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Discover Hidden Gems: Low-Key Overnight Backpacking Destinations

CEO Tinh Phung
Are you a nature enthusiast looking for a unique backpacking experience? Look no further! We have handpicked some low-key overnight backpacking destinations that are perfect for both novice backpackers and those seeking a more relaxed...

Are you a nature enthusiast looking for a unique backpacking experience? Look no further! We have handpicked some low-key overnight backpacking destinations that are perfect for both novice backpackers and those seeking a more relaxed and scenic trip. These trails allow you to explore the beauty of Washington state at your own pace, with plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes.

North Cascades

Twisp Pass - Dagger Lake

Location: Near Twisp Length: 9.0 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 2460 feet

Twisp Pass. Photo by FightingQuaker Caption: Larches on the approach to the lake basin. Photo by FightingQuaker.

Larches and huckleberries make this trail a golden paradise in the fall. But even in the summer, you can enjoy vibrant wildflowers and breathtaking North Cascades vistas. While many hikers do it as a day hike, why not stay overnight? Drop down to Dagger Lake for more exploring opportunities and admire the fine rock work along the trail, courtesy of WTA volunteers.

Plan your trip to Twisp Pass and Dagger Lake using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Thunder Creek

Location: Highway 20 Length: 12.0 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 1300 feet

Thunder Creek. Photo by SlothHikingTeam Caption: Thunder Creek is your constant companion on this trail. Photo by SlothHikingTeam.

Step into the forests of Thunder Arm and experience the emerald green waters of Thunder Creek. This low elevation trail allows for early and late-season adventures, surrounded by towering peaks and giant old-growth forests. Set up camp at McAllister Creek and immerse yourself in the backcountry magic of the North Cascades. Note: an overnight permit is required to camp in North Cascades National Park.

Plan your trip to Thunder Creek using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Mazama Park via Ridley Creek

Location: Mount Baker Area Length: 7.0 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 2600 feet

Mazama Park. Photo by jdk610 Caption: The log shelter in Mazama Park with a stellar backdrop. Photo by jdk610.

Mazama Park offers everything you could want for an overnight adventure. Hike through dense forests, explore beautiful meadows, and discover a picture-perfect log shelter. In berry season, indulge in the tasty treat of blueberries, and in the fall, witness waves of red, orange, and yellow foliage. Extend your trip to the nearby Park Butte lookout for even more stunning vistas.

Plan your trip to Mazama Park using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Central Cascades

Round Lake

Location: Mountain Loop Highway Length: 11 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 4300 feet

A small blue lake surrounded by steep gray mountains. Caption: Round Lake from the ridge. Photo by ^pip^.

Embark on a journey through switchbacks and old-growth forests to reach Lost Creek Ridge. The trail rewards you with carpets of wildflowers in the right season. Descend to the charming Round Lake, nestled amongst the mountains. This hidden gem is the perfect spot to set up camp and immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance.

Plan your hike to Round Lake using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Beverly Turnpike - Bean Creek Basin Loop

Location: Near Cle Elum Length: 8 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 3200 feet

Beverly Turnpike. Photo by KRad Caption: View from the pass. Photo by KRad.

For breathtaking Teanaway views and an abundance of wildflowers and berries, Beverly Turnpike is the trail for you. The quick climb will get your heart pumping, but the spectacular views from the pass will leave you breathless. Marvel at Mount Stuart and the striking granite beauty of the Stuart Range. Extend your adventure to Iron Peak, Volcanic Neck, Devil's Peak, and more!

Plan your loop on Beverly Turnpike and Bean Creek using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Olympic Peninsula

Lower South Fork Skokomish River

Location: Olympics - West Length: 8.5+ miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 800 feet

McGravey Lakes. Photo by Eric Nagle Caption: McGarvey Lake up along Six Ridge. Photo by Eric Nagle.

Venture up the Lower South Fork of the Skokomish River for a flora and fauna extravaganza amid lush old-growth forests. The trail offers switchbacks, sword ferns, and salal before leveling out. As you meander along, enjoy the sounds of the river and the ever-changing forest scenery. For even more beauty, continue on to Six Ridge for lakeside and mountain views.

Plan your visit to the Lower South Fork Skokomish using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Colonel Bob Peak

Location: Pacific Coast Length: 8.2 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 3500 feet

Colonel Bob Peak. Photo by Mainsail Caption: Huge views from the top. Photo by Mainsail.

