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Trail Finder

WASHINGTON IS COVERED with millions of acres of parkland and thousands of miles of trails. Whatever you want to see along the way, whether skyscraping trees or carpets of wildflowers, you can find it here. Consider this guide just the tip of the iceberg.

YOU WANT Wildflowers
FIND IT Umtanum Creek Recreation Area, Umtanum Creek Trail
THE HIKE Carved by the Yakima River, this wild canyon is filled with the scent of sagebrush and juniper. And the ground? It bursts with Technicolor blooms of ochre shooting stars, balsamroot, bluebells, golden currants, lupines, and flowering cactuses. Share the sights with mountain goats and flocks of bald eagles.

YOU WANT Hot springs
FIND IT Olympic National Park, Olympic Hot Springs Trail
THE HIKE Once the site of a rustic resort, the springs here, accessed by a threemile walk down an abandoned road, were returned to their natural state by the National Park Service in the 1970s. Pretend you’re Goldilocks as you pick between a series of seven rock-lined, bubbling soaking pools that vary from 85 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. www.nps.gov/olym

YOU WANT Big trees
FIND IT Mount Rainier National Park, Grove of the Patriarchs
THE HIKE Sheltered from forest fires by the nearby Ohanapecosh River and a network of small creeks, the western hemlocks, Douglas firs, and western red cedars found at the end of this easy half-mile walk are estimated to be 800 to 1,000 years old. Apparently, that was ample time for these goliaths to fill out: their trunks exceed 25 feet in circumference and some soar up to 300 feet high. www.nps.gov/mora

YOU WANT Fall foliage
FIND IT Colville National Forest, Sherman Peak Loop
THE HIKE Washingtonians call it a “Larch March”: a fall trek into the great outdoors to witness the state’s larch trees, one of the few varieties of conifer that turn golden yellow in autumn before shedding their needles. See hundreds of them ablaze on this five-mile loop around 7,000-foot Sherman Peak, set in a million-acre wilderness. www.fs.fed.us/r6/colville

YOU WANT Wild berries
FIND IT Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Little Huckleberry Mountain
THE HIKE Southwest Washington’s sunny climes produce some of the state’s most intensely flavored berries. A veritable explosion of sweet berry bushes lines the upper reaches of this 2.5-mile hike to the top of 4,780-foot Little Huckleberry Mountain. At the summit, chomp on sweet views of Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, and Big Lava Bed, a snaking nine-mile stretch of blackened rock that oozed forth from a now-extinct volcano.www.fs.fed.us/gpnf

YOU WANT To see Sasquatch
FIND IT Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Silver Star Mountain
THE HIKE A photo snapped by a hiker in 2005 captured the silhouette of an apelike form standing atop this 4,300-foot mountain. Add it to the pile of compelling tales of run-ins with the legendary beast near Skamania in Southwest Washington. Even sans Bigfoot, the four-mile trail makes hearts pump year-round with dazzling spring wildflower displays and blasts of fall color. www.fs.fed.us/gpnf

YOU WANT A fire lookout
FIND IT North Cascades National Park, Hidden Lake Trail
THE HIKE Channel the spirit of writers like Jack Kerouac and Edward Abbey—both of whom logged time in Pacific Northwest fire lookouts—with a 4.5-mile trek to this historic sentinel perched on a jumbled pile of granite stones atop 6,890-foot Hidden Lake Peak. Built in 1931, the tower is maintained by volunteers and sports 360-degree views of Cascade Pass and Hidden Lake. www.nps.gov/noca

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