiled of three crests, each one with a view better than the last. On your 4.5 mile trek to the top, you'll be surrounded by beautiful wildflowers and interesting creatures like pika and marmots. The last stretch of the climb is the steepest, but once you reach the top you'll feel like you could almost touch Mt. Rainier. 

Length: 9.0 miles roundtrip  Elevation Gain: 2600 feet     Highest Point: 7828 feet

 

MOUNTAIN LOOP HIGHWAY

Image Lake, Miner's Ridge

IMAGE LAKE VIA MINER'S RIDGE

With stunning views of Glacier Peak, Washington's 4th tallest mountain, this is a strenuous weekend trip. Read more about our adventure here

Length: 34 miles roundtrip  Elevation Gain: 4,700 feet     Highest Point: 6000 feet

MT. PILCHUCK

Great views and a restored fire lookout about an hour from Seattle.

Length: 5.4 miles roundtrip  Elevation Gain: 2,300 feet     Highest Point: 5,327 feet

Lake 22

LAKE TWENTY-TWO

The best place to find snow in early winter!

Length: 5.4 miles roundtrip  Elevation Gain: 1,350 feet     Highest Point: 2,400 feet

Big Four Ice Caves

An easy stroll to the lowest elevation glacier in the lower 48 states. You'll see people taking their chances and posing under the caves but it's extremely dangerous and not worth the risk. People have lost their lives here.

Length: 2.2 miles roundtrip  Elevation Gain: 220 feet     Highest Point: 1,938 feet

 

CHUCKANUT DRIVE

FRAGRANCE LAKE

A mile of steady hiking through old-growth forest and you'll be happy to reach a downhill section before it steepens again up to the lake where there's a half mile loop trail with stunning views of the lake from all angles. 

Length: 5.5 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 950 feet     Highest Point: 1050 feet

OYSTER DOME

A well marked yet steep trail switchbacks across creeks until you reach a viewpoint and bench a few miles in. Climb higher to Oyster Dome for amazing view of the Puget Sound, Samish Bay below you, Lummi Island and Orcas Island to the right, Anacortes to the left.

Length: 6.5 miles roundtrip  Elevation Gain: 1900 feet     Highest Point: 2025 feet

 

NORTH CASCADES HIGHWAY

Rainy Lake

RAINY LAKE

Bergen's first hike and she did so well! Now's she's a seasoned veteran. 

Length: 2.0 miles roundtrip  Elevation Gain: 70 feet     Highest Point: 4,800 feet

 

SEATTLE

DISCOVERY PARK

Wanting to hit some trails without even leaving the city? Although it's just minutes from Downtown Seattle you'll feel like you are out in the woods as you wander through thick forests. This former military base is now the largest park in the city and has multiple beach access point.

Length: 2.8 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 140 feet     Highest Point: 325 feet

WASHINGTON PARK ARBORETUM

Another great place to get some urban hiking in, the arboretum offers miles of trails that wind through groves of trees and flowering bushes. 

Length: 5.0 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 50 feet     Highest Point: 150 feet

 

OLYMPIA

mima falls

Although the falls are beautiful, you have to listen to the sound of shots firing at a nearby shooting range the entire time. Probably the only hike we wouldn't recommend.

Length: 6.5 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 100 feet     Highest Point: 650 feet

 

OREGON

CENTRAL OREGON

SOUTH SISTER

The route begins with a steep, well defined trail climbing about 1,500 feet to a long plateau above Moraine Lake. You'll walk through beautiful meadows for about a mile but don't get too used to the grade as it won't be long before you are climbing again. From here the terrain rapidly changes are you climb towards the upper reaches of the mountain. Around 9,000 feet you reach a small tarn. This green-colored glacial lake creates a picturesque scene with the surrounding contrasting rocks. From here it's 1,000 feet up loose pumice and ash to the rim of the crater. Then it's only a quick jaunt across the snow-filled crater and you're at the summit at 10,358 feet. 

Length: 11.8 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 5,005 feet     Highest Point: 10,358 feet

LUCKY LAKE

An easy, well established trail that passes the Deschutes River. This proved to be a nice, short day hike and is a great way to experience the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Length: 3.0 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 446 feet     Highest Point: 5,200 feet

 

WILLAMETTE VALLEY

PNW Hikes, Spencer Butte

SPENCER BUTTE

You'll find this little climb just outside of Eugene.

