Washington state boasts some of the best, and most diverse, hiking that you can find. Almost 50% of the population of the state resides near Seattle, which makes the rest of the state, for the most part, large and untouched, just asking for exploration. There is much room for adventure deep in this beautiful, massive state.
The Enchantments is one of the most extreme hikes in the state of Washington. There are two main routes, neither of them easy.
The first route is The Snow Lake trail head, a long and steep hike of 6.5 miles that climbs about 5,500 feet. The trail takes about two days each way and during the hike you'll find large, sloping rocks of granite, often covered in pure white snow, leading towards a blue, mirror-like lake.
The second route is the Stuart Lake trail head, a less grueling hike than the former at 5.5 miles long and only elevates 4,500 feet. At one point, though, there is a climb of 2,200 feet in about a mile which can be laborious. This route goes over Aasgard Pass which is often steep and snowy and considered to be the most dangerous part of the trail.
Often, people will combine these two trails for an extreme, four or five day hike. During this hike you'll experience about 12 miles of terrain and 10,000 feet of ups and downs over several days. You'll see untouched white snows, thick alpine forests, rolling hills of rock, crystal clear streams, and large blue lakes. The beauty of this place is only matched by the intensity of the journey, which makes it even more beautiful.
If you are going to try and do both hikes during the same trip, you have to make a lot of preparations beyond hiking. For one, reaching back and forth from the routes, you'll need a car (and another car so you can get back to the first car). You'll also need permits for hiking within The Enchantments. Even though this place requires a lot of work, you'll notice that all the work is well worth it.
Westcott Bay Nature Reserve and Sculpture Park
Westcott Bay Nature Reserve and Sculpture Park is something unique compared to most other hiking trails. A meadow, a pond, and a few trails through the park is the entirety of this 20 acre garden. But, it is not the size of the garden that makes this place unique. Set inside, scattered about like stars in the sky, are original and varying pieces of art.
The art ranges in size, medium, and style. These pieces of art are ever changing. Some days you'll see colossal towers of stone looming over small, intricate designs of glass. These strong dichotomies are set, almost as if they were dropped, in a large and beautiful natural environment with smooth walking paths, deep blues from the bay, and green, thriving fields.
Usually, for us hikers, we find art and beauty in the untouched environments we seek out. But here, we see an apparent intrusion, but instead of taking away from the beauty, it is heightened, made better. We don't often have the chance to see these two different, but equally beautiful aspects at the same time, but when we do, we see that they are better together.
The park is open all year round, seven days a week, from dawn to dusk. There is a five dollar donation expected from each person visiting the park.
From soft trails dotted in mysterious and beautiful art, to massive trails carved deep into mountains, the state of Washington has various and stunning locations that are all worth a visit. Whether you want soft hikes for an hour, or extreme excursions for the week, you'll find exactly what you're looking for, and a few things you weren't, hiking in Washington.