Pacific Crest Trail, Washington
Old Snowy Mountain; 14.2 miles, out and back
This two-day hike takes in all of the best of the Northwest, from towering, moss-covered pine trees to subalpine wildflower meadows. The route up Old Snowy Mountain is full of loose rocks, making it feel more challenging than it is, but the reward is a bird's-eye view of the Goat Rocks Wilderness and the Cascade Mountains to the north. "You can see all the way to Mount Rainier," says Portland, Oregon's Whitney LaRuffa, of the American Long Distance Hiking Association. Fall conditions tend to be dry, but a rainstorm is never out of the question — which means snow at high elevations. "Anytime you're going above tree line at this time of year, bring a sturdy, waterproof jacket and pants, and an insulation layer," says LaRuffa.
Where to Camp: Snowgrass Flats, about four miles, is one of the few flat spots along the trail, so it's an ideal base camp. Hike in from the Snowgrass Flats trailhead and set up your tent there, then leave the heavier camp gear behind for the ascent up Old Snowy.