Best Backpacking in Washington

Backpacker hiking with trekking poles in the mountains in Washington
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Discover the untamed beauty of Washington state through an unforgettable backpacking adventure. With its diverse landscapes, from rugged mountains to serene lakes, Washington offers a plethora of breathtaking destinations for backpackers of all levels. Whether you seek the challenge of remote wilderness or the allure of iconic national parks, this corner of the Pacific Northwest promises to leave you in awe. So pack your gear, lace up your boots, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the top backpacking spots that Washington has to offer. Let nature be your guide as you traverse the enchanting trails and experience the thrill of the great outdoors. Are you ready to explore the hidden gems and iconic wonders that await you in Washington’s backcountry? Let’s dive in and find your next backpacking destination!


Nestled in Washington’s Alpine Lakes Wilderness, the Enchantments beckon with their awe-inspiring alpine scenery. Glacial lakes mirror the rugged peaks, and the challenge of securing a permit heightens the allure. This enchanting destination promises a backpacking experience like no other, where nature’s beauty takes center stage and hikers can immerse themselves in the pristine wilderness that surrounds them.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Enchantments:

  • Breathtaking Alpine Scenery: Explore a magical landscape filled with glacial lakes, jagged peaks, and stunning vistas at every turn.
  • Wilderness Adventure: Immerse yourself in the untamed beauty of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, offering a true backcountry experience.
  • Permit Challenge: The limited permits add an exciting element to your trip, making the Enchantments a sought-after destination.
  • Serenity and Solitude: Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life as you find tranquility in the remote wilderness.
  • Unforgettable Memories: Create lasting memories as you hike through one of the most enchanting and picturesque areas in Washington state.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Trekking Poles, Water Filtration System, Camping Cookware, Sturdy Footwear

Olympic National Park

Explore the vast wonders of Olympic National Park, a diverse wilderness that encompasses rugged mountains, pristine coastline, and ancient rainforests. With its unparalleled beauty and abundant biodiversity, the park offers a captivating backdrop for backpacking adventures. From trekking through lush forests to gazing at snow-capped peaks, backpackers can immerse themselves in the raw and untouched splendor of this iconic national park.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in Olympic National Park:

  • Diverse Landscapes: Experience a unique blend of rugged mountains, lush rainforests, and stunning coastline in one park.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter diverse wildlife, including elk, deer, marmots, and a variety of bird species.
  • Iconic Hiking Trails: Explore renowned trails like the Hoh River Trail, Sol Duc Falls, and the enchanted wonder of the Enchanted Valley.
  • Backcountry Beaches: Camp along the breathtaking coastline, where sandy shores meet the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Unspoiled Nature: Immerse yourself in pristine wilderness, far from urban distractions, and reconnect with nature’s serenity.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Lightweight Rain Jacket, Hiking Boots, Bear Canister, Water/Snacks, Headlamp, Trekking Poles

North Cascades National Park

​​Embark on a mesmerizing journey through North Cascades National Park, a wilderness sanctuary boasting rugged peaks, dense forests, and glacier-carved valleys. Known as the “American Alps,” this pristine gem offers a playground for backpackers seeking unparalleled beauty and solitude. With a network of challenging trails and breathtaking vistas, adventurers can lose themselves in the untamed grandeur of this captivating national park.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in North Cascades National Park:

  • Spectacular Alpine Scenery: Immerse yourself in a landscape of towering peaks, dramatic glaciers, and pristine alpine lakes.
  • Remote Wilderness: Escape the crowds and experience the serenity of one of the most secluded national parks in the United States.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a diverse array of wildlife, including bears, mountain goats, deer, and various bird species.
  • Challenging Trails: Hike through rugged terrain and challenge yourself on trails like the Pacific Crest Trail and Cascade Pass.
  • Photographer’s Paradise: Capture breathtaking shots of snow-capped mountains, colorful wildflowers, and cascading waterfalls in this natural wonderland.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Trekking Poles, Rain Jacket, Bear Canister, Hiking Boots, Water Filtration System, Camera

