I recently did a survey asking people their favorite "Spring Break" activity for Eastern Washington and Oregon. I was surprised the No. 1 answer (by far) was "go on hikes." So if you're new to this form of exercise, or new to our area, here is a quick list of favorite spots:

  • Palouse Falls: there are trails surrounding the falls, but it's also fun to hike in the nearby hills.
  • Mt Rainier: From the front gate to the Paradise Visitors Center there are MANY MANY trails with hikes short and long. But the hike UP the mountain from Paradise is paved for about a mile and is very scenic. Check when this opens, however, because snow lingers for a long time.
  • Wallowa Lake/Joseph, OR: I've actually never been, but I know people who hold annual family reunions in this area. It's famously the winter grounds of Chief Joseph and his Nez Perce followers. It's a beautiful area wherever you choose to hike.
  • Hat Rock State Park: If you find the basalt hills above the Columbia River attractive this is a nearby park perfect for picnics and short hikes. I believe camping is available -- but I don't know about during Spring Break.
  • Tucannon near Dayton: Deep in the Blue Mountains, these trails can be quite steep with thick tree cover. I'm not a huge fan of this area, but Dayton is incredible and it's a popular family reunion destination.
  • Eagle Creek near Cascade Locks, OR: See 7 waterfalls in six miles along Eagle Creek. In the summer it can get VERY crowded with people from Portland, so get a reservation if you want to camp, but MANY people call this their favorite hike.
  • Mt Adams/Mt St. Helens: It's a long drive to get to this part of Southern Washington, but there are lava tube caves, cool towns to visit and crystal-clear streams to explore.
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