At Biome Theory, we're already dreaming of getting the dogs out for some stunning hikes throughout the Western US this year. But where to go? See below for our top 5 hikes and backpacking trips you should consider adventuring to in 2018!
5. Timberline Trail, Mount Hood, Oregon
Best for: rugged adventure
Total distance: 39 miles (63 km)
Total duration: 4 days
Circling one of the most prominent mountains of the Northwest, this rugged, wilderness trail around Mount Hood is one of Oregon’s most scenic hikes. It’s difficult, due to steep ups and downs, river crossings, and elevation changes of more than 8,000 ft (2438 m).
You’ll be rewarded with ever-changing landscapes of flower-filled alpine meadows, majestic waterfalls, ancient forests, glaciers, and snowfields. And at every turn there are magnificent views of Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens, and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range.
4. Ewoldsen Trail, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California
Best for: ocean views
Total distance: 4.5 miles (7 km)
Total duration: 3 hours
Big Sur is the quintessential stretch of California coast, and this hike shows off its stunning terrain. Setting off through a lush forest of towering redwoods, it climbs steeply up a scenic gorge along a loop trail, passing waterfalls, crossing creeks, and opening out to magnificent canyon and ocean views.
Aim to reach the lookout at the highest point of the trail for the best coastal views. Back at the parking area, follow the short path to see McWay Falls plunging 80 ft (24 m) to the beach below.
3. Oregon Coastal Trail
Best for: beaches
Total distance: 400 miles (644 km)
Total duration: 30 days
Running from the California border up to the mouth of the Columbia River, this long-distance trail is a beach-lover’s dream. The easy-to-moderate route sticks primarily to the shoreline, and for much of the way you’ll be walking on idyllic stretches of sand.
At times the trail veers inland, crossing rugged headlands and fording rivers and streams. There are lighthouses, dunes, and many pristine, secluded sections, particularly from Coos Bay south to the border.
2. Pacific Crest Trail, California, Oregon, and Washington
Best for: bragging rights
Total distance: 2,650 miles (4,265 km)
Total duration: 5 months
Stretching from the Mexican to Canadian borders, this is the western jewel of the US long-distance hiking crown.
This high, rugged trail runs along the ridges of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges, crossing 57 major mountain passes, 19 canyons, and several state and national parks. More than half the route traverses wilderness terrain.
Depending on snow conditions, most hikers begin in the spring and travel south to north.
1. John Muir Trail, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
Best for: solitude
Total distance: 210 miles (338 km)
Total duration: 3 weeks
Named for the great preservationist, this long-distance trail features some of America’s most spectacular mountain scenery as it traverses the backcountry and wilderness areas of the High Sierras.
Passing giant sequoias, alpine lakes, granite cliffs, and waterfalls, it runs through three national parks – Yosemite, Sequoia, and King’s Canyon – and ends at Mount Whitney, whose 14,505-ft (4,421-m) peak is the highest in the contiguous United States.
Get acclimated first. This difficult trail lies more than 8,000 ft (2,438m) in elevation, with more than one-third above 10,000 ft (3,048m). It overlaps the Pacific Crest Trail for much of the way.
What's your favorite hike? Let us know below!
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