At Colonel Bob Peak, you can enjoy unrivaled views of the Olympic Peninsula. Situated on the southwest side of the park, the panorama includes the Pacific Ocean, Grays Harbor, Lake Quinault and the Quinault River, the Olympic rainforest, and Mount Olympus. Take a moment to sit and watch the world below from this rugged peak, and transport yourself to a time long ago.

Plan your hike to Colonel Bob using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Deer Lake

Location: Northern Coast Length: 8.0 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 1650 feet

Deer Lake. Photo by Rugosus Caption: View from the larger of the two lakes. Photo by Rugosus.

Set your sights on the lush forest near Sol Duc for a day hike or a short overnight adventure. As you hike through the popular and well-maintained trail to Sol Duc Falls, be sure to admire the various waterfalls along Canyon Creek. The trail leads you to Deer Lake, where you can capture breathtaking views and capture memories. Please note that an overnight permit is required to camp in Olympic National Park.

Plan your hike to Deer Lake using WTA's Hiking Guide.

South Cascades

Greenwater and Echo Lakes

Location: near Mount Rainier Length: 14 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 1600 feet

Greenwater and Echo Lakes. Photo by EnsembleFx Caption: A walk through the forest to Echo Lakes. Photo by Josh Lun.

Immerse yourself in towering old-growth forests, a fast-moving river, and the charm of two backcountry lakes. Greenwater Lake lives up to its name, while Echo Lake offers a perfect place to camp, fish, and cool off on a hot day. This trail promises a rewarding experience for both hikers and backpackers alike.

Plan your visit to Greenwater and Echo Lakes using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Toutle Trail - Blue Lake to Loowit Trail

Location: Mount St. Helens Length: 11.0 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 2899 feet

Sheep Canyon. Photo by BeaverDawg Caption: The mountain from the Sheep Canyon loop. Photo by BeaverDawg.

Prepare for mountain views, rare old-growth forests, and picturesque meadows along this trail. After reaching the large campsite near Sheep Canyon bridge, continue onward to the Loowit trail for an up-close and personal experience with Mount St. Helens. Once you descend back to the campsite, you'll have created a lovely lollipop loop, leaving you with unforgettable memories.

Plan your visit to the Toutle Trail using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Killen Meadows - Adams Creek Meadows

Location: Mount Adams Wilderness Length: 10 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 2300 feet

Crystal Lake. Photo by Elementalll Caption: Experience Mount Adams close up on this hike! Photo by Elementalll.

Embark on a journey through alpine meadows with panoramic views of Mount Adams. Indulge in wildflowers and berries as you hike to East Fork Adams Creek. Set up camp at one of the campsites or continue on to join the Pacific Crest Trail towards Killen Meadows. Please remember to camp on durable surfaces or near trees to preserve the delicate meadows.

Plan your trip to Killen Meadows using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Eastern Washington

Horseshoe Basin

Location: Pasayten Wilderness Length: 12 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 1550 feet

Horseshoe Basin. Photo by Wild Side Caption: Open meadows in the Horseshoe Basin area. Photo by WildSide.

Get ready for an expansive and rolling alpine wilderness that offers endless opportunities for exploration. Make your backpacking adventure truly unforgettable by staying one or two nights. The sunny and open paradise of Horseshoe Basin invites you to wander through gentle ascents to Sunny Pass, rolling alpine meadows, lakes, and tarns. Don't forget to climb accessible peaks for awe-inspiring views!

Plan your visit to Horseshoe Basin using WTA's Hiking Guide.


Location: Colville National Forest Length: 8-16 miles (with car shuttle) Elevation Gain: 2000+ feet

Thirteenmile. Photo by Jonathan Day Caption: Thirteenmile. Photo by Jonathan Day.

Discover the hidden treasures of Thirteenmile, a little-known area that delights with broad vistas, rolling hills, and incredible solitude. Explore glorious ridges, forested valleys, and the charred remains of lightning-struck trees. This trail invites you to ramble for miles, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Be sure to bring your own water, as sources may dry up later in the season.

Plan your hike to Thirteenmile using WTA's Hiking Guide.

Jungle Hill Loop

Location: Okanogan Highlands/Kettle River Range Length: 15.4 miles, roundtrip Elevation Gain: 3,348 feet

A sloping hill of green grass with a valley of mountains in the distance. Caption: The gentle hills and valleys along the Jungle Hill Loop are beautiful scenery. Photo by Gary B.

Experience the perfect tour of the Kettle Range on the Jungle Hill Loop. Wander between open grassy meadows and hills of sagebrush, soaking in the gentle rolling landscapes. This loop offers hikers panoramic views, serene hills, and the chance to connect with nature in a truly immersive way.

Plan your visit to the Jungle Creek Loop using WTA's Hiking Guide.