Washington State is a backpacker’s dream. From beach camping on the Olympic Coast, to long treks along rivers, to stunning alpine lakes, to peak bagging in the Cascades, the options accessible from the Emerald City are nearly as varied as they are abundant. One of the best backpacking experiences from Seattle is to pay tribute to the monolith that defines the city’s skyline: Mount Rainer. The 15.5-mile Northern Loop trail of Mount Rainier National Park makes for an excellent multiday trip through pristine wilderness.
The most beguiling scenery in the state, however, is found in the aptly named Enchantments. With sparking alpine lakes, jagged granite peaks, and waterfalls, the whole region is steeped in natural beauty. Because it is such a popular spot, the U.S. Forest Service requires a permit for summer and fall visitors in order to help keep the area unspoiled. Permits are divvyed out via a lottery system, which opens in February of each year.