Length: 1.7 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 721 feet     Highest Point: 2,054

 

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE

Tawanamas Falls

TAWANAMAS FALLS

We trekked up to these falls while on a camping trip in Hood Riv

Length: 3.6 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 590 feet

MULTNOMAH FALLS

Oregon's most popular trail and tallest waterfall is only 30 minutes from Portland and a fun, quick outing. Although the place is swamped with tourists, it's a must see if in the area.

Length: 2.6 miles roundtrip     Elevation Gain: 700 feet

DIY Bicycle Wheel Wreath Two Ways

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I LOVE the holidays. My favorite traditions include decorating the tree, drinking eggnog lattes and watching Love Actually on repeat. I always love this time of the year for crafting because nobody can judge you for covering everything with glitter! 

So when our friends at PUBIC Bikes reached out about getting crafty with a bicycle wheel I was all in. These bicycle wheel wreaths are super easy to make and add such a unique touch to your holiday home. I created two different versions, one a more traditional style and one that's a little funky!

To recreate the classic look, all you need is a bike wheel, some garland and a big red bow.

DIY Bike Wheel Wreath

Step 1: Make some hot cocoa and start blasting All I Want For Christmas to get in the mood. 

Step 2: Use a glue gun to attach the greenery. Warning: You will use a crap ton of glue sticks!

Step 3: Add some pretty little pinecones and berries to dress it up.

Step 4: Attach your bow. Mine came with wire on the back so I just wrapped that around the wheel.

DIY Bicycle Wheel Wreath

Cute, huh? The reindeer approve.

For the next one, I wanted to try something a little edgier so I used gold leaf paint and some florals I picked up at the local craft store. 

wheel 1.jpg

Step 1: Paint the wheel gold. I used quick dry spray paint so I wouldn't have to wait too long to start decorating. 

Step 2: Lay out the greenery pieces and choose the shape you want to create. I ended up trimming a lot of pieces off mine since they were so bushy, but it's all personal preference.

Step 3: Attach the greenery with glue or wire. I found that the glue didn't stick quite as well after the wheel was painted so wire came in handy here.

Step 4: Hang your beautiful new wreath near your stockings with care!

Wheel Wreath DIY

I hope this inspires you to break out the glue gun and get crafty this holiday season. Enjoy!

FYI: We may earn a small commission from links to products or services. Thanks for your support!

Pacific Northwest Gift Guide

The holidays are here and that means it's time to start shopping! Since we'll be opting outside again this year, we put together a list of our favorite pacific northwest inspired gifts you can find online and ship anywhere to minimize your time shopping and spend more time in the great outdoors! Perfect for all your adventurous loved ones, from climbers and hikers to brewers and bikers. 

PNW Mug Gift Guide
The Great Pacific North West Mug

FOR THE COFFEE SNOB: Survey Enamel Mug

Living in the coffee capital of the world means it's always time for a caffeine kick. Your friends and family can keep this in their office to remind them of weekend adventures or take it on the trail as it's nice and light weight.

$14.99, The Great PNW

Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cake

FOR THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST: Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cake

You guys, this is essentially a take and bake cake in a mason jar. All you have to do is take off the lid, place it in the oven for 15 minutes and you have yourself a tiny, decadent chocolate cake.

$36.00 for 4, Hot Cakes

Beer Greetings
Beer Greetings 6 Pack

For the Craft Beer Drinker: Beer Greetings

Just add your favorite local beer or home brew! It's an easy way to add a personal touch to a last minute gift.

$4.95, Beer Greetings

Julep Nail Polish Duo

FOR THE FESTIVE FRIEND: Very Merry Nail Polish Duo

This Seattle-based beauty company has so many fun gift sets, there's bound to be one your fashionable friend will love.

$28, Julep

Public Bikes Coffee Cup Holder

For the Bike Commuter: Coffee Cup Holder

I'm a huge fan of my PUBLIC bike so when I saw they sold this cute little coffee cup holder I had to have it. You may have seen me cruising around with it, taking some #JavaJoyRides. It mounts securely to your handle bars so you don't have to worry about any spills!

$11.25, PUBLIC Bikes

When all else fails, you can always pick up an REI gift card which will please any adventurer on your list! Hope you found these gift giving ideas helpful. Let us know what else you're buying this holiday season in the comments below!