If you’ve been trying to find the perfect backpacking trail in Washington State for your elopement, or just to explore this summer, you’ve come to the right place! I’m absolutely in love with the huge variety of trails Washington has gifted us with, especially because there are so many options for every skill + ability level. This blog post is for you if you’re looking for some of the best beginner backpacking trails in Washington & are ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
If you’re looking for easier, more accessible hiking trails in WA for you & your elopement guests, head to this blog post instead!
The Rachel & Rampart Lakes Trail is a gorgeous route by Cle Elum that takes you through a collection of pothole lakes, greenery, and has plenty of space to camp, swim, & take breaks to relax. The 9-mile journey is perfect for couples who want to either complete the whole route in a day so you can move on to somewhere new the next day, or who want to make it an overnight trip (which I highly recommend so you can take your time & fully enjoy it)!
The Shi Shi Beach Trail is a nearly 9-mile out & back trail near Neah Bay, located on the Makah Indian Reservation (on the Olympic Peninsula). It makes for a great day hike on the coast if you’re already out exploring the peninsula, and want to hit up other spots along the coast or in Olympic National Park as well, such as Cape Flattery which is the most Northwestern tip of the US! You’ll need to pay a small fee if you’d like to park overnight at the trailhead, and you’ll also need to purchase a Makah Recreation Pass since the route takes you through the Reservation.
I love me a good hike in the northernmost part of Washington, and Melakwa Lake via Denny Creek Trail is a fantastic option! Located near Snoqualmie Pass, this almost 10-mile trail is a great backpacking route for couples looking for a challenge within the beautiful Washington mountains. You’ll get to see gorgeous alpine lakes, rocky mountain peaks, tons of old-growth trees, and more of Washington’s classic outdoor beauty!
Take a look at this infographic for full details on getting a backcountry permit in the North Cascades in 2022!
The Seven Lakes Basin Loop is an epic multi-day backpacking trip that takes you through the Hoh Rain Forest, Sol duc Falls, Heart Lake, the Hoh River, and more. You’ll get to experience a ton of the beauty that Olympic National Park has to offer, including views of Mount Olympus, and will be in the presence of local wildlife + vibrant PNW foliage throughout. Be prepared to pay a fee to enter the national park as well as ready to get an overnight camping reservation ahead of time!
The Pete Lake Trail is a great one for couples who want to go on a backpacking adventure, but who want to keep it a little easier. The 9-mile route is considered fairly easy, and is a great day hike as well as a great option for overnight camping! Feel free to bring your dog(s) along on this one, and get ready to see all the glorious landscapes that the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest has to offer.
The hike to Lena Lake is a great option for any couple, no matter your backpacking experience. You’ll travel along fairly wide paths and through the old-growth forest to get to a beautiful overlook of Lena Lake! This is another route you can bring your doggos to, and you can choose to make it either a day hike or an overnight adventure.
Last but definitely not least, Skyline Divide is a stunning backpacking route through the North Cascades, in the Mount Baker wilderness area. On this route you’ll pass through six knolls, at the final one reaching 6,500 feet of elevation overlooking Chowder Ridge, the Black Buttes, & the North Cascades. You can stay the night at a few different campsites including one at the first knoll, or the Deadhorse Creek campground area!
Refer to the infographic in the above Melakwa Lake Trail section for further details on backcountry permits for the North Cascades in 2022!
One of the most important parts of any backpacking trip is making sure you’re prepared for a safe trip, no matter where you’re heading or for how long!
Below is a list of essentials for your backpacking trip in Washington state, and don’t worry – if you’re doing a backpacking elopement with me, I’ve got extensive experience & will make sure we’re all as prepped as possible beforehand!
Let’s wrap this up with a few final tips for your backpacking trip in Washington!
An essential part of staying safe on backpacking trips is to let a few people in your life know about your plans so they’re aware of your whereabouts! Tell a few of your closest friends/family members where you’ll be (what route you’re taking), when you expect to be back in service, and what course of action to take in case they don’t hear from you within X hours/days of that timeframe. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in case of a potential emergency!
I love stopping somewhere after a backpacking trip for a yummy treat or some delish coffee on my way back to civilization!
Here are a few of my favorite go-to’s:
(P.S. these would all make for adorable spots for some chill, post-backpacking-trip photos if I tag along with ya!)
If you’re looking for more easily-accessible hiking trails to accommodate you & your guests, rather than a more challenging backpacking trail, be sure to check out my blog post with 15 Accessible Hiking Trails in Washington for Your Elopement & Guests!
And if you’d like to get some more planning tips for your hiking elopement, I’ve got a whole guide to How to Have an Epic Hiking Elopement in Washington State that’s full of ideas, advice, & more!
Ready to book your Washington backpacking elopement photographer? I’m your gal! Contact me here & we’ll start planning your dream day of beautiful exploration + celebration✨
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