Hiking & Backpacking

Hiking & Backpacking

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Zion National Park's Must-See Sights & Activities

While much of Zion’s scenery is best viewed on foot, there are a number of must-see destinations that visitors can enjoy with only a modest amount of walking. Of course, nobody can talk about “must-see” activities in Zion without mentioning its two most famous hikes—Angels Landing and The Narrows. This list will give you a sense of how to prioritize your agenda for a first-time visit while also giving you ideas for subsequent visits. Read more…

Introducing the GoHike Beginner Hiking Series: Realize Your Dream to Start Hiking

Hiking is both calming and energizing. It’s a way to connect with nature, and build community with new people. We'd love to help you make 2020 your year to start a lifetime of hiking, with a compatible and fun community of people and low-stress easy hikes at a social pace, in one of the loveliest places in the world to do it!    Read more…

Trip Report: Indian Heaven Trail #33

The Indian Heaven area has been volcanically active since the Pleistocene age, with the most recent eruption happening around 9000 years ago, creating the Big Lava Bed south of the Indian Heaven. Lava flows paired with melting glacial ice created high, wide, thickly-forested plateaus within the Indian Heaven Wilderness making for great views, many deep lakes, and huckleberries galore. Read more…

Trail Talk: Peril in the Pyrenees

I had hiked the route from the Col de Tentes over the 7,450- foot Port de Boucharo, straddling the French and Spanish border to the medieval town of Torla in Aragon, a half dozen times. It was one of my favorite hikes to bring folks along on when I worked as a hiking guide in the Pyrenees for Portland-based Mountain Hiking Holidays. I loved looking for edelweiss, pointing out izards (a chamois native to the Pyrenees), explaining the fascinating history of the route (used by pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago and refugees during the Spanish Civil War), and highlighting so many other facets of this fascinating route to the folks I was guiding. Read more…

Bird and Hike the Cloud Forests of Western Panama - Apr 15-26, 2020

Our Global Adventures Committee leads exciting trips around the world every year to help you get outside while playing and learning in a new place. Registration is now open now for a birding and hiking trip through the Cloud Forests of Western Panama from April 15-26, 2020. Read more…

Top 10 Trip Reports - Fall 2019

What better time to look back on your autumn adventures than when you're waiting for winter to arrive? Soon, snow will cover all of your favorite ski hills, the streets of the Pacific Northwest will be full of colorful down jackets and rain shells (if that hasn't already happened), and one single snowstorm will slow roads down for longer than is reasonable.  Read more…

Wanted: Your Stories of Extraordinary Walks in the Wild

In 2017, our Seattle and Foothills Hiking Committees jointly launched a new adventure presentation series to celebrate extraordinary trekking and backpacking adventures  in the wilds of the world. Three years and 12 well-attended presentations later, our audiences have seen amazing photos, heard incredible stories, and learned how to plan their own adventures to international trekking and backpacking destinations  from other Mountaineers members. And we're looking for more Mountaineers to volunteer to share their stories! Read more…

Did You Know? Ape Canyon Trail

Our hike this month takes us to Mt. St. Helens’ Ape Canyon trail. The trail takes its name from Sasquatch sightings back in the early 1920s. Not only is the trail rich in local folklore and legend, but geological history as well. Hiking up to the Loowit trail you can view the geological history of Mt. St. Helens. The hike follows an ancient lahar debris flow on one side of the ridge and the Ape Canyon on the other side, and views of both can be glimpsed through the trees. Read more…

Thank you Foothills Volunteers!

Foothills is the fastest-growing branch in The Mountaineers, and it's thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of our many wonderful volunteers. Without you, we wouldn't be able to hold the many courses, activities, and events that we offer. For that we would like to thank and recognize a group of volunteers that recently made a difference in the lives of our students and helped us get outside!  Read more…

Rebuilding History & Hearts

"What are those?” I asked, pointing to the four hikers who had pulled off the trail to don microspikes and crampons. It was a frigid, late Saturday in February 2015 on Mount Pilchuck. At this point in my outdoor career I was a sport climber, a casual hiker (at best), and had only backpacked a handful of times. You can imagine my reaction to seeing people take these grizzly-bear like claws from their packs and attach them to their boots. Read more…

