May 22, 2021
Hike with Some Locals!
We recently connected with Lisa and Emily Edlin of DAYPACKED, a hiking daypack rental and hiking tour company. This mother-daughter business strives to make hiking accessible to all because they want leisure travelers to experience the splendor of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to offering tours, they also rent out fully loaded day hiking backpacks so you can explore on your own! Here are their top recommendations for hiking trails this summer:
Hiking Highlight Mountain Loop Highway
About one hour northeast of Seattle you can find a hiker’s paradise. The scenic Mountain Loop Highway covers the Western part of the Cascade Mountain Range and has access to trailheads for for everyone, from beginners to expert hikers. The road was established in 1936, as a way to connect Monte Cristo, a now deserted mining town, to Darrington and Granite Falls.
Great Hikes for Beginners and Families Along Mountain Loop Highway
Along this 4.6 miles and 1,034 feet elevation gain roundtrip hike you will find old growth trees, ferns, an old logging road, hemlock, views of Mount Pilchuck, wildflowers, berries, and of course, the lake itself. This one might be a bit of a challenge for children, but most can do it, and they’ll feel proud of their accomplishment.
This 5.4 mile (roundtrip), 1,350 feet gain hike will have you feeling very rewarded, with not too much strenuous effort. The trail is incredibly well maintained (perhaps because this is a very popular hiking destination). Your destination is the beautiful alpine lake, but the journey there has stunning views of old-growth trees, wetlands, and mountain views.
Great Hikes for Avid Hikers Along Mountain Loop Highway
While it’s statistics of 9.2 miles (roundtrip) and 2,840 gain may not sound too arduous, be prepared for a killer glutes workout on Gothic Basin. Parts of the trail are very steep, but the payoff is well worth the work. Continue onward a little bit further and you’ll reach Foggy Lake, a glacial-fed beauty.
At 8 miles (roundtrip) and 4,000 ft elevation gain, Vesper Peak should only be attempted by proficient hikers in good shape. This one is a tough hike, with a scramble that is more like a climb, at the summit. Thankfully, Vesper Lake greets you before your final climb, so be sure to take a break there for lunch and to get your energy up for the final push. Your hard work will pay off with glorious views of Copper Lake and the surrounding Cascades.
About Daypacked Staff
Lisa, a retired CPA who worked for the University of Washington for 20+ years, has abundant hiking experience, from participating in the Mountaineers program, to summiting Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens (before and after the last eruption). Emily, an entrepreneur with an MBA, brings high energy and enthusiasm to the hikes. Emily’s favorite thing about hiking is building deep connections with the people she’s hiking with. In 2014 Lisa and Emily climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, and knew they needed to find a way to turn their passion into their full-time work.
Daypacked and Greenlake Guest House
Guests traveling to Seattle without hiking gear can rent packs with the 10 essentials and snacks, hiking poles, and even boots from Daypacked. Want more support? Call or email Daypacked, or contact Julie when making your lodging reservation (if you plan to stay at Greenlake Guest House). We will be happy to help you arange a memorable guided hike this summer along the Mountain Loop Highway. A packed lunch, transportation to and from the trailhead, and pick up from Greenlake Guest House are included with all guided hikes.