Making Plans to Backpack
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If you didn’t happen to be among the thousands who applied for an Enchantments permit in early February, your chances of getting an overnight permit in advance are now nil.
But, wait, there’s no need to be despondent! While the Enchantments are beautiful, they are hardly the only gorgeous place in Washington for an epic summer backpacking trip. This summer, we recommend you try one of these backpacking trips that offer Enchantments-eque qualities.
Say you are fond of larches. On the Golden Lakes Loop, in the Methow Ranger District, you’ll see plenty of larches and several nice lakes, too. (I wonder how they came up with this trail name…)
If you want lakes and lakelets, visiting Rampart Lakes, which are tucked away behind Rachel Lake and backed by Rampart Ridge, makes for a quite pleasant weekend.
Maybe it’s the mountain goats that you’ve heard so much about and just need to see. Try the aptly named Goat Lake in the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area. While you’re in the Goat Rocks, keep an eye out for Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers on their way up from Mexico. (That’s one perk you don’t get in the Enchantments.)
If you are looking for Top 100 peaks to climb and scramble, you may be interested in a trip to Holden Lake to tackle the 9511-foot Bonanza Mastiff and nearby Dark Star or North Star Peaks. Upper Lyman Lake basin adds a great side trip for this adventure.
Finally, for a trip that’s hardly a secret, but you have to admit it does offer up an Enchantments-like experience, head to Tuck and Robin Lakes. It’s plenty tough getting there, so you can get your sweat on and it’s just above the tree line for pleasant exploring. Mountain goats will keep you company while you enjoy the amazing interplay of rock and water.
When researching these backpack trips, you'll notice that our filled out Hiking Guide descriptions are a bit more oriented to day hikes (for now). Digging into the Trip Reports will help you learn even more about these great backpacking trips.
Most of these trips can also be found in Ira Spring and Harvey Manning's 100 Classic Hikes in Washington compilation. If you don't have the book, I recommend it for its nice balance between day hikes, overnights and longer backpacks.