A Classic Hike is an inspired path that directly transports you into the full essence of the Pacific Northwest.

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What is a Classic Hike?

A Classic Hike is more than just a gateway to nature; it’s an inspired path that directly transports you into the full essence of the Pacific Northwest. It is a timeless experience involving big mountains, big rivers, big lakes, big coastline, big trees, big animals and big tracts of public lands that will remain indelibly etched in your mind.

Craig Romano is Washington’s Classic Hike guru. He has made it his mission to hike every trail in the Evergreen State – so far more than 19,000 miles – and share his love of Washington’s natural grandeur with his fellow Washingtonians. “I want my fellow citizens to live healthy lives connected to the outdoors — and a little less connected to gadgets. I want them to become familiar with their lands — to help protect them — expand them — and care for them. And what better way to get acquainted with our natural world than by taking a Classic Hike?”

Where do I find a Classic Hike?

Classic Hikes are detailed in Romano’s book “100 Classic Hikes Washington” (Mountaineers Books). The Best of the Northwest website  offers a review video, which includes some beautiful footage of Romano’s favorite hikes.

The hikes range from multiday journeys to short jaunts, with trailheads in all four corners of the state. There are hikes in our three national parks, three national monuments, a national wildlife refuge, several of our state parks, natural resources conservation areas, and many of our 31 wilderness areas. They traverse the wild Olympic Coast coast, San Juan Islands, the Columbia River Gorge, the Columbia Plateau, and, of course, all of our mountain ranges — Olympics, Cascades, Blues, Kettle River Range and Selkirk Range.

Author Craig Romano shares views from some of the Northwest’s best hikes. (Provided by Best of the NW)

Paying tribute to two Washington hiking legacies

“100 Classic Hikes” includes a number of trails called Legacy Hikes. These are hikes that were included in the original “100 Classic Hikes” book by Harvey Manning and Ira Spring. Manning and Spring were two of the greatest advocates and stewards for Washington’s trails and wild places. Through their words and photography, they introduced thousands to hiking and to Washington’s wild places. More importantly, they educated the public — and rallied them to protect so many of those wild places.

The first edition of “100 Classic Hikes Washington” by Manning and Spring debuted in 1998. Spring died in 2003 at the age of 84. Manning died in 2006 at 81. In addition to their voluminous publishing legacy, both men were ardent conservationists, leaving quite a green legacy as well.

Among Manning’s many environmental achievements was co-founding the North Cascades Conservation Council (NCCC) which advocated for a North Cascades National Park; and founding the Issaquah Alps Trails Club, which promoted sound recreation and conservation on the largest tracts of state land just to the east of Seattle.

Spring established a Trails Trust and was presented with the Roosevelt Conservation award in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush for his work in conservation and wilderness preservation.

Carrying on an outdoor legacy

Romano considers it an honor to carry on the legacy of Manning and Spring through “100 Classic Hikes Washington,” and his readers and fellow hikers definitely reap the benefits. If you’re looking for a hike you won’t soon forget, taking a Classic Hike will provide memories that will stay with you for quite a while. Like, the rest of your life. 

Explore the 100 classic hikes of Washington with select trail videos, GPS maps and more.