Top Nature Hikes in Tacoma

You may not immediately look to Washington’s third largest city for a walk in the wild. So be prepared to have Tacoma surprise you. Within the hustle and bustle of this metropolitan area are some large natural areas laced with excellent trails that invite walkers, hikers, and runners of all ages and abilities to explore and be wooed. So no need to head to the backcountry this weekend if you're looking for a great place to do an all-day hike, long run, or get-back-to-nature stroll. Check out these three urban wildernesses in and near the City of Destiny from my new book Urban Trails: Tacoma instead.  Read more…

Armchair Adventures For Fall

It's that time of year when the mercury plummets, the rains arrive, and we want to wrap ourselves in a warm blanket and cozy up with a book. But that doesn't mean we're going to stop exploring! How does traveling Italy by bike, venturing into the Alaskan wilderness to photograph wildlife, or joining the thru-hiking community on the Appalachian Trail sound? How about making a ground-breaking ascent of Mount Everest via the West Ridge, becoming the first North American woman to do so? All this and more is available for your reading pleasure, so settle in, pour yourself a hot beverage, and enjoy our armchair adventure recommendations. Read more…

Did You Know: Summit Lake Trail

If you’re eager to find a place to take in the beauty of the natural world, the Summit Lake trail ought to be on your list. Bringing you to a crisp alpine lake with spectacular views of Mt. Rainier, this trail is a treat for hikers and naturalists in any weather. Read more…

Trail Talk: Better than the 10 Essentials, Pack Plenty of Knowledge on Your Next Hike

One of the biggest highlights of my career as an outdoors writer so far was being flown to Los Angeles last spring for a TV shoot on the Weather Channel’s SOS How to Survive. The program is hosted by Creek Stewart, a nationally renowned survival instructor and author. Each episode of SOS How to Survive spotlights true life stories involving folks who have dealt with life-threatening situations (often in the wilderness) interjected with segments on survival tips and skills. Read more…

The Seattle Photography Committee Needs Your Input

The Photography Committee encourages members to develop their photographic skills and creative visions through various activities and programs offered throughout the year. Monthly potlucks are held the third Wednesday of each month. It's a opportunity to socialize and share images. We also have classes and field trips, and we're looking for your feedback to determine what we offer moving forward! Read more…

Devilish Trails for Halloween

Many hikers in Washington state have encountered – to their dismay – the prickly spines of devil's club, Oplopanax horridus, a shrub which grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest as well as near Lake Superior. While the origins of the name of this bane of bushwhackers seem quite obvious given its notorious thorns, Washington state is home to many more "devils". In honor of Halloween, here is a sampling of the "Devils" in our state, from north to south. Read more…

Three Easy Hikes to Enjoy in Joshua Tree National Park

Featuring stunning, easy hikes to explore three distinct regions of Joshua Tree National Park (Lost Horse Valley, Queen Valley, and Pinto Basin), the following is excerpted from Scott Turner's Hike the Parks: Joshua Tree National ParkExcerpt edited for space and clarity. Read more…

Stories from the Cloud Forest of Western Panama

Keow-kowee keow k’loo keow k’loo keeloo came from right over our heads, making us stop abruptly. Jeffrey, my hiking companion, whispered, "Quetzal, courtship." My head was already crunched all the way back so I could stare directly into the canopy of this tropical forest. Resplendent Quetzals were in courtship. The male flew from one branch to another, his long tail waving behind him; the female also was moving back and forth, twigs swaying with her activity. My parabolic reflector pointed right at them, I was capturing their courtship on my sound recorder. Read more…

Exploring Swift Creek and the Lake Ann Trail at Mount Baker

"See that ledge that runs to the right from Lower Curtis Glacier?” Stewart pointed to the far slope behind him. “That is the intersection of two terranes. Shuksan greenschist is above the line, and Darrington phyllite is below it. A thrust fault runs between them." Stewart (his geology training evident), stood in front of us, pointing at diagrams in his notebook and then the cliff. We had stopped for lunch near Lake Ann. I stood off to the side, letting him talk. He teaches several courses for The Mountaineers, and I’d hoped he’d come on my trip. He could master this geology that I’d found so confusing. We’d seen so much thanks to him. Read more…

