The Pacific Northwest is commonly considered to consist of Oregon and Washington, with its range sometimes including states such as Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The entire area is well-loved for its gorgeous natural beauty, from steaming hot springs to lush, evergreen forests.
If you’re looking to experience some of this wonder firsthand, here are 10 off-the-beaten path PNW adventures to consider embarking on in 2022.
1. Go On A River Floating Trip
Here’s a great option for those looking to plan a fun trip this summer that’s perfect for all ages! Leavenworth, Washington is best known for its unique Bavarian theme. The chance to visit a European-style village without leaving Washington State isn’t the only reason you should spend a day here. During the same, it’s also a well-loved spot for river tubing! There are several commercial tubing companies that will take you down the nearby Wenatchee River, or you can opt to purchase some tubes of your own and head out.
2. Hike Mt. Storm King
Those looking for a challenge won’t be disappointed with this one-of-a-kind hike! Located on the Olympic Peninsula, the Mt. Storm King Trail isn’t incredibly long – about 5 miles – but it does pack a punch with elevation and some unique features, including a segment with ropes to aid in scrambling up a steeper hill. Once you get to the top though, the stunning view of the surrounding mountains, lake, and forests makes the challenge more than worth it, though. For best results, try to plan a trip on a clear day, and consider a weekday trip if you’re looking for more solitude.
3. Go Whale Watching
Head off the coast of Seattle to get the chance to see some of the ocean’s most stunning creatures! Groups such as San Juan Safaris offer tours of the Puget Sound highlighting spots whales are most likely to be, and are a great way to get to see some amazing wildlife easily and safely.
4. Explore Forest Park
If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure without heading too far from civilization, consider spending some time exploring Portland’s Forest Park. One of the largest urban parks in the country, Forest Park features over 70 miles of trails and forest roads.
5. Relax At Umpqua Hot Springs
Located a few hours from Eugene, Oregon, Umpqua Hot Springs is a set of gorgeous naturally occurring warm pools tucked away in the forest. This is a great option if you’re looking to relax in nature. If you’re going in the spring, the last segment of road to the springs may be closed to traffic due to snow. You can still access the springs by foot, however, though you’ll have to add a couple of miles to the usually 0.8-mile trail.
6. Go Hot Tub Boating
If you’re looking for something unique and outdoors to do in Seattle, consider getting a group of friends together or planning a date night to rent a hot tub boat. Located on Lake Union, hot tub boat rentals are exactly what they sound like – a relaxing, warm experience cruising along the beautiful Washington shores.
7. Explore Boyd Cave
Located near Bend, Oregon, Boyd Cave is a lava tube that is stunning to explore. Visitors will descend into the cave via a metal stairway, and be able to look around and traverse the tunnel. If you do head out, be sure to bring a strong flashlight, as there’s no lighting inside the cave.
8. Check Out Thor’s Well
If you’re looking to view a one-of-a-kind natural feature, Thor’s Well won’t disappoint. This large sinkhole is located off the coast of Oregon and has the appearance of a giant drain. The sinkhole is most spectacular at high tide, though visitors should make sure to keep a safe distance from the rocky shoreline and sinkhole.
9. Visit Sahalie Falls
Multnomah Falls may be Oregon’s best-known cascade, but it’s far from the only one. A visit to Sahalie Falls, located along the Mckenzie River, offers another great opportunity to see a beautiful waterfall. The area is also open year-round, though the parking lot is not maintained in the winter, meaning you’ll likely want to use caution if you do heat out during the colder months.
10. View Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls is another gorgeous cascade in the PNW, this time located in Idaho. The falls have been called “The Niagara of the West” and are actually taller than Niagara Falls itself. There’s several ways you can experience them. These include viewing platforms as well as swimming areas, depending on your personal preference and the time of year you visit.
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