Backpacking in the Pacific Northwest can be an amazing adventure, as well as a rewarding way to enjoy the outdoors. For beginners, however, it can seem grueling at first – carrying 30 pounds or more on your back while hiking across rugged terrain requires you to develop muscles you never knew you had.
New backpackers who are looking to get some experience under their belts should start slow, with a 5-7 miles per day hike over easy terrain. It’s also important for beginners to make sure they’ve got the essential safety gear covered, including an LED headlamp and sturdy camping knives or multi-tools. Preparation is the key to any successful backpacking trip.
Here’s a look at some good backpacking spots for beginners:
Eagle Creek. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, Eagle Creek is a relatively easy hike as well as one of Oregon’s most popular trails. Expect to see some crowds in summer, but if you’re a first-time backpacker, lack of isolation might not be an entirely bad thing. The trail features impressive waterfalls and breathtaking views.
Elk Cove. With its spectacular view of Mt. Hood, Elk Cove is hard to beat. This 10-mile round-trip hike offers great camping sites and plenty of beautiful scenery for an overnight trip. There are also plenty of viewpoints along the way for taking breaks.
Lewis River. The Lewis River Trail in Washington is another short, easy hike that’s ideal for beginning backpackers. The wide valley shows little trace of human civilization, and camping spots along the river are easy to find.
Wherever you decide to embark upon your first backpacking exploration, don’t let the beauty of nature lull you into forgetting about the dangers of venturing into the wilderness unprepared. Always keep your LED headlamp and camping knives or multi-tools close at hand.