By Renae James
Are you are looking for an adventure, an opportunity to explore and appreciate the beautiful Northwest? Then I suggest, no I challenge you, to Take a Hike!
This column will hopefully inspire you to do that. There are so many amazing places to explore right in our back yard.
There are seasons with hiking – times when certain hikes are at their peak. In the spring the waterfalls are impressive because of the snow melting. In early summer the lower lying lakes are no longer frozen, and trails are safe to walk on. As summer progresses higher elevation hikes can be safely summited. In fall the colors change, and there are some hikes that display amazing colors that will wow you!
There are two online sites I recommend to guide you in your quest for a great hike – WTA.org and Alltrails.com. Both have a wealth of information, including what park pass you will need, such as Discovery, Northwest Forest or National Parks.
It’s always wise to have a hiking partner. Google the 10 essentials for hiking and pack them. And do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
Following are some hikes I’ve enjoyed this summer.
•Boulder River Trail, just south of Darrington, a fairly easy hike that will lead you to lovely waterfalls. It is eight miles round trip, but the most-impressive waterfall is only about a 2.5 mile round trip. It takes you along the Boulder River for 2.5 miles and then becomes more of a forest hike with moss and ferns. It can be a small scramble down to the river at the base of the big waterfall but it is so worth it. There is a 3.8 mile dirt road with some potholes that you will need to navigate to get to the trailhead. A Northwest Pass is needed.
•Two beautiful hikes lead to Heybrook Lookout or Heybrook Ridge. They are a few miles apart and start in Index. The Lookout trail starts off of a large shoulder area off Highway 2 and the Ridge trail, just finished in October, starts from a new parking area in Index. Both have some elevation gains and are approximately three miles roundtrip. Both trails lead to stunning views of Mount Persis and Mount Baring and a peak at Bridal Veil Falls as it cascades down Mount Index. The Lookout trail has a lookout tower with only 89 steps up to the viewing area. The Ridge trail brings you to a ridge with a few spots to enjoy amazing views. Neither hike requires a park pass.