Although most Western Washington hiking trails generously reward with gorgeous, balsam-scented vistas, they vary richly in character as a result of their unique locations and trailside features. As a companion to conventional hiking guides, which provide trail information in mostly written form, HesperosFlown.com also provides visual snapshots of each trail’s highlights to help you choose one you’re in a mood to hike; for example, shadowy, riverine woodland, sky-topped alpine meadows, venerable old-growth giants, seasonal wildflowers, and other hidden wonders you may find along the way — after all, the bug’s-eye view is often as spectacular as the bird’s-eye view!
Each profile leads with the essential trail details, including location, driving directions, required pass, round-trip distance, and links to other useful resources, followed by a short written description of the trail’s attributes and any tips or suggested precautions. Each trail is then profiled in photographs, generally from beginning to end. (For this purpose, the photos are intended more as information than as art and also portray less attractive trail features where relevant.) The photos are dated to help provide a sense of trail conditions and highlights at specific times of year, although seasonal variations are common. To the extent that featured trailside plants and fungi can be identified with reasonable certainty, their common and species names are included (although they should not be relied upon to determine suitability for consumption).
Before taking to the trail, be sure to check the local weather forecast and, where snow is present, avalanche forecast. Not only is Pacific Northwest mountain weather notoriously fickle in any season, but many mountainsides that are completely benign in the drought of summer are swept by potentially deadly avalanches in winter and spring. (Individual trail profiles note those with well-known avalanche risk.) Finally, nothing substitutes for common sense in getting you back home safely. Only you can determine your fitness, skill, and equipment for particular activity or terrain. And, if an iffy-looking ledge or snowfield doesn’t look or feel right to you (regardless of what other hikers are doing), don’t attempt it. Nature will still be there for the next visit – so should you!
Feel free to leave questions, comments, or your own trip reports in the reply section at the bottom of each profile page.