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park, a breathtaking wilderness in Washington state, boasts an active stratovolcano, awe-inspiring glaciers, and lush meadows. Standing tall at 14,411 feet (4,392 meters), Mount Rainier dominates the landscape as the highest peak in the Cascade Range. With a wide array of outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and mountaineering, the park offers an unforgettable experience in nature’s wonderland.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in Mount Rainier National Park:

  • Iconic Volcanic Landscape: Explore a unique wilderness featuring an active stratovolcano and its impressive glaciers.
  • Diverse Ecosystems: Traverse through lush meadows, ancient forests, and alpine terrain, encountering a variety of flora and fauna.
  • Spectacular Scenic Views: Enjoy breathtaking vistas of snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls, and wildflower-covered meadows.
  • Challenging Trails: Embark on rewarding hikes, ranging from beginner-friendly to challenging routes for experienced backpackers.
  • Wilderness Adventure: Experience the serenity of the backcountry, disconnect from modern life, and immerse yourself in the wonders of nature.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Hiking Boots, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Map/Compass, Water Filter, Trekking Poles

Goat Rocks Wilderness

Goat Rocks Wilderness, a rugged and enchanting expanse in Washington, beckons adventurers with its striking beauty. This wilderness area showcases dramatic ridges, high alpine meadows, and breathtaking vistas that captivate backpackers seeking unforgettable experiences. From challenging trails to serene lakes, Goat Rocks Wilderness offers a diverse and rewarding playground for those eager to immerse themselves in the raw and untouched grandeur of nature.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Goat Rocks Wilderness:

  • Stunning Alpine Scenery: Revel in the beauty of dramatic ridges, high alpine meadows, and awe-inspiring vistas.
  • Abundant Wildflowers: Experience a colorful display of wildflowers that bloom during the summer months.
  • Challenging Trails: Test your hiking abilities on the Pacific Crest Trail and other rugged routes.
  • Solitude and Serenity: Escape the crowds and find tranquility in this remote and pristine wilderness.
  • Photographer’s Paradise: Capture breathtaking shots of the diverse landscapes and captivating natural features.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Hiking Boots, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water/Snacks, Trekking Poles, Camera

Glacier Peak Wilderness

Glacier Peak Wilderness, a captivating expanse in Washington state, boasts untamed beauty and remote serenity. Home to the majestic Glacier Peak, this wilderness area offers a rugged and challenging landscape that beckons backpackers seeking an authentic adventure. With its alpine meadows, towering peaks, and glacial-fed rivers, Glacier Peak Wilderness promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of nature’s pristine wilderness.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Glacier Peak Wilderness:

  • Unspoiled Wilderness: Experience the untouched beauty of a remote and pristine wilderness area.
  • Majestic Glacier Peak: Be awed by the sight of the majestic Glacier Peak, the centerpiece of the wilderness.
  • Diverse Landscapes: Traverse through alpine meadows, dense forests, and glacial-fed rivers.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a variety of wildlife, including bears, deer, mountain goats, and more.
  • Challenging Trails: Take on challenging routes like the Pacific Crest Trail and immerse yourself in the rugged terrain.

Recommended Gear: Sturdy Footwear, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filtration System, Bear Canister, Trekking Poles, Backpack

Pasayten Wilderness

Pasayten Wilderness, a pristine expanse in Washington state, offers a rugged and remote backcountry experience. With its vast open spaces, majestic peaks, and serene alpine lakes, this wilderness area invites backpackers seeking solitude and immersion in nature’s untouched beauty. As one of the most secluded destinations, Pasayten Wilderness promises a true wilderness adventure, where the wilderness is both a challenge and a reward.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Pasayten Wilderness:

  • Remote Wilderness Experience: Escape the crowds and immerse yourself in a secluded and untouched backcountry.
  • Vast Open Spaces: Wander through expansive meadows and witness the breathtaking grandeur of nature.
  • Majestic Peaks: Discover stunning mountain vistas and be in awe of the majestic peaks that surround you.
  • Serenity and Solitude: Enjoy the tranquility of nature and find peace in the serene alpine lakes and quiet valleys.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a diverse array of wildlife, from deer and elk to eagles and bears, in their natural habitat.

