Alex Heldrich, Reporter
This is going to be more of a roast than recommendation. The infamous Rattlesnake Ledge is a hike that’s probably been done by anyone with a nature Instagram and feet in Washington. This hike has pretty views of some trees, a lake, a parking lot, some power lines, a town and some roads, but it’s not worth the hour and a half drive to North Bend. If someone truly must hike Rattlesnake, going in winter is definitely a better option because there’s fewer people and a thick layer of fog that covers up some of the roads. Treat yourself and go on one of the 20 plus other hikes in North Bend or go up towards Mount Rainier. These will have fewer people, fewer power lines and a better view.
Pacific Crest Trail: Dewey Lakes
A part of the Pacific Crest Trail, the 2,650 mile hike that was featured in the book and movie both titled Wild, is a good option for beginning backpackers and experienced day hikers. This hike is 7 miles round trip and it takes hikers out to a cute meadow with a lake. There’s another narrower trail that continues around the circumference of the lake. This is a fun area to explore because there’s many other small trails that jet off from the main one, but eventually reconnect so that getting miserably lost isn’t likely to happen. For beginning backpackers, there’s a campground about half a mile away from the lake. This is a good opportunity to try out new backpacking gear because it’s a beautiful, mellow area without a lot of traffic and is only a short day hike away so that nobody realizes 10 miles into their backpacking trip that it’s “too hard” for them.
This is a moderate level hike at only five miles round-trip and 4,200 ft elevation gain. It’s also out in the boonies past Carbonado, Wash. so there shouldn’t be too much trail traffic. Before arriving at the trailhead, a long drive down a twisty, potholed gravel road must be made, but it’s worth every jerk and bump. The peak of this hike is absolutely stunning in mid to late summer, or else all that’ll be found is a bunch of snow and a disappointing “lake.” This hike starts as a steep trek through a heavily forested area, but levels out eventually. The trail takes people to Summit Lake where they can eat lunch and also be eaten for lunch by mosquitos. There’s the option of turning back or continuing up a steep, sketchy looking ridge that breaks out into a forest. Continuing up the ridge is strongly recommended. It takes hikers up so high they can feel as if they can see on forever, as well as the beloved Mount Rainier in the near distance. The peak is surrounded by a beautiful ocean of forests and lakes. Summit Lake looks even larger than on ground level and a color so deeply blue that it changes a man. The Summit Lake hike will not disappoint. Just remember to go in mid to late summer – this is very important. Also fill up on gas beforehand, please.
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