Here in the PNW, the heavens have opened and dumped lots of snow onto our mountains. Last year, my husband and I purchased our own set of snowshoes. By new years day, I was ready to get out and get my first snow hike in. I did a ton of research on the best snowshoe hikes in the area. There were a couple of good ones in Snoqualmie Pass, but I was worried about the crowds. We decided to drive up to the pass to see how busy it was. From the freeway, I could tell that the roads near I-90 were a zoo and we drove onto Blewett Pass. We came up to the Blewett Sno-Park, and there were parking spots! Going the extra miles away from busy Snoqualmie Pass really paid off.
The hike was beautiful, and the views were spectacular! We saw lots of people on the trail, but it didn’t feel crowded. I can’t wait to get out and do it again.
WTA Wentachee Crest Snowshoe Guide
Since I don’t work during the summers, I like spending my time exploring the hiking options around me. After doing a few hikes off the I-90 corridor, I decided to move on to the Highway 2 area. Wallace Falls seemed like a perfect choice for a day hike. I called up a co-worker and we met in Monroe.
The trail head is easy to find. It’s within the Wallace Falls State Park. There are a lot of road signs pointing to the park.
We started on the trail head around 10:00ish, and surprisingly it wasn’t that crowded. I read that this is a really popular trail but we only passed people at the viewpoints. Of course, we were hiking mid-week which helps. We hiked all the way up to the upper falls viewpoint. It’s a pretty challenging hike at times, and we were both sweating by the time we got to the top.
After a quick snack, we hiked back down. At this point, the trail was getting more crowded and we passed by a lot more people. Overall, it is a beautiful hike. The old forests are lush and green. There are numerous views of the river and waterfalls. Next time, I’d like to try mountain biking up to Wallace Lake.
WTA Wallace Falls Hike
Wallace Falls State Park
When I was in middle school (about 15 years ago), my parents and I went up to Whistler, BC for a weekend. They bought a timeshare, and neither of us have returned since.
Initially, my husband and I originally planned on bringing our mountain bikes up. But as I was doing research about mountain biking in the area, I got a little intimidated by the Whistler Bike Park. It looked pretty technical, and way above my skill level. As soon as we drove into town, I knew that not bringing the bikes was a mistake. There are miles (or should I say kilometers) of paved and gravel biking trails. Everyone there was biking! I was constantly reminded that I left my bikes at home. So if you’re not an aggressive downhill rider, here is some information about biking trails in the area. There are a lot of paved trails for road bikes too. Don’t make the same mistake that I did!!
Whistler valley trail
Lost Lake trails
In the summer if you buy your gondola pass 5 days in advance, you get a second day for free. Luckily we saw that deal exactly five days before our trip. We spent two days up on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain. First we rode up to the top of Whistler Mountain. Then we rode the chairlift up to the peak.
We then rode of the peak to peak gondola. That was a really cool ride!!
At Blackcomb, we rode the chairlift down to the upper village.
Since we didn’t have our bikes, our weekend activities included shopping, strolling through the village, and watching the hawks game at a sports bar.
We were in town for two of the summer concerts. We went to one of the concerts. The band was really fun and I really enjoyed it.
Whistler is such an awesome place to visit year round. This is a place I’d like to visit every couple of years. Maybe next time I’ll come up during winter and go skiing (another thing that I haven’t done since middle school).
About a week before my trip to Seaside, a friend posted a picture of her on top of this mountain on Instagram. So I decided that I needed to hike it on my trip. I’m so used to looking up hiking information in Washington. We have an organization called Washington Trails Association that publishes an awesome website with lots of great hiking information. There doesn’t appear to be an Oregon version of that website. I had to look in like three different places to find the information I needed.
The trail guides all say that the hike is 5.1 miles as a loop. I opted to just hike up to the look out and back, which was about three miles total. There are a few different lookouts on the mountain, I chose to hike up to the South Peak. From Seaside, we drove south on highway 101. The trail head isn’t hard to find, but you have to be looking for it. There is only a small hiker sign pointing to the road you take. The road is on the left hand side (if you are driving south on 101), and it is between mileposts 41 and 42, not quite 2 miles north of Manzinita. Just drive up the road for a little bit until you see the trail head.
Next, start climbing up the mountain. At one point, we came to an four way intersection and we continued strait which took us to the south viewpoint. There is a short scramble up to the top but later we found a better trail to get up there. Either way, I’d suggest to climb to the top of the rocks to get a better viewpoint.
The view is pretty spectacular, especially on a clear day.
After that, we just hiked down and drove home.
Portland Hikers Field Guide
Summitpost.org – South peak information
Tillamook Head is a buff just south of Seaside. It’s the land visible from the beach as seen in the picture below.
While staying at Fort Clatsop, Clark hiked over the ridge to see a beached whale that was near the current day Ecola State Park. They bartered with members from the Tillamook tribe for some blubber. At a point along his journey he said this about the view, “…the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean…”.
There is a trail that stretches across the whole Tilamook head. We decided to start from Indian Beach at Ecola State Park. From there, you can follow a 1.5 mile trail along the coast that leads to a view of the lighthouse. The reports that I read warned of muddy trails, and it was pretty muddy at some points. The trail was really pretty with lush green forests. It wasn’t that crowed either, and we only saw one other group. Although it was a week day.
View of Indian Beach
On the way to the lighthouse viewpoint, you pass a few hiker cabins and some old bunkers.
View of the lighthouse
We took the inland trail back, which was much faster and the whole thing was gravel. It was a great short hike for a group. We really enjoyed the views of the beautiful coastline.
Oregonhiking.com trail guide