Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail
Leading hikers from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean, this 1,200-mile stretch contains the best hiking in the mountain-packed Pacific Northwest. The trail starts in the northeast corner of Glacier National Park in Montana, crosses Idaho’s northern panhandle into Washington, and roughly follows the state’s northern border including North Cascades National Park before dropping into Olympic National Park, traversing the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, and ending on the coast at Cape Alava.
“As my friend Cam puts it, this trail is like walking through God’s country,” says LaRuffa. “It’s still extremely wild and remote. And unlike other trails that walk with the grain of the mountain, you actually go against it — making for a difficult hike with a lot of up and down. There’s also a fair amount of bushwhacking.”
Time to Complete: 2-3 months
Terrain: Remote and rugged, considered the most challenging of the 11 National Scenic Trails.
Best Segment You Can Do In a Day: Ozette Triangle (9-mile loop). Starting from the Ozette Ranger Station in Olympic National Park, this loop crosses forest and meadows on its way to the ocean, for a satisfying taste of hiking in the Olympic Wilderness.
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