Easy Backpack Trips

Check out some great options for easy backpack trips!
1) Mary Rohlman's brief listing of easy backpacks.

2) The Mountaineers leads trips to these locations throughout the year, but the notion of this page is that there are trips that novice backpackers can do on their own and have a great time.  Talk to the rangers before you go to find out about trail conditions and tell them that you are new to backpacking, take the 10 essentials (and know how to use them), and have a great time! These locations are popular.

You can go backpacking in the Pacific Northwest all months of the year, but it can be cold and very wet from November through March.  The Mountaineers offers snow camping trips, but they aren't described here.  There are several destinations that are at low elevations that you can go to from March to October and have a great time.  The best, long-season backpacking locations are Cape Alava / Sandpoint (Olympic National Park) and Shi-Shi Beach at the Washington Coast and the Elwha Valley of Olympic National Park.

March

The Elwha Valley on the northern side of Olympic National Park provides a beautiful valley camping experience.  The is an enormous meadow near Humes Ranch that can accommodate many campers.  Water is available from the river.

April

The annual beach cleanup is held every April on the Pacific coast of Olympic National Park.  Great destinations are Cape Alava/Sandpoint or Shi Shi Beach.  There is usually at least one Mountaineers backpacking trip that participates in this activity, and more information about the cleanup is available at Washington Coastsavers.

June

July

Berkeley Park (Mt. Rainier National Park) is a fabulous place to see wildflowers, and there is also a beautiful stream.  An easy hike can be made to Grand Park which provides a stunning view of The Mountain.  The timing of the peak wildflowers varies from year to year.  The campsite is buggy (all wildflower sites are buggy).

August

Berkeley Park (see July).

Todd Mitchell ( toddbackpack@gmail.com ) April 2011