Recommended Gear: Inflatable Sleeping Pad, Solar Charger, Camping Stove, GPS Device, Nylon Hammock, Multi-Tool, Camping Chairs

Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, a captivating wilderness area in Washington state, boasts over 700 stunning alpine lakes. This rugged paradise offers an enchanting backdrop for backpackers seeking adventure and tranquility. With its jagged peaks, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls, Alpine Lakes Wilderness promises an unforgettable escape into the heart of nature’s untamed beauty.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness:

  • Spectacular Alpine Lakes: Explore over 700 stunning alpine lakes, each offering its unique charm and beauty.
  • Diverse Landscapes: Traverse through rugged peaks, lush forests, and picturesque waterfalls.
  • Solitude and Serenity: Experience the tranquility of a remote wilderness area, away from the crowds.
  • Challenging Trails: Challenge yourself on various trails, from leisurely day hikes to more strenuous routes.
  • Photography Opportunities: Capture breathtaking shots of the pristine lakes and breathtaking mountain vistas.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Hiking Shoes, Insect Repellent, Camping Lantern, Camping Pillow, Water Filter, Backpack

Indian Heaven Wilderness

Indian Heaven Wilderness, a serene and picturesque wilderness in Washington state, beckons with its captivating beauty. This lesser-known gem boasts lush meadows adorned with vibrant wildflowers, tranquil lakes, and old-growth forests. Backpackers seeking solitude and tranquility will find solace in the peaceful landscapes and diverse ecosystems of Indian Heaven. As you explore its hidden treasures, you’ll be enchanted by the untouched charm of this hidden wilderness.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Indian Heaven Wilderness:

  • Wildflower Wonderland: Wander through lush meadows adorned with vibrant wildflowers during the summer months.
  • Tranquil Lakes: Camp beside serene lakes that reflect the surrounding beauty and offer peaceful solitude.
  • Old-Growth Forests: Explore ancient forests, home to towering trees and abundant wildlife.
  • Secluded Wilderness: Experience the peacefulness of a lesser-known wilderness, away from the crowds.
  • Diverse Ecosystems: Discover a variety of ecosystems, from meadows and lakes to forests and wetlands, offering a rich and rewarding experience.

Recommended Gear: Nylon Hammock, Hiking Boots, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Bottle, Kayak, Binoculars

Mount Adams Wilderness

Mount Adams Wilderness, a majestic expanse in Washington state, beckons with its grandeur and rugged beauty. Home to the iconic Mount Adams, this wilderness area offers a diverse landscape of glaciers, alpine meadows, and ancient forests. Backpackers seeking challenging trails and breathtaking vistas will be captivated by the raw and untamed wilderness that surrounds them in Mount Adams Wilderness.

Reasons To Go Backpacking in the Mount Adams Wilderness:

  • Iconic Mount Adams: Experience the thrill of backpacking around the towering and iconic Mount Adams.
  • Diverse Landscape: Traverse through glaciers, alpine meadows, and ancient forests, witnessing a variety of breathtaking scenery.
  • Challenging Trails: Embark on challenging routes that reward hikers with stunning vistas and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Encounter a diverse array of wildlife, from marmots and mountain goats to elk and bears.
  • Remote Wilderness: Find solitude and immerse yourself in the raw and untamed beauty of this majestic wilderness.

Recommended Gear: Backpack, Hiking Boots, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Water Filtration System, Trekking Poles, Bear Canister

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