A longtime Washington outdoors writer offers up some of his all-time favorite places and adventures. See the related links below for a list of outings.
Admittedly, no matter how you slice it, this is a long, strenuous hike, but in for a penny, in for a pound, say I! And oh, what payoffs: jagged, sky-piercing peaks rising in all directions; a 7,000-foot rocky plateau dotted with jewel-like tarns and lakes (this is the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, after all), and of course the renowned alpine larch trees, which each autumn change color and bathe the landscape in a fiery gold. Permits are rationed carefully (stop at the ranger station in Leavenworth) and tough to come by for the upper lakes, but you can visit one of the pretty lower lakes in an easier day hike.
Just outside Leavenworth, about 2¼ hours east of Seattle.
Mike McQuaide is the author of six guidebooks including “75 Classic Rides: Washington” (The Mountaineers Books).