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Making Plans to Backpack

Posted by Lace Thornberg at Mar 22, 2010 04:25 PM |

Please consider making a donation to Washington Trails Association by April 30 and help us reach our spring goal of $16,000. You'll help keep your favorite trails open this summer and beyond.

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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.

Rampart Lakes Don Geyer

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.)

For slabby granite, try Gothic Basin in the Monte Cristo area. Or, spend a night at Lake Ingalls and you’ll probably mountain goats frolicking on that granite, too.  

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.


New Backpacking Washington Book

I'll have the new Backpacking Washington book (the companion to the Day Hiking Series) out by next year at this time. All of those places Lace mentioned plus more will be in this new guide-70 destinations in all-most in the 17-25 mile range-state wide. In the meanwhile, please feel free to contact me at[…]/183606664360?ref=ts for more information on these trips. Thanks for your support and for supporting WTA's great trail efforts. See you on the trail!

Posted by:

Craig Romano on Mar 22, 2010 05:23 PM

100 HIkes book

If you're using 100 Hikes - or any other book written before 2006, call the ranger district office where you plan to hike - many of those hikes listed in 100 Hikes and other guidebooks are inaccessible or require a bikeride to the trailhead, due to flood damaged roads.

I'm waiting for Craig's book! I have all the Day Hiking books - though the trips are for dayhikes, many hikes listed in the Day Hiking series offer suggestions for extended trips. Get to it, Craig!

Posted by:

Kim Brown on Mar 23, 2010 10:14 AM