Did You Know? Teely Creek Trail

The Teely Creek trail has much to offer hikers: fishing, camping, swimming, geocaching, and a relaxing atmosphere amidst an old growth forest. Read on to learn more about this incredible area, and how you can make the most of your trip if you decide to explore the trail.  Read more…

Gnar Face: A Slip on Aasgard Pass

Our blog series Gnar Face documents the funny, painful, and unfortunate things we’ve done to ourselves in the outdoors. In this edition, we hear from Communications Associate Hailey Oppelt about poor planning on Aasgard Pass. Take a look at the last edition of Gnar Face for more tails of woe and misery. Read more…

Mount Rainier Infinity Loop: Bringing a Vision to Life

“You’re doing what?!” I gasped. It was a typical Monday evening in July and we were sitting at the Elliot Bay Brewery for the launch party of The Mountaineers first peer-to-peer adventure based fundraising campaign, Our Parks | Your Adventure. Being the year of the National Park Centennial, we hoped our campaign would inspire individuals to seek an adventure of their choosing in a National Park while fundraising for The Mountaineers youth programs. Read more…

Trail Tails: Gumbo

Trail Tails is a special feature showcasing the mutts of The Mountaineers! This month we recognize Gumbo, owned by Mountaineer Chi Tran.  Read more…

Peak Fitness | Gamify Your Hikes: Making Family Adventures Fun for Everyone

Our twelve-year-old daughter loves to pester us with, “Are we there yet?”, “How much longer?” and “Can we take a break?” when we go on hikes. The solution? Bring a friend her age. If that strategy fails, we try to include a cool distraction like having a scavenger hunt, finding a geocache, playing in a snow patch, or identifying birds or plants. I recently stumbled on another technique you can add to your repertoire of distractions that can also work great on your pack carrying workouts. I call it “Gamify.” All it requires is a pair of dice and some creativity. Read more…

Last Word | The Wilderness Act at 50

My wife and I hiked up to Rachel Lake last week. The hike hurt. I felt old. But what a glorious way to pain — a stroll through an incredible old growth forest, then a scramble up a steep hillside to a beautiful mountain lake in the amazing Alpine Lakes Wilderness. What a gift it is, to be able to hike through wilderness, just an hour or so from the urban core. Read more…

Secret Rainier | Wonders of Wonderland

This issue of Secret Rainier describes four wonders of the Wonderland (just off the main trail), each well worth a short detour to visit. The Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier is aptly named: the entire 96-mile trail is a feast to behold. Though the trail doesn’t fully open up until July and become snow free until late July, now is a good time to plan a trip and make reservations via the Mount Rainier National Park web site. Read more…

Trekking Peru’s Ausangate

I rose shivering in the pre-dawn dark and poked my head out of the tent. Frost coated every surface and glittered in a thick layer on the tent fly. Outside a faint glow was building over the ridge opposite our tents, and the donkey drivers on our support crew were hooting and hollering on the hillsides, bringing our donkeys down from their overnight grazing spot above camp. Another glorious day in Peru was about to start, and we were looking forward to greeting the sun at the top of  a  15,416-foot pass. Read more…

Did You Know: Tatoosh Ridge Trail

This summer I’ve been slowly marking off the 100 hikes that Ira Spring and Harvey Manning published in their second edition of 100 Hikes in Washington: South Cascades and Olympics. I completed my 41st as we hiked to the site of the former Tatoosh Ridge lookout on Tatoosh Peak, made famous in Martha Hardy’s book Tatoosh. This hike is neither for the faint of heart nor the causal hiker. It is steep, with some exposure and drop-offs that leave one wondering, “What am I doing this for?” Read more…

Hiking With Pre-Existing Health Conditions

I live with two realities that are mostly hereditary: aging-related hypertension and type II diabetes. My paternal grandfather died from diabetes complications in 1958 (he was 6'4" and thin as a rail). My dad has diabetes (he's 5'3" and only 107 lbs.). So, while I'm fatter than I'd like, my weight was not the determining factor in my diabetes. Read more…