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Editor’s note: We’ve made it through a long, dark winter and it’s time to get outside. Our new outdoors newsletter, Outside Guide, includes weekly tips, links and inspiration to fuel your summer adventures. The following is an excerpt from this week’s installment. Sign up here for more.
The sunshine is finally here, and you can practically feel the pent-up cabin fever in the air around Seattle. But an extra-snowy winter and spring means many popular hiking and camping destinations in the Cascades and Olympics will remain inaccessible for the next several weeks.
That’s no reason to keep the tent stashed away until July. Here are four snow-free places to check out now:
- Early Winters Campground, North Cascades. Road trip, anyone? Highway 20 is open, and a drive across the North Cascades is about as good as it gets. Set up home base on the sunny side of the pass, and you’ll have easy access to the many hiking and biking trails of the Methow Valley.
- Packwood Lake, South Cascades. Looking for an easy backpack to stretch those legs or test out some new equipment? This flat, kid-friendly trek will take you to a pristine lake with views of the nearby Goat Rocks Wilderness.
- Cougar Rock Campground, Mount Rainier National Park. It’s opening weekend at one of the park’s busiest campgrounds, so get there early. Enjoy easy access to the breathtaking (but snow-covered) Paradise area and lower-elevation hikes around Longmire.
- Third Beach, Olympic Coast. Spring is a great time to hike and camp along the ocean, with long days and plenty of time for exploration. Third Beach is an easy 1.4 miles from the trailhead; if you have an extra vehicle and extra stamina, consider doing the 17-mile traverse to Oil City. (Be prepared for high tides and river and land crossings.)